As published in The View, July 2021:
It Is Time to Bring the Shadows Out of the Shadows
I have been exploring the idea of establishing a special committee of homeowners to focus on the maintenance of and future improvements to our food facilities, most important the Shadows Restaurant and the Montecito Café. Since the beginning of Sun City Shadow Hills, the subsidies for both have been increasing year to year. As part of each resident’s HOA dues, we now pay $11 per month in subsidies toward our restaurant, which sums up to $37,950 per month and ultimately $455,400 per year. That is almost $1 million every two years that is coming directly from all our pockets through HOA dues.
Subsidies will continue to increase if we do not take this seriously now. Many of us enjoy Shadows and want to see it remain; but serious attention, planning, and action need to be taken for this to happen. Previous attempts to fix this issue have fallen short. But by coming together to share our thoughts, opinions, and ideas, I believe we will be able to exchange these debts for profits within the next year or two. For us to succeed, we need to establish this committee to protect the future of our restaurant, to investigate all options, and to proceed with improvements deemed worthwhile.
Albert Einstein once said, “Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results, is the definition of insanity.” For years this has been a money pit for the community, so it is vital that we start weighing our options. Here is what we have heard: Should we make an additional investment to improve the kitchen, enlarge and reorient the bar? Should we establish food minimums for homeowners? Should we pursue lease and management by a local restaurant?
Most of these ideas have been considered in the past. Our new committee will focus on these aspects along with the financial ones to pin down which will help us exchange past losses for future profits. Change can be unpredictable at times, but it is in our best interest that the Board form this committee to assist us in considering these questions.
Since this was brought to the attention of the Board, we have received some new and proactive suggestions for improving the restaurant. We have considered the idea of a separate bar with an area for live music, attached to an entirely new dining area. Also, adding a pizza oven and preparation station for pizzas made for dine-in or take-away. We could also launch an advertising campaign to all our neighboring communities, touching upon these possible improvements to our restaurant and letting them know that Shadows is open for business. Meanwhile we would like our community to be able once again to enjoy all facilities including the restaurant, banquets, and lounge to their full extent. These are all inviting options that could possibly bring in more business.
Moving forward, I would like to see homeowners pitch their ideas as well, whether from the sidelines or the frontlines where decisions will be made and initiated within this new committee. By bringing this situation to the attention of the entire community, I hope we will be able to start a new age, reexamining past decisions to ensure a better future for ourselves and the generations that follow.
The success of such endeavors will depend on the willingness of homeowners – using their interest and expertise – to get involved with this vital evolution of our community. It does not matter how much time you invest in this endeavor, because together our shared interest will always be better than none at all. As they say in a famous game show, “Come on Down,” let us get this ball rolling.
Upward and onward, I will see you there.
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