LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Community development district 4 supervisors, who serve residents living inthe Greenbrook neighborhood in Lakewood Ranch, unanimously voted toadopt a memorial pro-gram Thursdaythat would allow residents to commemorate loved ones, including pets, with a landmark object.
Lakewood Ranch staff will draft policies for three options residents can choose for a memorial and the limitations and restrictions involved.
Under the options, residents can either adopt a tree for $150, purchase a tree and plaque for $500 or purchase a bench with a plaque for $1,500. Memorial trees would be limited to oak and magnolia.
The supervisors were initially presented with four options, but opted to eliminate a memorial brick, which is also available at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall through the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund.
The cost covers the district's expenses for purchasing trees, benches, markers and plaques. The location for the memorials will be limited to Adventure Park, a recreation area inside Greenbrook, and along Greenbrook Boulevard.
According to the proposed policy, the district or Lakewood Ranch staff will have the final approval for memorials and their locations and how many would be permitted in the district.
The owners of the memorial will also be responsible for the costs of repairs or replacements.
District 4 becomes the first district in Lakewood Ranch to adopt a memorial program. The remaining three community districts will be given a presentation about the program by Lakewood Ranch staff once a District 4 policy is implemented.
"I certainly feel it's a benefit to our district," said supervisor Joe Sidiski. "Aesthetics will be unaffected. We'll limit the number that can be put in and control where."
The idea to start a program was initiated earlier this year when the district was approached by a group of 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. The supervisors said they were approached by residents in the past, but felt having a policy in place was necessary.
"This way, it will be fair to everyone," said supervisor Nancy Johnson.
Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams.