NewsHillsborough County


Florida Veterans upset after management removes veteran memorial from retirement community

Posted at 2:56 PM, Dec 01, 2017

A group of veterans that live in a Hillsborough County retirement community are upset after management took down a memorial honoring veterans and first responders.

People who live at the Little Manatee Springs retirement community off Hamlin Way in Wimauma are furious that management spent hours to take down a memorial residents built themselves. 

A resident who lives there recorded the entire encounter and posted the video to YouTube that shows veterans watching as workers too apart the pieces of the memorial and a number of flag poles that they put in the ground. 

ABC Action News has learned that a World War II veteran sat and watched the flags being taken town. 

The 91-year-old veteran said it was sad to watch.

An organizer who helped arrange the memorial said Friday morning that the memorial was put in four months ago, a time when there was no local manager as the property company is based out of Chicago. 

The organizer said the residents didn't get a proper permit to put in the memorial, but say they were not able to because the property is in Hometown America's name. 

Nearly a dozen veterans met with ABC Action News to say they tried to work out a compromise with management  that included paying to get the proper permit and inspection. 

However, after a meeting with 90 residents and the manager, the memorial was taken down. 

ABC Action News reached out to Hometown America for a statement. They stressed the memorial was not up to code and that county building and safety instructed them to take it down, making it a liability for them. They tell us they will properly engineer it up to code and rebuild it.

Hometown America said there is an existing memorial on site at Little Manatee, and that they respect and honor veterans and their sacrifices.