"We are going to have to become more adept at understanding what certain things mean to certain cultures," Nelson said. "It's not so much that we are going to change everything we do. ... It's still melding cultures into one user face."

Money for older facilities

While Columbia's population has aged, so has its infrastructure.

Nelson said by trimming expenditures, CA has been able to increase its capital improvements budget without incurring large sums of long-term debt. Over the last three years CA has more than doubled its capital improvements budget from $4 million to $10 million per year.


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Nelson only anticipates the capital improvements budget increasing as CA facilities get older.

"Some of our bigger facilities are getting to be 35 to 40 years old," he said.

Nelson said over the next 15 years CA plans to invest $23 million in outdoor pool upgrades, $35 million in outdoor space projects and more than $15 million in fitness center upgrades. In total, Nelson estimates more than $105 million will be allocated over the next 15 years to maintaining CA's existing facilities.

That number does not include projects such as the $5 million for a new clubhouse at Hobbit's Glen Golf Club, the proposed enhancement of Symphony Woods Park, and the possible purchase of a new headquarter's building.

While some of the changes seem like a long way away, Nelson stressed that the time to act is now.

"These changes aren't going to happen overnight. We are talking 20 to 30 years, but I'd like to start turning the Titanic before we do hit the iceberg," Nelson said. "I want to make sure we are prepared."