Community starts beautification program

Article Courtesy of The Ledger

By Mike Ferguson

Published January 29, 2017


POINCIANA - The Homeowners Association in Poinciana is bucking the trend of being just a disciplinary entity.

Instead, it is rewarding homeowners who take pride in their homes and yards with a beautification program called Poinciana Beautiful.

"We wanted to make sure to recognize people who made an effort to take care of their property," said Mark Maldonado, general manager of the Association of Poinciana Villages. "We wanted to show that we didn't just enforce violations."

APV, founded in the mid-1970s, is one of the oldest homeowners associations in the United States. The nine-village community spans parts of Polk and Osceola counties and is made up of more than 26,000 homes and 200 businesses. Each village has a five-member board.

"We've been working diligently to put this all together," said Trish Moore, communications coordinator for APV. "I think it will be contagious among the neighbors."

APV, its code-enforcement department and volunteer patrol officers have worked together to identify yards and homes that stood out in the community. Seventy finalists have been selected, and judges will choose a winner from each at a celebration from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Community Building, located at 445 Marigold Ave. It's free and open to the public. Carol Saragusa, an actress and host for The Walt Disney Co., is the emcee. Classical group Nova Era also will perform.

"We have limited seating and right now, that's filling up very fast," Moore said. "The event is going to be professionally organized."

Winners will receive a yard sign that reads "Poinciana's Best Front Yards" and a monthlong membership at the APV Community Swimming Pool. APV also is working with local businesses to award gift certificates.

"With the spirit we're seeing now, we're definitely going to be moving forward with this on an annual basis," said Dottie McStay, APV master board president.

Maldonado said the idea didn't originate because residents weren't taking caring of their yards, but just the opposite. Maldonado said the number of violations was going down and there was a noticeable uptick in yards that were well maintained. Maldonado said other communities have inquired about the program.

"We wanted to make sure things continued to move in the right direction," he said. "There's a buzz around the community - a very positive one."