LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Plans to install a memorial bench with the names of three residents who lost their lives in traffic accidents on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard moved forward Thursday.
Supervisors for Community Development District 1, which serves the Summerfield and Riverwalk villages, approved the plan after Anne Ross, executive director of Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, reported the families who lost loved ones in accidents supported the memorial bench idea.
Supervisors discussed the idea in December out of concern that a make-shift memorial in the median of a busy and winding stretch of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard was a dangerous place for friends and families to try to visit.
The names on the memorial bench would be those of Donald Mader, 83, who was struck and killed by a motorist while riding his bicycle in 2014, and Brendan Shreve, 17, and Jared Duran, 15, who died when their car hit a tree in the median of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard in 2015.
The bench would be located on the east side of the road, near where the accidents occurred.
In other business at district meetings Thursday:
Ross reported that contractors have been invited to submit bids to replace street lights on major Lakewood Ranch streets with LED (light-emitting diode) lamps. Those bids are expected to be presented to district supervisors in March.
The Suncoast Half Marathon is set for 7 a.m. Sunday , starting and ending at Lakewood Ranch Main Street and winding through the Country Club, Operations manager Paul Chetlain said.
Signs have been posted on major streets in Lakewood Ranch to alert residents and drivers. Manatee County Sheriff's deputies will be positioned to direct traffic.
Ross reminded supervisors of the 2016 election. According to the supervisor of elections webpage, supervisors up for election include District 1's June Stroupe and Alan Roth; District 2's Michael L. Finney, Richard F. Moran, and Peter M. Bokach; District 4's Michael J. Griffin and Nancy Johnson; District 5's David L. Emison, Glenda M. Robertson, and Thomas E. Leavey; and District 6's Jane A. Bruyer and E. Wayne Turnblom.
District 2 supervisors discussed a resident's request to privatize Lakewood Ranch roads. While it is theoretically possible, "it's not an easy process," board attorney Andy Cohen told District 2 supervisors, who represent residents of the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club neighborhood.
Complicating factors include the fact that not all districts have paid off their bonds, and plat language says the roads are to remain public in perpetuity.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter@jajones1.