By Michelle Colesanti

In the five years since The Bridges Retirement Community opened its doors, it has made a positive impact on the community. It recently celebrated with the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce.

“As a member of the chamber, we appreciate the support we receive from our local businesses and members of our community,” said Donna Steiermann, executive director of The Bridges since it opened in 2009.

In October, The Bridges Retirement Community was acquired by Indianapolis based Bethany Village Ministries (BVM), which owns, operates or consults with over 35 senior living communities, totaling 3,000 units in four states.

John Bartle, managing partner of BVM said, “We look forward to working closely with the residents and staff at this vibrant community. Our mission at BVM is to develop, own, and operate health care and residential communities designed to meet the housing, health, personal and financial security needs of seniors.”

Valrico resident Carole Fluhart has a sister, Mary, who resides at The Bridges. Finding a place she was comfortable leaving her sister, as well one her sister liked living at, was not easy.

“I have been in 20 or 25 assisted living facilities throughout Tampa Bay and Sun City Center, and chose The Bridges. Their residents are full of high spirits and truly enjoy living there,” Fluhart said.

Fluhart feels it is a remarkably clean place and appreciates that the staff has to work hard at that. Her sister was a singer in a band and still gets to enjoy her love for music at The Bridges. “Music is important for my sister. It is good for heart, mind and soul,” said Fluhart, noting that music is provided in The Bridges daily curriculum.

Offerings to the community include an upcoming “MoodBoost” workshop to be held at The Bridges on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 from 10 a.m.-12 Noon. This workshop is designed to increase awareness of mind/brain health and to encourage people to take active steps to maintain brain wellness.

Currently offering 61 assisted living apartments and 16 memory care units, The Bridges looks to the future with plans to have villas and multi-family homes for independent living.

The Bridges Retirement Community is located at 11202 Dewhurst Dr. in Riverview. For more information, call 413-8900 or visit

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.