The Summit Road Association was founded in 1979. Following is the story of how the SRA came to be and a chronological retelling of the story of our road, as told from the viewpoint of one of our gates! This informative and entertaining recounting comes to us courtesy of Ray Strong.
Thanks Ray, for taking the time to present us with such a unique perspective.
I was a swinging yellow gate on Summit Road near Loma Prieta until Ray Strong cut me down on October 30th, 1990. Sudeep Williams, then president, presided over the Board of Director's meeting on October 27th when the unanimous decision was made to remove me so that Santa Cruz County would proceed with their schedule of improvements on Summit Road to the Maymen's Flat area.
Although I kept swinging for over 11 years, Santa Cruz County threatened to cut me down and bill the SRA Board for the expense ever since I was installed on the 7th of April, 1979. The county had accused me of being an illegal swinger on a road over which they claimed maintenance jurisdiction.
All my various parts, including the 'Keep Out' sign I wore for many years, were safely stored awaiting the decision of the SRA Board to make me a swinger again in a new location or just to let me rest in peace.
My twin gate, installed in June of 1979, still swings over the Summit Road near the Mount Madonna end of the eight mile stretch of road which has been maintained by the donations of some property owners of the Summit Road Association. The SRA had its first meeting on the 29th of April in 1979, and elected Tom Lyon as its President.
Tom Lyon and Ray Strong were thinking about me in the early months of 1979 as they were discussing the poor condition of the road with all the big washouts, ditches, and big rocks in the roadway. This condition, combined with the damage done by four wheelers and dirt bikes, made it very difficult for them to travel to their land on Summit Road with an ordinary automobile.
After buying a parcel of land in 1974, Ray Strong exhausted all avenues in an effort to find a county, state, forest service, fire district or any other agency that would accept any responsibility whatsoever for improving the road.
Tom Lyon suggested we form our own road association, put up locked gates, collect donations from interested property owners, maintain the road ourselves, and keep out the people who just tear up the road and vandalize our property.
So Tom hauled some used pipe to Ray's house, and I was created out of a pile of scrap iron to become a swinging gate with all the risks of being out there alone on Summit Road with no guard.
I had a hard time getting used to locks to keep some people out and let others thru who supported the SRA or were given a key for a small fee. Sometimes I was given rough treatment as strangers tried to cut me down, jam my locks, or push me over! Many improvements were made in the lock boxes over the years and I received many new yellow coats as I kept swinging for the SRA.
In 1982 when Paul Carrick was SRA President, the SRA became a non-profit corporation, and the donations made by members became tax-deductible. Paul served as SRA President for 2 years (1981-1983) and then Don Mayberry served as president for 3 years (1983-1986). In 1986, Hans van den Haak was elected president and served until his death from cancer in September of 1989. Sudeep Williams, who was then vice-president, took over as president upon Hans' death and served until she was elected in April of 1990. Each president has led the Board of eight people thru many periods of change and improvements to the road that benefited everyone.
Even though I am not a swinger on Summit Road at this time, I see the road as being in the best condition it has ever been in since I have been able to observe it. For the most part, the majority of people who travel this way are interested in each other's welfare and the protection of everyone's right to own property, to improve it according to one's choices, and to be able to travel on a safe road. Some people are glad that I am not a swinger on Summit Road at this time and others would like to see me resurrected.
My fate will probably depend on who is elected president in the future, what position he/she takes before the election, and what influence this will have in determining how the Board of Directors will decide to vote on various improvements to benefit the majority of the people involved in the SRA.
So, pay your dues (now called 'tax-deductible donations'!) and exercise your right to be heard by voting for your choice of officers and board members when they are up for election.
Many thanks to those who have supported the SRA over the years and bouquets to those who come out and support us by attending the annual meetings. Without you I would never have become a swinging gate, and who knows what condition the road would be in now! Thank you for listening ~ I have so much more to speak about, but as usual, I am limited in space and time ...
(To be continued at a later date)
Time has been one of my minor concerns. After being laid aside on a hill by the Blue gate for nearly 4 years, the SRA Board voted to put new life into my yellow pipes on the 16th of July, 1994. I was resurrected on Summit Road again, but in a new location. This time, I was put up near a Black gate at Maymen's Flat with a smaller gate to Uvas County Park as my neighbor. I was elated to see Ray Strong come with his backhoe and pick up my pieces for the necessary repairs and additions to my frame so that I could swing again on Summit Road in July, 1994. My former roots and foundations still lay buried at the 'Y' section of Summit Road near a Green gate on the other road that leads northward up the mountain to Loma Prieta.
I do not fully understand why Santa Cruz County wanted me taken down on the 30th day of October in 1990, but that is history now! This gate is happy to be a swinger again in a location that marks the beginning of where the SRA has maintained Summit Road since April, 1979. Santa Clara County doesn't seem to care whether I am a swinger or not. That county has shown no interest in helping the SRA to maintain about six miles of Summit Road.
My twin yellow gate still stands open at the east end of the section of Summit Road which the SRA has improved over the years. I am really grateful for all of the improvements made, and now I too stand open most of the time just greeting the vehicles that pass thru.
Maybe someday somebody will donate a lot of money to really improve the road. I sure hope so since I have no desire to be a swinger forever in this remote area with strange people around!
To go back to the history of the SRA presidency ~ Sudeep Williams was re-elected president in April 1991. So all together she served from 1989 to 1992, when Georgia Metzger was elected president in April of 1992. Georgia served for two years, and then Shawn Holley was elected to the presidency in April 1994 and served one term. Jacob Sofer also served a one year term until Darryl Hutchings took over the duties in 1996. After his one year term, Mark Hamlin was elected in 1997 and served the SRA as president for three years and thru many improvements before Mike Antisdel was elected in April of 2000. Mike supports good detailed plans to continue with many more improvements in the Summit Road Association Community!
With all due respect for the many loyal SRA members, I am content to just be a swinger on the road as I watch the improvements take place.
Thank you for listening to the ramblings of a Swinging Yellow Gate! As usual, I am limited by time and space! I would like to thank all the SRA supporters over the years. I am looking forward to many interesting things happening in 2001 and beyond ~ especially the improvements!
(Written by and reprinted with permission of Ray Strong ~
property owner and SRA Board Member since April 29, 1979)
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