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Guest Commentary

Fimmel: Our future has arrived in Sun City


Not to sound too profound, historians, philosophers even theoretical physicists (think Albert Einstein) have long held that if you want to understand the future you must first study the past.

Even our own local historians continually remind us as much whenever the opportunity arises, and we thank them for doing so. That’s the beauty of our community — we are surrounded by our past, we are easily able to reconstruct it and it’s easy to follow. The challenge is to apply that history to what’s relevant to us today, tomorrow, and beyond.

We know that we owe a great deal to those who built Sun City, and to those who helped shape the community, leaving us an incredible legacy upon which we could build. It wasn’t just well-built homes or golf courses or recreation centers, but a foundation that was created to stand the test of time. It was a community where those moving here took ownership of the process of self-governance and were willing to give back the time, talents and expertise that those of us who followed simply had to continue.

Our community was more than an amazing amenities package. There was something even more important — an impressive sense of community. Our predecessors created the articles of incorporation and bylaws that were honed from trial and error to ensure an ongoing partnership between the members and the Recreation Centers of Sun City that would be obvious to anyone who looked.

One of the most pivotal points in our history came when the 1999 RCSC board realized Sun City was on a collision course of growing old and outdated without a mechanism for updating the amenities/facilities. From that single realization the Preservation and Improvement Fee started to be collected.  The RCSC board turned to the community and asked for help. Committees, clubs and community organizations all joined together to plan how to best invest in our future. This one change held the promise of an ever evolving future for Sun City.

By 2010, 50 years after Sun City’s opening, the housing market crash hit. Baby boomers were replacing the Greatest Generation and technology had changed just about everything. The Internet had become the gathering place — cell phones allowed connection to everyone everywhere and in-person contact with neighbors declined. These changes clearly had an impact on the Sun City way of life. Fewer members were volunteering and paying attention to what was going on within their community. The response by the RCSC was to become more internal, more removed from member involvement. It would be another decade before the RCSC fully realized the importance of technology and actually invested in it. This is a historical observation, not a judgment.

Today, the RCSC board finds itself at another pivotal point in our history, and again it deals with building modernization and the PIF. So, it is only fitting to once again ask for help from our committees, clubs and community organizations. Here is the challenge — two RCSC centers are in need of renovation/renewal/replacement, but there are finite resources and conflicting interests to be addressed. The goal is to develop a buildings plan that meets all of the community’s needs within the budgetary limitations and in the most expeditious manner possible. Like our predecessors, we must rise to meet the challenges that lie before us, knowing the outcome will lay the foundation for generations to come. There is much work to be done! 

The future has arrived in Sun City and it is all around us. No one said the future would be easy, but then again neither was the past. We can meet the future head-on if only we are willing to take this journey together.

Editor’s Note: We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments, pro or con, on this issue. Email AZOpinions@iniusa.org.