Lakewood Ranch neighborhood considers plan for memorial program

nwilliams@bradenton.comSeptember 11, 2012 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Community development district 4 supervisors, who serve residents living in the Greenbrook neighborhood in Lakewood Ranch, are considering implementing a memorial program.

Lakewood Ranch staff will make a presentation to the supervisors during the board's 10 a.m. workshop Wednesday at town hall regarding various options.

If the board adopts the program, it will become the first community development district in Lakewood Ranch to do so. A similar program, made possible by the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, exists at town hall. Through the fund, residents can dedicate a brick at town hall for $100.

"Maybe we'll end up being a model," said Michael

Griffin, chairman of district 4.

Wednesday's presentation, led by Lakewood Ranch field manager Tracie Hunt, will list four dedication options. Under the options, residents can either dedicate a brick, adopt a tree, purchase a tree and plaque or purchase a bench with a plaque. Memorial trees would be limited to oak and magnolia. The options could become be a blueprint for other districts.

"We're going to gauge district 4's reaction," Hunt said.

Earlier this year, the district was approached by a group of Greenbrook residents who wanted to dedicate a plaque in honor of slain Lakewood Ranch resident Ina Gross inside Paw Park, a dog park in Greenbrook. The request was approved unanimously and generated the idea for a memorial program.

"We need some sort of system of rules and regulations as to what some day would be allowed," Griffin said. "We wanted to have some sort of methodology. You can't have a free for all. We want to have a policy in place."

The group of friends dedicated a plaque and tree in honor of Gross in July. Lakewood Ranch staff offered the tree to the group of friends at no charge.

Griffin said the Gross memorial was the first request during his four years on the board.

"We do serve at the will of the people," he said. "We need to listen to what their requests are. We need to think of it as a community-wide concept."

The four community districts and the Inter-District Authority will hold public board meetings at town hall Thursday.

Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams

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