Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Celebration of Light comes to Loreto Bay

This week there another two events I would like to describe for you.  The first was a Community get-together one late afternoon at the Palapa Courtyard that was redeveloped last Season, and that I wrote about the opening of last April (“Community Palapa – the new heart of Loreto Bay”).  As the first event of it’s kind since the opening celebration, it was good to see this beautiful oasis in our midst being used for the purpose it was intended.

It was a very casual affair, people had been encouraged to bring a light snack to share and possibly a chair to sit on, and there were several dozen people in attendance, coming and going between 4 and 6 in the afternoon.  Steve, one of the Beach Dogs, brought a guitar and small amp and microphone to play under the Palapa in what had been billed as an “open mike” – but, as it turned out, he wound up to be the only entertainer, playing some soft background music that was enjoyed by all.

The snacks were tasty, and the surroundings beautiful, contributing to a relaxed occasion for those who attended to visit with friends and neighbors, the majority of whom were from the cluster of homes nearby, but included others from all over the development.  I hope that this idea continues and grows over the season to come –as one of the best parts of living here, for most of us, are these chances to get together informally to enjoy each other’s company.

However, the “main event” this week was the HOA Welcome Party hosted by our HOA Administrator Associa and the staff, headed by Jorge Macias.  Associa is the largest Condominium Management Company in Mexico and with their dedicated staff here in Loreto Bay, they manage all aspects of development and maintenance of our growing Community.  This work includes maintaining kilometers of landscaped pathways and numerous courtyards, trash removal and pest control in the extensive common areas and overseeing our own private security service as well as managing the considerable budget that is involved in a community of this size.

During the past year, one of the biggest undertakings of the HOA has been the administration of a major infrastructure development program that was endorsed by the Homeowners at the last series of annual meetings early this year.  This ambitious project, with a budget of over two million dollars, is being funded by a special assessment to our HOA fees over a two year period and will remediate the shortcomings and deficiencies in basic infrastructure that we as a community “inherited” following the demise of the original Developer almost four years ago.

Work on this project has been progressing ever since the approval of the assessment, and as we approach the mid-way point in the timeline, we are seeing some substantial improvements here in Loreto Bay.  I have mentioned some of these in earlier blogs this season, namely the stone paving of the sidewalk along one side of the Paseo and the installation of street lighting along the main road that runs through the development. 

Lighting has been a significant consideration here since the beginning of the project.  The many pathways that connect the homes leading from the Paseo are lit by fixtures on the individual homes that are controlled automatically by photo-sensitive switches and one of the early initiatives was to install those fixtures so their light was focused downwards to reduce the light pollution and preserve a “dark sky” environment.

However, since the very beginnings of the development, street lighting along the Paseo has been an issue, with long stretches of the divided road in almost utter darkness, posing a significant hazard to walking at night as well as giving an overall impression of neglect.  Therefore, the installation of a new street lighting system was a high priority of the infrastructure project, while maintaining the lowest level of light pollution at night, so as to better enjoy the starry spectacle that is the clear night sky here.

As part of the completion of the sidewalks, new “hip height” lamp posts were installed at regular intervals the length of the Paseo, with the light from energy efficient bulbs focused downwards to the pavement.  Meanwhile, planning was being done for a HOA Welcome Party to launch the new season and to coincide with the upcoming series of Homeowner’s annual meetings when there would be a large number of residents here.

And so it was decided that the new street lighting system would be officially turned on for the first time during the Welcome Party this weekend.  This was going to be a major event in the Loreto Bay Calendar with free beer and tacos, courtesy of the HOA, and of course, there can’t be a party here without the entertainment being provided by our own “Los Beach Dogs”.

As I prepared to head out of my home shortly after 6:00 pm to walk to the south end of the development where the party was being held, I ran down a brief mental check list, camera, monopod, wallet etc. and as I reached out for my flashlight, (a heretofore necessary accessory for any nocturnal journeys in Loreto Bay) I realized that for the first time personal lighting would not be necessary for the return trip home this night.

Arranged along one side of the divided Paseo by the traffic circle, was a long row of plastic chairs facing three food stations each with different taco fillings including mole, salads and aracherra with a choice of corn or flour tortillas, and next to each food table were ice chests where draft beer was being dispensed, and for those who preferred wine, the Wine Cellar had a booth set up where a choice of reds and whites were available.

At the far end of the closed off section of the street, a stage platform was set up and a professional sound system had been hired for the evening with several speakers positioned along the street.  After some opening comments by Jorge, the Associa HOA Manager of Loreto Bay, and an introduction of his key staff members, all of whom are familiar faces to all who live here, with a brief description of their responsibilities in the community, the moment had come – the switch was thrown, and there was LIGHT!

Marching off into the distance, along both sidewalks bordering the Paseo, our new lamp posts, now crowned by shining globes of beautiful LIGHT gleaming as the newest constellation to grace our Community! This was a sight long anticipated by all residents and we were all celebrating an important milestone in the greater development of our Village!

Following this celebration, the Beach Dogs took to the stage and the party began!  With almost 300 residents enjoying the tasty food and drink, and our own home-grown entertainment, with the sense of community that is growing ever stronger as more and more of us spend longer times here, we danced and socialized together into the now not-so-dark night.
 And so on a week that began with a low key get-together at our Community Palapa, and climaxed with the lighting of the Paseo, one of the largest populations of residents to be gathered here at one time officially kicked off this new Season in Loreto Bay and celebrated another step in the fulfillment of the dream that we all share – “Living Loreto”!