With big grant, Bayou Pass Village greens up for Earth Day

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

Photo Mitch Traphagen

Photo Mitch Traphagen

A quote passed widely around Facebook in the weeks leading up to Earth Day and Arbor Day said, “Imagine if trees gave off WiFi signals, we would be planting so many trees and we’d probably save the planet, too. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.”

On Earth Day, April 22, a dozen volunteers working with Florida Home Partnership and assisted by a grant from Wells Fargo actually did plant trees (sorry, there were no reports the trees included WiFi signals) as part of the 14th Avenue Beautification Project at FHP’s Bayou Pass Village Phase 4 development. The group planted several Washingtonia Palms along 14th Avenue SE and 6th Street SE.

While another widely distributed quote on Facebook attributes President Abraham Lincoln as saying, “You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet,” the first quote is, indeed, based on fact. Trees produce oxygen we breathe. For Bayou Pass Village and the surrounding community, there are other benefits in addition to oxygen and neighborhood beautification. The palm trees as planted will help to reduce noise pollution from the nearby roads and work to not only clean soil but also reduce carbon dioxide in the air.

The Earth Day tree planting was made possible by a grant from Wells Fargo. The event was attended by Steve Schultz, Wells Fargo area president, who delivered remarks after the tree planting and presented FHP with a check for $219,000, part of the corporation’s UrbanLIFTSM program, a program that distributed $11.4 million in grants to organizations in just 25 cities across the nation. UrbanLIFTSM was established by the national financial firm to help advance community stabilization in communities significantly impacted by the housing crisis. It is the most recent commitment in Wells Fargo’s “LIFT” family of initiatives that promote sustainable home ownership, homebuyer support and neighborhood revitalization efforts.

The event was also attended by Denise Lawry, who purchased the first home in the Bayou Pass Phase 4 development. She signed up to volunteer for the tree planting.

About a dozen volunteers turned out to help Florida Home Partnership plant several Washingtonia Palm trees at Bayou Pass Village Phase 4 in Ruskin on Earth Day, April 22. The project was made possible with a portion of a $219,000 grant presented to FHP from Wells Fargo.

About a dozen volunteers turned out to help Florida Home Partnership plant several Washingtonia Palm trees at Bayou Pass Village Phase 4 in Ruskin on Earth Day, April 22. The project was made possible with a portion of a $219,000 grant presented to FHP from Wells Fargo.

Florida Home Partnership is a nonprofit homebuilder offering affordable homeownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. The USDA self-help program allows home buyers to exchange 600 hours of labor, also known as “sweat equity,” for a cash down payment, allowing those of stable income but limited financial means to realize the dream of homeownership.

The 40-year-old organization has produced several developments in Hillsborough (notably Ruskin) and Pasco counties. For more information, visit www.flhome.org.

For information about the Wells Fargo UrbanLIFT program, visit www.urbanapplication.org.

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