LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Taking a walk in the neighborhood, stopping to pause under a tree that honors a loved one or resting on a memorial bench will now be possible in all Lakewood Ranch community development districts, thanks to a rule adopted by the Lakewood Ranch Community District boards Thursday.
Previously, occasional dedications were made, but there was no overall style or policy for how this would happen. Decisions about it could have been made arbitrarily, but Thursday's actions put a single standard in place for all.
Memorial gifts include three options, which must be approved by the district and/or staff for selection and placement in common areas. Trees and benches have already been approved for Adventure Park and Greenbrook Boulevard.
"It looked absolutely
wonderful," said District 6 supervisor Jane Bruyer. "We couldn't think of a reason not to do it. It's not going to affect the cost of landscaping at all."
Donors who want to dedicate a tree marker can adopt an existing tree or choose to purchase a new tree, which must be either live oak or southern magnolia. The markers must be granite, 8-by-10 inches, four inches thick and set into the ground. Cost for adopting an existing tree is $150, while buying a new tree will be $500.
The tan memorial benches will be made from recycled materials and be set into concrete footing when installed. The bronze plaque will be 4-by-6 inches, with the entire package costing $1,800. In all cases, the donor assumes the cost of any repairs or replacements.
"The money will be used for the cost of whatever was put up, and then we will assume the maintenance. If it is destroyed, we will not replace it, but they can," District 1 Supervisor Jean Stewart said.
Last year, District 4 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.
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.
Dee Graham, Herald reporter can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7027, or tweet @DeeGrahamBH.