Focus group members generate ideas about future programs at Meadowmont.

The unique mixture of residential areas, apartments, a retirement community, a wellness center, commercial district, recreation facilities and a school presents an interesting challenge for The Meadowmont Community Association. In addition to the usual tasks of collecting association fees and maintaining common areas, the Association has been charged with developing a program of social and cultural activities as well as lifelong learning opportunities. The opportunity to create new traditions is exciting.

Since the Association office opened in October a variety programs have been implemented.

New owner reception

On a cool Sunday afternoon in November over 200 Meadowmont property owners gathered at the Meadowmont Club for a catered new owner reception. An outstanding jazz group of students from the UNC music department provided the entertainment. Attendees enjoyed excellent hors d'oeuvres and had an opportunity to greet old friends and meet new neighbors.

Luminary Night

In another Meadowmont first, 20 families participated in luminary night. Weaver Mine Trail was particularly well lit. Many families, after lighting their luminaries, gathered for an impromptu "street meeting" to discuss current events, athletics, holiday preparations and a long list of other topics. Our contribution to the Ronald McDonald House for luminary supplies was $100. Next year's goal is to have every family in Meadowmont participate and to increase our contribution to the Ronald McDonald House to at least $1,000.

Neighborhood Watch

Early in December, Officer Chris Blue of the Chapel Hill Police Department met with a group of Meadowmont residents to describe the Neighborhood Watch program. He indicated that such programs not only contribute to neighborhood security but also go a long way toward developing a "sense of community."Those in attendance enthusiastically supported the implementation of Neighborhood Watch at Meadowmont.

Holiday tree lighting ceremony

Santa is a big hit on his first visit to Meadowmont.

Approximately 75 enthusiastic people attended the first annual Holiday Tree lighting the first Friday in December. The carol singing, accompanied by a UNC student brass quintet, was great fun. Tree decorations designed by Womancraft were spectacular. Refreshments provided by Cafˇ Carolina were delicious. Financial support from Norman Stockton and The Apartments at Meadowmont enabled us to purchase special gifts for the children. And Santa earned the title "the Real Santa Claus"from one of his small friends. There is already a lot of discussion about how we can make next year's celebration bigger, better and more inclusive.

Plant rescue

A small group of Meadowmont homeowners, assisted by Jim Ward from the N.C. Botanical Garden, spent a Saturday morning in early December rescuing plants before the bulldozers arrive at The Cedars site. Christmas ferns, dogwood trees and a small assortment of other plants now thrive in the gardens of these Meadowmont residents.

Focus on the future

The first in a series of focus groups met in February to offer suggestions for future programming at Meadowmont. The creative juices were flowing and many exciting ideas were generated. The next step will be to organize committees to put the ideas to work. Volunteers will be solicited in the near future. Additional focus groups will be held as new residents move in.

Botanical Garden membership

As a courtesy to homeowners, Meadowmont Development Company will purchase a one-year membership in the North Carolina Botanical Garden for new residents. The Botanical Gardens, located a short five-minute drive from Meadowmont, offers tours of the gardens, educational programs, help with landscape planning and special plant sales for members. Shortly after moving in homeowners will receive a packet of material from the Botanical Gardens describing their services and upcoming activities.

Community intranet

We are in the final stages of selecting a vendor to develop a community intranet. The intranet, available via a special password to Meadowmont residents only, will offer a variety of easy-to-use features. Each family will be able to choose the information they want included in the community directory. They will also be able to create their own family home page, including pictures. Looking for someone to play golf or bridge – click on the directory or put a message on the message board. Go to the calendar to check on the activities at the Meadowmont Club, the Wellness Center or the Village Center. Find out about special offers for Meadowmont residents available from Village Center retailers or restaurants. While you are at it make a reservation at your favorite Village Center restaurant. Read important community documents such as the Covenants, the Architectural Review Guidelines or the Association meeting minutes online. Need a babysitter, or a plumber - check on the intranet. Through a series of community links you will also be able to check on the weather, buy a ticket to an area concert of athletic event, or find area shops and services. If everything goes according to schedule the community intranet should be available in early June.

Snow days

Although the weather in North Carolina has been unseasonably warm this winter, the area was greeted in early January with a 10-inch snowfall. It is rumored that some of the recent fugitives from the North ordered the "snow fix"so they could remember one of the reasons why they moved to Chapel Hill. The natives countered by providing a beautiful "Carolina Blue"sky and plenty of sunshine. The combination of northern snow and southern skies made Meadowmont the perfect place for a long walk in the new fallen snow or a sled ride down the meadow hill. It looks like we could have a future as the winter playground in Chapel Hill.