Fish Hawk Trails Founder Glen Cross Killed in Car Crash

The well-known Tampa Bay developer died Tuesday in North Carolina.

The man responsible for the development of Fish Hawk Trails and FishHawk Ranch had died.

Well-known Tampa Bay developer Glen Edward Cross, 72, died July 24 in a car crash in North Carolina.

According to High Country Press in North Carolina, Cross was killed in a multiple-car wreck on Beech Mountain Parkway involving a car hauler.

A 1997 Chevrolet Dually truck towing two cars on a trailer was coming down the Beech Mountain Parkway at 10:20 a.m. when the cars disconnected from the trailer and struck two other cars along the road, including one drive by Cross.

Cross, who lived in Fish Hawk Trails in Lithia, owned a summer residence in Banner Elk, N.C., with his wife, Sandy.

Cross was the only fatality in the crash.

Cross is responsible for the development of the Fish Hawk Trails community on Lithia-Pinecrest Road and helped launch the 1988 Development of Regional Impact that would become FishHawk Ranch,

Cross was born in Indiana and moved to the area in the 1960s, working for Tampa developer Hinks Shimberg.

In 1975, Cross and Shimberg formed the Tampa development company Shimberg Cross Co.

Shimberg and Cross begin began their venture, selling 163 single-family lots in Temple Terrace. Afterward, they developed Keystone Manors, Magdeline Manors, Lake Maureen and Lake Ellen Woods.

In the mid-1980s, the company began to see more housing activity on the east side of the county and began concentrating on projects in Brandon and along the Interstate 75 corridor.

Then the company turned its attention toward developing the thousands of acres south of the Alafia River that would become Fish Hawk Trails and FishHawk Ranch.

In the 1980s, Cross announced his plan to build a 400-home luxury residential development on a former ranch in Lithia that, at the time, seemed far out in the country.

During the 1990s, Cross turned the former ranch into Fish Hawk Trails, a gated community featuring luxury homes built around a six miles of natural trails.

In an interview with The Brandon News, Cross said the development of Fish Hawk Trails was a personal mission. Not only was it the place he intended to call home but he said he wanted to create a community that was in harmony with the surrounding environment. 

Once Fish Hawk Trails was under way, FishHawk Communities Limited Partnership, a joint venture of Genstar Land Co. of San Diego and Shimberg Cross, began developing the 3,000-acre master-planned FishHawk Ranch community in 1997, featuring 30 miles of nature trails, parks and 2,000 acres of preserved conservation lands. The property is now owned by Newland Communities

"We were really the first developers in the area that considered all aspects of development, including how it would affect the environment," said Hinks Shimberg from his vacation home in Maine.

"Glen believed very strongly in protecting the environment," said Shimberg. "It was really one of his priorities."

A softspoken man, Cross is described by friends and co-workers as someone with unwaivering ethics and a strong commitment to the community.

"He got along with everybody, and everybody respected him. He didn't talk much but, when he said something, people listened," said Shimberg. "He talked with meaning."

Shimberg believes Cross' legacy is his determination "to do things right -- to be honest, be forthright and respect all aspects of development, including the environment."

Upon getting word of Cross' death on Tuesday, tributes began pouring in.

"I cherish the memories I have of having had the pleasure and honor to have worked with Glen," said Lynn Langowski of Valrico.

"Words can never express how wonderful a mentor Glenn was to me," said Jeff Reynolds of Lithia. "I will always remember his desire to make everyone better around him."


Christopher Cross July 26, 2012 at 01:30 AM
He was an honest man. One of the few people I truly admired and respected. The world lost a good man and God has a wonderful helper. My love to his family. Chris C
Jan Dunlap July 26, 2012 at 02:06 PM
We have lost a visionary in our community. Glen was an honest and forthright man that always seemed to go the "extra mile" for our community of Riverview when we needed his help. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers will remain with his lovely wife Sandy and their children as they face this difficult time. Jan D
Lady Dena September 16, 2012 at 03:46 AM
My heart goes out to Glen's wife and family! He was an innovator and brought so much to the betterment of our community! He was a good man! I will keep his family in my prayers!


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