The Nearly Invisible Man at The Cloister

Upon our return from a shopping trip yesterday I had an opportunity to say hello again to someone who has been a fixture at The Cloister for almost 10 years.Normantruck

Norman Sullivan is the person who goes from building to building repairing and replacing whatever is necessary prior to the painters following him to paint the outside of the buildings at The Cloister. Norman shows up in early Spring and disappears again in late fall when it’s too cold to work outside. You can recognize him by his little table saw and a pickup truck with boards sticking out of the back.

You might want to wave at Norman when you drive by. Let him know if you are concerned he might miss something that needs fixing on the outside of your unit.

I am very fond of this pleasant person and it’s good to see him back at work this year.Normanatwork


The Cloister as A Business Operation

In early years management and bookkeeping for the Cloister at St Henry facility was simple, collect HOA monthly fees, pay bills relating to ongoing operations and pay the monthly Comcast fee.

But now we have two categories of expenditures, routine operating expenses and capital expenses(such as new roofs, street repaving, retaining walls and other repairs to our infrastructure) This leaves us with challenges in budgeting, and supervision and monitoring of outside contractors.

The value to The Cloister property is approaching Fifty Million Dollars ($50,000,000.00) The property was developed in 1984, some buildings are 32 years old with the newest building built 25 years ago. Original Cloister homeowners did not face expensive maintenance and repair projects  such as roof replacement, street paving,  and exterior repair and painting during the first 10 years of the life of the Cloister complex. Thus we relied upon unpaid volunteers from among residents.

Initially a small group of, sometimes reluctant, mostly inexperienced volunteers formed the Architectural Review and Maintenance Committee to manage the simple housekeeping matters. We have reached a critical point in  budgeting with management of large infrastructure maintenance and repair projects like jacking up and supporting an entire Cloister Condo building, replacing sunken driveways, rebuilding walls, and maintaining the storm water drainage system.

We home owners have been hit with huge monthly HOA fee increases. Yet we assume that management of this major facility can still be conducted with unpaid volunteers on what we call the ARMS Committee.

We are sadly mistaken……


It is time that we reduce the responsibilities of the ARMS Committee and hire on-site management and monitoring for our large, expensive infrastructure repair and maintenance projects and capital spending. Or should we idly stand by while the ARMS committee attempt to manage a $50 million dollar facility and a one million dollar per year budget?

Why I Like The Cloister Better Than Ashley Green

Before Rochford Construction finished the last few units in The Cloister they began construction in Ashley Green, a similar development in Bellevue behind the old Bellevue Library and the Fire station. Bonney and I spent considerable time looking at various condos in Ashley Green.

We discovered serious problems with some units in Ashley Green.

screenhouseOne Ashley Green owner had a modular screen porch put up in the back. The porch had been built directly on the dirt ground. The floor was rickety and would wobble when we walked on it through the rear door.. Arggggh!

Several Ashley Green units had cheap and shabby awnings over windows and entryways that made the entire area look like a worn out slum. We decided  that Ashley Green was neither a good investment nor a good place to live.awning

Altho it appears that we at The Cloister are subject to excessive control over what we can to around the exterior of our buildings……that control has resulted in a very attractive community.

I am concerned that one of the Cloister homes has a blue fabric awning over their entrance. Why didn’t they put something up consistent with the quality and architectural style of the homes at The Cloister?

Can this be the start of the deterioration of our community?

Our Good Neighbor…St Henry Catholic Church

StHenry2.jpgSunday, during one of my frequent morning scooter rides around the Cloister neighborhood, I turned down the footpath between 414 and 416 Siena Drive. This old concrete walking path looked like it had been here for decades, the stippled surface of the path was partially protected by sections of a warn and partially rusted painted handrail. This path led directly to St Henry Catholic Church.

I turned left at the end of the walkway and watched the valet parkers pulling away cars that picked up and delivered older members with their walkers to the side entrance to the church dedicated to these parishioners. This was for the 11:00 am Service.

