By TANYA DORAN
Executive Director, Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce
After a long week, I’m writing this column from my home office on Saturday, as my 8-year-old yellow lab sleeps soundly and lightly snores at my feet. My husband, Bill, and son, Kevin, have left for work. The house is quiet, except for our old, loud washing machine. We know it’s just a matter of time before we’ll need to replace it.
The washing machine was a wedding gift from my grandmother Kathryn over 25 years ago. It may be considered an antique at this point, but we can’t bring ourselves to replace it until something catastrophic happens or an expensive repair is required. We’ve made countless minor repairs using parts costing less than $5. It’s like the Energizer Bunny™; it keeps going, going and going.
On one hand, we’re thankful to have such a reliable appliance and on the other hand, we’re looking forward to having a washer with newer technology, one that’s more energy- and water-efficient and quieter. I’ll be sad when we finally must replace our old one. This may sound silly, but I think of my grandmother every time I hear our washer start to wind up for the spin cycle. I think about how proud she would be that her gift has blessed us for this long.
I have a similar nostalgia for the crape myrtle trees planted almost 20 years ago in the medians along U.S. 301 south of Progress Boulevard and Bloomingdale Avenue and north of the Boyette Road and Gibsonton Drive intersection in Riverview. This was a project made possible by the efforts of local residents and business leaders like Richard Baily, Amy Kowalski, Jim Johnson and several others.
Over the years, some trees have been removed because of road improvements, hit by vehicles or simply not survived through the harsh environmental conditions. At the request of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce, Hillsborough County replaced some of them earlier this year.
Something you may not realize, is the local business community paid and continues to pay for the care and maintenance of these trees. The chamber estimates that local businesses have invested more than $72,000 to keep these trees sustained and looking nice.
Because of the new BridgePrep Academy charter school being built near the southwest corner of Progress Boulevard and U.S. 301, more road improvements are required, which will remove a total of 35 trees. Sadly, most were removed last week, and at least another seven will be removed soon.
When we learned about these road improvements and the impact it would have on our entrance to Riverview, the chamber began researching options to save these 35 trees. This was time-consuming and filled with disappointment. We learned the expense of saving and moving these trees would be three times more expensive than purchasing and planting new ones. Three arborists were consulted and all agreed transplanting them was risky. They estimated only a 50-50 chance of survival.
The chamber is working with Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White and the Florida Department of Transportation in hopes of replacing all 35 trees.
We appreciate our partners Serenity Meadows Memorial Park and Funeral Home and the Mosaic Co., both of whom have supported this beatification project from the beginning. We’re also thankful to newer supporters like Duffey Tree Care and KB Home.
As Riverview continues to develop, it becomes even more important to keep its hometown feel. If you’d like to help or have any questions, call the chamber at 813-234-5944, or e-mail Director@RiverviewChamber.com.