Help me decide on what to do...

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Carolina Cutter, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Carolina Cutter

    Carolina Cutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 987

    In my neighborhood we have an area that the HOA tried to convert into a park. Unfortunately, the HOA has slowly decreased to nothing and the park is now an overgrown field with a frame for a swingset in it (commercial type).

    Ok, here's the problem I have. I drive by this everyday and I am tired of looking at it this way. My question pertains to the legality of making the area nice again and giving the kids a place to play.

    Now....don't get me wrong....this area would require some physical labor on my part to knock down the weeds and get the area free of the ants again. Actually, the HOA did a decent job doing this considering they were working with very little money and some donated items.

    But...back to the meat of the subject. What do you think the legality would be regarding getting the area nice again. I DO NOT want to be responsible for the area and the only thing I want to donate is time and labor. I really want to do something meaningful for my little community but thought I would ask you guys what you thought about the legal side before I even cut one weed.

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
     
  2. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    wouldn't the person/persons that hold title to the ground be the first in regards to liability? If you are doing nothing more than maintaining the turf/play area, not maintaining anything else such as the equipment then I would think you would be allright. Of course to be sure you may want to consider asking an attorney, if you know of one or perhaps use one, that is one with a good reputation, explain that you are doing this gratis for the children and perhaps that would sway them to give you some free advice.

    I know American Family Radio stations has promoted an organization made up of attorney's that are professed Christians, not sure what all they work on, could be they only work on bias against Christians.

    my.02

    -Geoff
     
  3. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    Well, I think this depends upon the HOA and what Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions they have drawn up, if any. The HOA may be bound by agreement to keep this common land maintained, but when and how could easily be a questionable issue. If the area poses a health hazard, or becomes a fire hazard, it could easily become by law something that would have to be dealt with.

    If you just want to donate your time and labor to "help" in getting the place cleaned up, I sure would draw up on paper ONLY what you're donating, and to what extent. Don't provide additional work, or materials, and then assume to be compensated. This day and age you really have to be careful, and though the thought of having an agreement or contract for volunteer work sounds a bit sour, it nevertheless is probably the best route to safely take.
     
  4. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    Sounds somewhat like what I did for my Eagle Scout project many years ago. The main thing to remember is you need to obtain permission from all involved parties before attempting to perform any work there.

    My guess is that even if all you are willing to do is mow it on a regular basis, you probably won't have any opposition. Get in writing that you have permission to do what you want to do, and spell out what you will do, and that you perform the service until you decide not to continue to do so. Orrrrrr something like that.


    Dan
     
  5. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    that is very nice of you, merlin....

    first of all, dont forget to take pictures before and after to post on LS.

    having said that, i'd contact the city too to tell them the playground is not much of a playground. then, when they contact the HOA to let them know they have to do something about it, you go in the next day as if you did not know anything (just to offer free help), and you will get your wish.

    the HOA might need to sign something that will waive any right to go after you if you do something by accident.

    Sounds like a good project. Make sure you and they agree on you putting your company name for like 1 year on the playground after it's all done.
     
  6. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    That wouldn't be bad publicity if you could place a "Maintained by Prevatte's Lawn Service" sign out in front of this area. Probably wouldn't fly past the HOA since it may reflect badly upon their abilities to maintain their own property. Hard to say.

    I, however, would be a little bit cautious in contacting any authority as leverage. That's opening up the proverbial can of worms, and in this "public awareness" day and age, the HOA probably wouldn't have to ask too many questions before finding out who turned the pit bulls loose. That would be no different than lets say a company's anti-virus software engineer introducing new viruses out on the Internet just so that scared people would end up buying their software.

    The sign idea that Petrenz alluded to seems worth a try.
     
  7. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    i would never involve an attorney for something like this....one, it's extra cost, which is not needed. two, you and then can sign a paper that agree on simple terms like maintain for free, but not responsible if someone trips for example.

    i could have bid on a sub here in town and they wanted me to sign a paper that i dont have insurance and wont sue them if something happens to me. something of this sort.

    about the sign....i'd ask them to put up a large vinyl sign (hang it off the chain link fence) with your name. just like they do at the city level soccer games.

    you will pick up tons of clients if you do a good job.
     
  8. Carolina Cutter

    Carolina Cutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 987

    Well here's an update for you..............

    Today my former neighbor stopped by. She attends the church which is located across the street from the neighborhood. She was talking and mentioned that she was doing an area survey to find people who would be willing to help clean this area up and get the park completed since it never was. Seems as though the church has recieved a grant and they want to help the community by finishing the park and adding two picnic type areas in the neighborhood.

    I told her that it was funny that she should mention that because I had just had thoughts about the same thing earlier. I told her I would more than happy to help restore the park time permitting and then I would volunteer my services to maintain the area. That won't involve much time because the park area is very small. I was then told that I would be able to erect a sign stating that this are is maintained by me in return for the services.

    Strange how the good Lord works sometimes. I started thinking about this as a project and now he has sent me a workforce to get this done so the children will have an area to play that is safe.

    I will try to get pictures posted of the area in its present condition in a couple of days as its too dark now. I think this could really lead to a lot of business for me. I am making a lot of contacts through this and you can be assured that when I go for the community work day at the park that I will be in my "uniform" and my trailer with my name on it will be right there.

    I say it again....the Lord works in mysterious ways!

    Stay tuned for updates............
     
  9. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    and even if you dont get a single client out of it..........you will enjoy is since it was done for the kids...
     
  10. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    Hey, you can't beat that with a stick!

    I suppose that it was the HOA that gave you permission to use your sign, right?
     

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