Access denied to community amenity center | News

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Access denied to community amenity center

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- When residents moved into Magnolia West, a main attraction was the $2 million amenity center.

Amanda Connelly bought a home in 2010 and was surprised to find her card key no longer works.

"We didn't understand why," said Connelly.

This past Labor Day, residents were notified in writing that "due to the lack of funding to support various services, the center will be closing until further notice."

"They're telling us it is going to be a timely process," she said.

The residents say they're confused. They've paid a CDD (Community, Development District) fee and they've also paid an operating and maintenance fee.

Amy Barlow moved into the community in spring 2009.

"They're taking our money and we don't know what they're doing with it. That's the question," said Barlow. 

Virginia Stidum and her husband moved into the Clay County subdivision in the summer 2009. It is their retirement home.

"I am disheartened that I get a letter saying my property value has gone down," said Stidum, "and a week later I get a letter saying the amenity center will be closed."

The residents were also told to expect reduced maintenance in the common areas.

"If the grass isn't maintained and the pond becomes a cesspool for mosquitoes, who do we call? Who do we go to?" asked Connelly. 

Residents say their CDD has left them with more questions than answers.

"They want to come in and close in the middle of the year and they can't give us actual proof of where dollar by dollar has gone," said Connelly, "The budgets we've been given says '30k miscellaneous funds.' How do you account for 30k miscellaneous? Where is that money coming from and where is it going?"

John Semanik, a member of the Community Development District and a builder in Magnolia West, said there's not enough money to keep the amenity center operational.

"The board thought it was prudent to shut it down for at least sixty days," said Semanik.

Semanik said come November when the revenues are collected, the residents will have access; in the meantime the CDD is working with the bondholder for a permanent solution.


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