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Homeowners group promotes vinyl mailboxes

They're more expensive, but won't deteriorate, the Tampa Palms group says.

By MELIA BOWIE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 25, 2002

TAMPA PALMS -- When word came last year that the Tampa Palms Owners Association was promoting new mailboxes to unify the community's look, Rosemary and Harry Staley were the first to sign up.

They had already replaced their deteriorating wood mailbox twice, and the new PVC boxes favored by the homeowners association promised to weather Florida's elements with ease.

(The 20-year warranty that came with them didn't sound too bad either.)

So the couple paid $277 for a high-quality, custom-painted gray and white aluminum box on PVC posts -- nearly double the price of their old one.

"It's a little expensive but it's worth it," said Rosemary Staley.

This week the Cambridge III residents said they were still pleased with their decision and with an opportunity Wednesday night to win a 50-percent refund for the boxes.

To help kick off the mailbox campaign, the association held a special drawing at its annual meeting Wednesday and awarded prizes to 50 of the first 200 residents who purchased a new PVC mailbox. The winners were reimbursed for half of the mailbox's expense.

Ultimately, the Tampa Palms Owners Association would like to see 1,500 homes in the community boasting new boxes, said association manager Maura Lear.

The wood ones sometimes lean and are prone to discoloration, rotting and termites and can quickly become unsightly, the association concluded.

"A new mailbox is not an exciting thing, but it's gaining hold," Lear said, adding "uniformity is important."

Residents are not required to remove wood boxes in good condition, but if they fall out of compliance with association standards they must be replaced with the new PVC model crafted in vinyl with acrylic number plaques.

A mix of wood and PVC boxes now line the block inside their scenic neighborhood, Rosemary Staley said. Some of the older boxes are in very bad shape but the neighbors are not replacing them, she said.

It may take awhile, officials acknowledged. The new boxes from Mailbox Impressions Inc. in Lutz are pricier, although their expense includes removal of the old box, installation of the new one and taxes.

In the meantime -- be it a new or old model -- "if it looks good and it meets our standards then we're good," Lear said.

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