I myself entered through the handicapped entrance past a large room with hundreds of people enjoying coffee and donuts, served after the 9:00 am service, while the room was filled with sounds of children playing in the open areas. I rode by the small chapel, as large as some churches I have visited, into one of the most beautiful catholic churches I have seen in the US; Not as colorful as the Eastern Orthodox churches in Europe and on the East Coast but nearly as imposing as some of the smaller cathedrals of Spain and Italy.

St Henry Church Hwy 70, Nashville, TN

St Henry Church Hwy 70, Nashville, TN

A number of years ago my son joined the Catholic Church. I asked him why? (Since none of the family are Catholic) His perfect answer was “Because going to church makes me feel good.” On Sunday ……I felt GOOD

How Do Cloister Residents Feel About Speed Bump Additions and Extensions?

Most Cloister Residents are against additional speed bumps or extending speed bumps across the entire street….

Tear Out Speed Bumps at The Cloister

Tear Out Speed Bumps at The Cloister

Comments to Cloister Living Blog on Speed Bump Extensions and Additions

  • Additional speed bumps are NOT needed and is a total waste of money. Please spend our money more wisely.
  • Additional speed bumps is a huge waste of money. They are not needed. Please don’t spend our money this way.
  • More speed bumps are NOT needed!! Why is this even an issue, when David Floyd tells me “they have to be more stingy” with OUR monies!! I absolutely, think residents should be able vote on such matters!! I am not so sure that some board members have the best interest of “ALL” residents in mine! I hope the board will get their priorities’ in order!!
  • In the year and a half we have lived here, we have never observed any high speed traffic in our neighborhood. We do not think that additional speed bumps is a wise use of the limited Cloister funds.
  • I agree

Results of Recent Poll….

Poll Results About Speed Bump Additions

Poll Results About Speed Bump Additions  ….. 73% of those polled are against speed bump additions or extensions.

Cloister Speed Bump Additions Will Cause Problems

I was disturbed when I read the August “The Cloister News” that the HOA Board has decided to add more speed bumps to our streets and to extend speed bumps at stop signs.

Here is why……;

A speed bump is mainly used in parking lots in selected places where the intention is to slow traffic to a near stop whereas a speed hump is used on streets to prevent speeding above the speed limit (usually 15 or 20 or 25 mph)

The speed limit at The Cloister is 15 mph but if anyone drove over a Cloister speed bump at 15 MPH their car would go flying and probably break part of the undercarriage of their car. So most private streets will usually use speed humps and leave the speed bumps for the Kroger parking lot.

A  speed bump like used at The Cloister. Some residents drive around them to reduce daily wear and tear on their cars.

A speed bump like used at The Cloister. Some residents drive around them to reduce daily wear and tear on their cars.

Traffic proceeds slowly in areas where speed bumps are placed.

They are typically intended for front of store or school entrances, parking lots, at pedestrian crossings, garages and near stop sign locations.

Speed humps offer softer intrusion. Traffic normally remains moving but at around 10 -15 mph.

They are better suited for high traffic areas, entrances from major roads and areas experiencing speeders..

A speed hump used on streets to reduce speeding.

A speed hump used on streets to reduce speeding.

.Speed Hump Layout
.I would suggest a layout as in the picture below

Speed humps with a bicycle path for  dog walkers, morning walkers, bicyclers and wheelchairs

Speed humps with a bicycle path for dog walkers, morning walkers, bicyclers and wheelchairs

.Has anyone considered that:

  • A speed bump across the entire road may dam the streets and cause flooding? Water flows rapidly and in large volume down Marquette Drive during hard rains.
  • A speed bump completely across the road will hamper walkers, bicyclists and handicapped persons.

This information took me 1/2 hour to research and put together. Perhaps the HOA Board and ARMS Committee should solicit suggestions from we Cloister residents before they take actions that effect all of us?