Maintenance of Ocean Resorts over the Years

By John Leaman


          Maintenance is not a popular or romantic subject, but just wait until something isn’t working properly.  Then the talk begins and the experts come out of the closets.  Since Ocean Resorts originated as a campground and grew into a “little city” the “growing pains” have been many and varied.  Most of the headaches for Ocean Resorts’ Maintenance Management involve utilities services with the maze of electrical cables, water pipes and sewer lines lying just under the ground level throughout Ocean Resorts and the connections with multiple branches and things at the ends of these lines providing the lighting, cooling/heating, and appliance operations that the residents want.  There are also phone lines and TV cables traversing under every lot among the other lines to complicate the maze.  However, the phone or cable TV companies maintain their own lines/cables.  Also, Florida Power & Light (FP&L) tends the electrical cabling for the 85 lots that have direct service from them.

          There was no master plan for the utilities installations and operation at Ocean Resorts, so the total systems grew piecemeal like “topsy.”  In early campground days there was even a plethora of rubber or plastic hoses, buckets, and extension cords.  But, as the residents living accommodations moved from tents to campers, to trailers, to motor homes, to park models and mobile homes, to mobile homes with major add-ons, and to “stick built” and CBS homes, so did the demands for greater and more reliable utilities services.  It was usually difficulties from growing demands on the existing systems that led to repeated upgrades.  For example, electrical power to a lot started at 15 Amps, but soon had to be increased to 30, then to 50, then to 70 and now up to 100 Amps standard, with more possible with special provisions.  This was caused by the evolution of the housing units and use of more and higher powered appliances, both large and small.  It necessitated new power distribution stations, and new pedestals and cabling in many cases

          The sanitary sewer lines were installed at various times using different materials.  Those that were installed with good contiguous PVC initially (the more recent ones) are still in good shape and will remain so for the foreseeable future.  However, those that were of various types of tile and/or cast iron have required considerable retrofit because of joint separations and/or root penetrations.  Some have been cleared of roots and lined with PVC.  Others have been cleaned and re-grouted.  Originally there were cast iron “P” traps at all lots with outlets above ground for campers to hook into.  As the park transitioned to mostly permanent units the cast iron was replaced with PVC.  There are also two sewage lift stations that cannot be permitted to fail.  Their pumps must be repaired or replaced and at times, backup power provided. As more ground became covered by asphalt or concrete, storm water runoff became more of a problem because of relatively level terrain and the fact that water piping directly into the river/lagoon is prohibited.



          The most troublesome continuing problems with electricity and water have been caused by electric cables or water pipes being nicked by shovels and picks; tie down anchors driven into the ground, etc.  The insidious part of this is that the ultimate catastrophic failure may not occur for years until the leak is large enough for water to cause a washout or an electrical line burn out.  In the meantime much costly electricity or water has been leaking into the ground.   An interesting sewage stoppage occurred after Florida Power and Light drilled underground through a main sewage line and then the cable through the middle of the sewage pipe caused damming and a backup.  (See Photo above left) Failures are seldom at a convenient time or place to be repaired.  It’s amazing how many occur on a weekend and under someone’s house or favorite shrub.  Nonetheless, Ocean Resorts has been blessed with a most competent set of maintenance experts who not only fix things in a timely manner, but initiate measures to help reduce the frequency of failure events.  They now have computerized records of most critical information.




          Maintenance also takes care of pool operations (a critical daily responsibility), buildings maintenance and cleaning, both inside and out, maintenance of all common areas including docks, boardwalk, tennis, shuffleboard, and bocce courts, comfort stations, street and lawn care and trash, recyclable and brush collections. They also install, replace and/or repair many other things like entry/exit gates, security systems, fencing, street lighting, irrigation systems for common areas, emergency electrical generating systems, water and electric meters, lift station pumps, electrical switches and breakers, water valves, vehicles and equipment used for maintenance work, and sundry more items.  They keep many items in excellent operating condition long beyond their normal life expectancies. For example the old trash truck has lasted 15 years, the 8 wheel drive John Deere all purpose vehicle (often called the beast) is still in operation after 20 years.  If there is no good tool readily available for their needs they ingeniously make one.  For example they took a heavy duty string trimmer and made a motorized pool edge scrubber out of it.  This not only does a superior job, but saves many hours of labor. They also created a motorized lift to “pull” the lift station pumps for maintenance.  Many of their tasks are both physically demanding and require technical skills.  At times, resident volunteers assist maintenance by doing things like covering and uncovering the pool, daily curbside collection of trash, collection of recyclables and brush, painting of buildings, docks, and boardwalk, repair and installation of fencing and roofing, and many other tasks.  These volunteers provide a very valuable service and save the cooperative’s residents thousands of dollars every year.  Also, at various times, the cleaning of buildings inside and the lawn care has been contracted out so that the permanent full time maintenance work force can be maintained at the minimum.

          Unit Owner volunteers have made significant physical additions to Ocean Resorts.  They designed and built or installed the boardwalk, the tennis pavilion, the white vinyl fence along A1A and around the pool and its supporting enclave, parts of the marina complex, picnic tables/benches and many smaller things.  In all cases maintenance supported the planning, material acquisition and other tasks for these efforts.

Recovery from the twin canes of 2004 was an unbelievable challenge for residents, park management and especially maintenance. More information on this may be found in A September to Remember. (Click Below on Hurricanes 2004)

Back in 1982 when Norton Field was hired as the Manager, he quickly recognized critical maintenance problems and brought Daren Meyers in as the Maintenance Manager. Incidentally, Daren is licensed both as a professional Community Association Manager (CAM) and professional Swimming Pool Operator. Shortly after Daren’s arrival he brought Tim Caudill in as his primary technician (his right arm).  From reports abounding from the early days, to say that maintenance before their arrival was unsatisfactory would be a gross understatement!  Although a number of laborers have passed through the maintenance operations, Daren and Tim have been the backbone mainstays and been most competent, dedicated, and reliable -- Ocean Resorts has been truly blessed to have their competence, dependability, and loyalty for more than two decades.


When Ocean Resorts contracted out it management to Continental, in December 2012, it arranged that its maintenance staff become employees of the new management firm and continue to be stationed at Ocean Resorts.