A county official has assured residents of Lutz that Hillsborough County will remove just a few of the 135 trees in the medians of U.S. 41, as the highway runs through the community.
Rob Seuss, the county’s division director for public works operations, told residents “there are four live oaks that have become sight distance issues (for motorists) that must be removed.”
His remarks came during an evening meeting on Oct. 29 at the Lutz Community Center that was attended by about 50 people.
Walmart donated $5,000 to help cover tree maintenance costs, but the actual costs are about $11,000 a year, Seuss said. So, additional efforts are being made to find sponsorships from local businesses or community groups.
The preservation of the trees, however, does not hinge on raising private funds, Seuss said.
“The county is committed and we will continue to maintain this,” he said. “The trees will remain.”
Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful has agreed to take on the task of seeking additional private sponsors and also managing the contract for crews to maintain the medians.
Professional help is needed because the trees are in the middle of a busy highway, said Daisy Packer, environmental program coordinator for Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. Her group is also interested in working with groups or individuals that want to adopt a portion of the road — or the entire stretch — to pick up litter.
Road adopters commit to a two-year contract, which involves four cleanups a year, Packer said.
“We provide gloves, bags, garbage bags and safety training,” she added.
Besides keeping the area attractive, adopting a road is a great way to build a sense of community because it encourages neighbors to get out and meet each other, Packer said.
The Lutz Citizens Coalition recently signed on to adopt Sunset Lane. And, the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club has been cleaning up Lutz Lake Fern Road for years.
While some groups are interested in adopting roads, others are more interested in doing community plantings, Packer said. That can be arranged.
Anyone who wants to help cover the costs of maintaining the trees in the U.S. 41 median, help keep area roads clean, or participate in community plantings should call Packer at (813) 221-8733.