Lakewood Ranch Herald

Lakewood Ranch Central Park residents to control homeowner board

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Central Park, a Neal Communities development in the heart of Lakewood Ranch, will soon transition to a community homeowners' association governed by seven resident board members.

Elections will be held Tuesday, according to C&S Community Management Services Inc., a Sarasota company hired by Neal in April 2014.

Florida statute requires Central Park, which is part of the Lakewood Ranch Stewardship District, must transition from developer control begun in 2010 when the community first opened to resident control after 90 percent of the parcels in all phases of the community have been conveyed to members.

A representative for Neal Communities said sales of new homes in the family friendly community are brisk.

"We are anticipating completion of 126 homes by the middle of 2016," said Leisa Weintraub, vice president development/creative director.

Indigo, a gated 453-home Neal Community on 151 acres, broke ground earlier this year just northeast of Central Park.

The deadline for Central Park homeowners to submit an intent to run for the board was April 1 with some stipulations.

"Any owner may run for the board unless they are more than 90 days delinquent in their association assessment. A mailing was sent out to all owners in March inviting them to submit their notice

of candidacy by April 1," said Ellen Brown Martinez, C&S District manager.

"We're really excited to do so, to be able to have more control of our own destiny and decision-making," said Central Park resident Beth Crawford, one of at least 18 homeownersto submit an intent to fill a board position. "As the first (board of directors), at least you can set the tone for those to come."

Crawford, who moved to the Claremont Park neighborhood of Central Park with her husband in 2013 and who works from home for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said she has the work flexibility to serve and has already written a three-point plan of priorities for board consideration.

"What pushed me to throw my hat in the ring is the ground floor. This is the best time to shape policy because, once they're in place, it's more difficult to reverse them," said Crawford, who said she has been campaigning door-to-door.

Most of the gated 10-acre Central Park community's infrastructure north of State Road 70 and east of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and 44th Avenue East has been developed by Neal.

Single family homes range from 1,040 square-feet to more than 3,110 square feet with prices starting in the low $200,000s and ranging to more than $300,000.

Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.