Archive for the ‘GHI’ Category
It snowed the morning after Christmas. This was the first snow of the winter of 2012.
On Sunday morning, I woke up early to take sunrise photos. I was greeted with a dense fog. I set out with my camera anyway.
Playground at where Ridge Road meets Crescent Road
On Friday afternoon, before the annual Festival of Lights tree lighting ceremony, I took some panoramic photos of some GHI courts and a couple of apartment buildings on Crescent Road.
On a recent Saturday, I followed one of Greenbelt’s mail carriers Darrell Cherry as he delivered mail to GHI residences on Ridge Road.
16B Ridge Road, with a 15-star, 15-stripe flag
GHI manages nearly 86 acres of forested woodlands, and one of the biggest problems these woodlands face is invasive plants. These non-native plants can crowd out native ones and disturb wildlife habitat, causing a great deal of damage to the ecological system. On Saturday, April 21, GHI’s Woodlands Committee organized an Earth Day invasive species removal. Committee members and volunteers trimmed vines and branches between 58 and 62 courts of Ridge Road.
Matt Berres, GHI’s Director of Maintenance Operations and staff liaison to the Woodlands Committee, comes with gloves and tools. On the left are Woodlands Committee members Kathie Java and Richard Olsen.
GHI owns 250 acres of land and about one-third of that (86 acres) is woodland. The Woodlands Committee “leads efforts to protect and manage the GHI woodlands, fosters their ecological health, encourages GHI members to enjoy nature recreation that has minimal environmental impact, and supports plant and animal biodiversity.” On Saturday, March 24, I attended the committee’s annual Spring Thaw Social at the GHI Administration Building.
This display shows some of the Woodlands Committee’s activities: “trail improvement, woodland walks, invasive plant management, educational workshops, common area improvements, advising GHI Board, volunteering to protect our woodlands.”
At GHI, the Board of Directors, which sets policies and makes decisions, depends on the work of committees and task forces, which study specific problems referred by the Board and suggest solutions. There are several Board-appointed standing committees including architectural review, buildings, companion animal, finance, investment, woodlands, and communications and a smaller number of task forces that work on short-term projects such as ad-hoc yard line, addition maintenance program, by-laws, and rental task force. The committees and task forces generally meet once a month, and on February 27, I attended a meeting of the Communications Committee.
The Communications Committee’s charter states: “To enhance communication with and among members of the Cooperative and the staff of Greenbelt Homes, Inc. through informing, educating, and reporting using a variety of communications channels as outlined in this Charter, including print and electronic media and community events. We provide strategic direction across these communication platforms to assist the Board and staff of GHI in their efforts to improve communications with and among members and produce quality external communications that reflect a leading Cooperative in accordance with the vision of the Board.”
Attending tonight’s meeting at the start are from left Ed Fallon, Marat Moore, Kristi Fletcher (Chair), Sheri Swaim (Staff Liaison), Anna Socrates, and Jo-Anne Fournier. The committee meets in the front lobby of GHI administration building.
Greenbelt Homes, Inc. is the housing cooperative that owns the 1600 historic homes in Greenbelt. The members of the co-op elect a nine-member Board of Directors to set policies and make decisions, and one of the responsibilities of the board is to appoint a general manager to carry out day-to-day operations. In December 2011, long-term general manager Gretchen Overdurff retired, and the board hired Eldon Ralph, then Assistant General Manager, as the new General Manager of GHI. On February 4, a town hall meeting is held at Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department to introduce the membership to the new general manager and to discuss the visions and tasks facing the cooperative.
The title of the meeting is “GHI in 2012 and Beyond”: “GHI’s President Tokey Boswell will introduce the new General Manager, Eldon Ralph. They will discuss the leadership’s vision for the cooperative, the Board’s strategic plan and the major challenges ahead. Members will be encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback to the Board members and senior staff who will be in attendance. If you want to make a difference and have your voice heard, be sure to attend this meeting.”
Tokey Boswell, President of the Board of Directors, opens the meeting and introduces General Manager Eldon Ralph.
Greenbelt Homes, Incorporated (GHI) is the housing cooperative that owns the original government built houses in the center of Greenbelt. There are 579 brick or cinder-block homes from 1937, 992 wood frame townhouses from 1941 (the so-called defense houses), and 29 larger homes built in 1969. These houses are in good condition but obviously they are not as energy efficient as newly constructed homes. In the late 1970s and early 80s, there was a rehabilitation program that replaced the original oil-fired boilers by electric baseboard heaters, but 30 years later there are better ways to insulate and heat houses. GHI has been planning for a community-wide upgrade for many years, and a replacement reserve fund was created in as early as 1987. Currently a pilot study is underway in 28 units to test out methods of insulation and heating, and the community-wide upgrade is scheduled to start in 2015 and last several years. This winterization workshop provides members with information about staying warm and keeping heating costs down during the winter season, and there will also be updates about the on-going Pilot Program.