City News Blog


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City of Lakeland
City of Lakeland
City of Lakeland's Blog


LAKELAND, FL (March 2, 2011) – The City of Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department is offering an exciting way for teens, ages 10-15, to fill their spring break with a week full of water adventures.

Club Splash Aquatics Camp includes fun packed days full of splishing and splashing as teens spend days on the beach, visit water parks and enjoy tubing in the springs.  The camp will run from March 14 – March 18th . Each day will start at 7:30 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. Club Splash Spring break is based out of Gandy Pool.

Reserve a spot early to count on having a splash this spring break. The one week camp costs $90.00 per person.

For further information call the Gandy Pool at 863-834-3157.

“Accessibility is key to local government and the Mornings with the Mayor program allows residents to express their views, ask questions and provide feedback on issues of concern.”

Mayor Gow Fields invites local residents to attend the next Mornings with the Mayor event. These informal sessions take place over breakfast with the next event taking place Friday, March 25, 2011 at Fred’s Southern Kitchen (2120 Harden Boulevard Lakeland, FL).  The event will start at 7:30 a.m.  Mayor Fields will make his remarks and take questions from the audience during breakfast. 


Mayor Fields said, “Accessibility is one of the keys to local government and Mornings with the Mayor provides the opportunity for our citizens to share their views, ask questions and provide feedback on issues that are directly affecting them.” He added, “Our first four events were very successful with about 40 residents attending each event.  I look forward to spending valuable face to face time with our residents listening to the concerns that they feel are facing our community.”


This program allows residents an informal and comfortable forum in which to meet with the Mayor to talk about issues, ask questions, voice concerns and offer comments or suggestions.  Mayor Fields said, “It’s also an excellent way for us to gather candid feedback about how people feel things are going in our City; what amenities they particularly enjoy, areas they feel could use improvement, or what they’d like to see in the future.”


Fred’s Southern Kitchen has reserved a private dining area for the event.  The restaurant features a breakfast buffet as well as menu items.


LAKELAND, FL (February 24, 2011) - We are truly disappointed in Governor Rick Scott’s decision to return federal high speed rail funding before allowing us the opportunity to hear the valuable feedback needed to make a sound business decision from those that would operate and maintain the system.

We were counting on not only the vendor operators but other members in the private sector to deploy their innovation, technology and capital investments in our state to help us resolve our long term transportation challenges while reducing our current over-dependence on tax payer resources.

There has been a great deal of regional visioning and substantial research work through business and citizen led groups such as of the Central Florida Partnership and One Bay of the Tampa Bay Partnership.  They have engaged citizens and leaders from throughout 14 counties spanning across the "I-4 Corridor" and transportation concerns are salient through this collaborative research.

In order for us to remain competitive in the future, maintain a great quality of life, attract tourists and provide an environment where businesses can grow and prosper, Florida can’t continue doing what we have always done in our transportation infrastructure delivery.

It is time for a new way of thinking.  The United States is known as the innovators around the globe.  However, we are the only industrialized country in the world that does not have high speed rail.  This was our chance to showcase Florida with the technological advances in transportation with a public/private partnership that would assist the growth and development needs of our state. 

There were a number of key players that came together to address the Governor’s concerns regarding subsidies and ridership numbers. I think we sufficiently addressed the issues responsibly and in concert with the business community.  I would like to personally thank all those parties that swiftly teamed to save high speed rail in Florida including those at the State and Federal level.  The formation of the I-4 Super Region was evident when Tampa’s Mayor Pam Iorio, Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer, Tampa City Attorney Chip Fletcher, special counsel to Orlando Bill Peebles and Lakeland’s team all came together proving that communities can bond for a common cause.  The group helped draft an agreement that would create an independent agency that would ultimately transfer all operational and ownership risks to the private firm that was the successful bidder for the high speed rail project.

Once again, we are disappointed and a number of people including FDOT factually met the issues raised by Governor Scott that would shift liability to the owner/operator of the system. The challenge of efficiently moving people and goods in our state is still there and we will need to continue working together toward a common goal in making Florida the best place to live, work and play. 

In a news conference earlier today (February 16th) Governor Rick Scott announced that he was rejecting federal funding for Florida high speed rail.   In his prepared statement Scott said he was making good on campaign promises reducing the size and scope of government.  He listed three main economic realities as the reason for rejecting the federal funding.

First – capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

Second – ridership and revenue projections are historically overly optimistic and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur. (From $300 million - $575 million over 10 years). The state subsidizes Tri-Rail $34.6 million a year while passenger revenues covers only $10.4 million of the $64 million annual operating budget.

Finally – if the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds to D.C.

Mayor Gow Fields reacted with a statement of disappointment.  He said, “I really believe we would have a better economic case after we went through the request for proposal and got to hear from the private sector that would be operating the system.” He added, “Making a decision before then is a true disappointment but high speed rail is not dead forever.” 

Fields said that HSR does have a chance in Florida because we need to grow smartly and provide for the people and businesses in this state.  “Someone else in the country is going to show how high speed rail will work in their community and I guess then we will strongly consider it in Florida,” Fields said.