Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Give Your Mailbox a Little TLC Before the Snow Flies

PHOTO: U.S. Postal Service
Homeowners use their mailboxes nearly everyday. Real estate agents will tell you that a mailbox is a key element in a home’s curb appeal—it’s one of the first things a visitor sees of a property. The U.S. Postal Service even recommends annual check-ups, ensuring that mail carriers can safely approach and access residential mailboxes, that addresses are clearly identified, and that delivered mail is protected from the elements.

More tips include:
  • Tighten loose hinges on the door.
  • Take care of rusty or loose parts.
  • Replace missing or faded house numbers.
The Green Meadows West Homeowners’ Association has covenants governing the appearance and function of mailboxes: Mailboxes are to be black, with white house numbers, with an open attachment into which newspapers and flyers can be delivered. The attachment is necessary because federal law stipulates that only homeowners and postal carriers may access the interior of a mailbox, and that only postage-bearing materials may be placed into a mailbox. The law also stipulates that materials may not be hung, stuck, or otherwise attached to a mailbox.

When the Green Meadows West neighborhood was first developed by a real estate subsidiary of Pioneer Hi-Bred in the early 1990s, the paint specified was an olive or brown color. After that color was no longer available on the market, all plats within the association migrated to an all-black alternative. While there are still olive-brown mailboxes found in the neighborhood, these are expected to change with maintenance.

“The intent behind requiring a uniform-look is to put the aesthetic focus on houses, not mailboxes,” says neighborhood association board member Jack Sullivan.

The Johnston Ace Hardware store at 5800 Merle Hay Rd. is the designated vendor of Green Meadows West mailboxes. A pole and base costs $178.50. A mailbox, which includes the newspaper attachment, costs $20. Installation is available for $75. House numbers are $1 each.

Hardware store owner Gordon Sterk says that, unless a mailbox has been hit by a car or truck, total replacement is often unnecessary. “All you have to do is sand down the pole, paint it a [satin] back, and maybe replace the mailbox itself,” he says.

“Four stainless steel screws attach it to the base—no need to spend $200.” Johnston Postmaster Joleen Bolger reminds homeowners that mailboxes should have functional red flags. When raised, these indicate to carriers that outgoing mail is present.

“Unless they have mail for a given address, or they see a raised flag, postal carriers aren’t required to stop.” Keeping mailboxes clear of obstacles, such as trash cans or parked vehicles, is also important. “Postal carriers are not able to dismount their vehicles, unless it’s to deliver a package,” she says.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Save the date! 2015 'Picnic in the Park' is Sept. 13!

The 9th Annual Green Meadows West “Picnic in the Park” event will be held Sun., Sept. 13, from 4 to 7 p.m., near the neighborhood’s signature gazebo located on the association’s privately maintained “Dover Park.” Other days, the park is available for rental through the association manager.

A free catered barbecue pork or chicken dinner by Hy-Vee will be served to association members and families.

Live music will be provided The Black Bird Circus, a pick-up combo featuring local folk, rock, and other artists, headed up by musician Steve Kowbel.

Inflatable play equipment for younger children will include a bounce house, obstacle course, and giant slide.

Our growing list of sponsors includes: Charter Bank, Flooring America, Jimmy Johns, and Veridian Credit Union.

City leaders and staff–including fire, police, and other personnel–will also be available to meet with Green Meadows West neighbors during the event. Library staff will conduct an interactive story time for younger kids.

See you there!