Around the Yard – May 2020

The Margarita Bar at the 2019 BYC Annual Meeting

If this were a typical Memorial Day weekend, our community would be gathering for our annual meeting this morning at the Pavillon and enjoying margaritas and Coronas tonight at our potluck gala. This is, of course, no ordinary year, but things are beginning to return to a “new normal.” Bayfield area businesses are reopening with limited hours and social distancing policies. Renters are starting to arrive, and seasonal Yard Birds, along with the robins and the hummers, are returning for another summer to enjoy our cabins, time with our neighbors, and visiting area friends.

While many of the public health restrictions have lifted, the risk of COVID-19 infection and community spread remains. Understanding the risks and acting to protect ourselves is, of course, a personal matter. Brickyard Creek is a community with an older demographic and a high number of members with underlying health conditions. That points to a special responsibility to respect each other’s health through appropriate social distancing. This link is to a very informative article about the risks of exposure and how to avoid them:

Fortunately, Brickyard provides the opportunity to enjoy our boreal forest, the trails, the lake, and the beach, while staying safely distanced and connected with others.

Our annual meeting typically features a “State of the Yard” report from the Board President. Absent a meeting; I thought a written update was in order. To say the least, this has been a very busy, very challenging, and very productive year. Today BYC is stronger, healthier, and better quipped to meet the challenges and changes that lie ahead.

Here are the highlights: 

  • Infrastructure Improvements: Repaving of Roy’s Point Boulevard was completed last fall. The costs were shared with Roy’s Point Marina, and Bob Davidson. The Marina work is now complete, and our beach has been cleaned and ready for use once again. General clean up and seagrass restoration are planned. The storm damage shoreline in front of the gazebo/fire ring has been reinforced, so the beach is back!
  • Storm Clean-Up: The Thanksgiving “monster winter storm” did major damage to our boreal forest – especially our cedars. The damage and the mess were horrendous!! Jeff, with the help of our arborist Roland, and Gary Hyde, have been working almost daily on clean-up since the snow melted this Spring. Clearing roads and driveways, and trees leaning against cabins were the priorities. Next was the removal of trees blocking our trails, and the repair of bridge railing has been the next priority. The trails are now all open! ENJOY!! The current focus is the continuing clean-up of debris and fallen trees around our cabins and along the roadsides. Incredible progress has been made – but this is a yearlong project that will be ongoing well into the fall. Our continued patience and a heartfelt thank you to Jeff, Roland, and Gary is in order.
  • Ownership Transitions: Last summer, Bob Davidson signed a long-term lease agreement with the National Park Services (NPS), securing their continued presence at BYC and funding the much-needed repair of the Marina. Shortly after, he sold the NPS used land, buildings, and NPS contract to a Chicago based investor group. In December, Davidson also sold his interest in 22 undeveloped BYC condo sites to Scarlett Woods LLC, owned by Woody Peterson, a Washburn WI investor who offered the sites and hoped to quickly sell most to individuals. This did not happen. Scarlett Woods is now aggressively marketing the remaining 21 sites as a block. At least two developer type investors are expressing interest, and Scarlett Woods hopes to close in the near term. Guided by our Mission, Vision, and Values, the Board is actively monitoring this situation and will vigorously advocate for our interests during the due diligence phase of any transaction. Future updates will be provided.
  • Beach and Parking Lot Transfer: Bob Davidson is “gifting” the beach area, the paved parking area, jointly to the Brickyard Creek and Roy’s Point Marina Associations. Pending resolution of some zoning and easement issues, this will be completed this summer. He has already gifted the unpaved boat storage area to the Marina. Association.
  • Finances: We are currently in the strongest financial position we have ever been. Legal costs of the Community Association and Roy’s Point Paving Project are fully covered in our operating budget, and we currently have $166,000 in reserves. One time and ongoing increased assessment payments resulting from Davidson’s property sale were major contributors. As we contemplate costs associated with our aging infrastructure, the Board is planning to contract for a reserve study designed to define our future expenditures and reserve needs.
  • BYC Community Association: It has been a long and winding journey, but we are completing work on The Brickyard Creek Community Association (formerly referred to as the Master Association) Project. At last year’s annual meeting, the community gave a unanimous greenlight to proceed. Legal work is now completed. Membership approval of the final steps is planned for this summer. Next week you will be receiving an updated overview of the project and planned next steps. Your attention to and support of the proposed next steps is critical to achieving the solid governance infrastructure needed to meet the challenges of anticipated new ownership and renewed development.
  • Architectural Control Committee (ACC): With the sale of his BYC properties, Davidson’s control of the ACC ended. Under statue, the ACC responsibility transferred to the Associations’ Board. In anticipation of a renewed phase of building and development, the Board has moved quickly to appoint a new ACC and initiate a project to update and strengthen our architectural standards, guidelines, and protocols. This action is to assure community review and approval authority over all the design and construction projects affecting new or existing structures is in place.
  • Vision Committee: 2020-2023 Strategic Plan: Lastly and most importantly, in May, the Vision Committee completed a year’s hard work on a three year Strategic Plan for BYC. It includes Mission, Vision, and Value Statements Updates and identifies three strategic priority areas: Future Development, Governance, and Community Life and Communications. At last week’s May meeting, the Board accepted their report and authorized the Vision Committee to initiate implementation work. An incredible vote of thanks goes to Nancy Sandstrom for leading this effort. This work will put our community in the strongest possible position to engage partners into the future.

As always, questions and comments are welcome and appreciated.

Welcome back, be safe and stay well!

Peter Tropman, BYC Board President