Features of Heartwood Preserve
The Welcome Center
Completed in 2019, our building is designed to be welcoming, energy efficient, and fully ADA accessible. It is sustainably built, with features such as LED lighting, highly efficient HVAC and ceiling fans, recycled content flooring on the porch, metal roofing, Hardie-board siding, and Florida Native landscaping. The front of the building has a traditional design, with a full-length front porch. This 1900 sq. ft. building holds our offices, two restrooms, a reception area, break room, and 50-person capacity meeting room (the Big Room). A sliding frosted glass room divider separates the reception area and Big Room and can be fully opened to make the gathering space even larger. The Big Room faces the front porch with 2 sets of glass doors. Large windows provide a wide view of the nearby cypress woods, allowing for plenty of natural light and fresh air during cooler weather. A wall mounted 65” smart TV and Bose soundbar provide high quality audio and video options for Celebrations of Life or other events.
Our Welcome Center is available to rent for special occasions. Heartwood Families (those who are burying a loved one or have purchased their own burial space here) have priority and a special rate for use of rental space. However, others may book the space as well, as available. Contact us for prices and availability.
Architect: Sol Design Studio, Tampa, FL
General Contractor: ABI Construction, Tampa, FL
Reception Room Wall (“Laura’s Wall”) – Designed and built by local woodworker James R. Parris, the wall you see when you enter the building is made from longleaf pine. These beautiful slabs of heart wood pine came from trees that once lived in the yard of the historic Starkey Ranch. In 2016, the ranch yard was demolished to make way for the new Starkey Ranch, a master-planned community now home to hundreds of new families. Thirteen trees, some measuring over 30” in diameter, were salvaged and later cut into slabs, becoming the inspiration for this center piece of our Welcome Center.
Landscaping – We use only Florida Native Plants around our building and parking lot, which require little to no irrigation once established, need no fertilizer or pesticides, and are naturally adapted to our climate and soils. Native plants provide food and shelter for wildlife, such as birds and butterflies. Beyond our landscaping, our Nature Preserve and Cemetery are – naturally – Florida native plants! It is our mission to keep our entire landscape ecologically healthy.
The Big Oak – Estimated at over a hundred years old, our Big Oak is a Quercus virginiana, or live oak. The ArborDay.org site notes that live oaks provides one of the “most indelible images of the Old South” with huge branches “festooned with Spanish Moss and spreading horizontally over grassy lawns.” Additionally, live oaks provide food for a large variety of wildlife, including wood ducks, wild turkeys, quail, and jays, squirrels, raccoons, and whitetail deer.
Cemetery Design – Our conceptual site plan was designed by award-winning landscape architect, Jack Goodnoe, of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Jack specializes in practical and beautiful designs for natural cemeteries, having worked on projects throughout the United States and Latin America. www.jackgoodnoe.com