City News Blog


This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

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

LAKELAND, FL (October 13, 2016) | BULLETIN: P16– 051 | The Lakeland Police Department will host their 12th Annual Open House on Saturday, October 15th from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This year’s event, focused on “See Something. Say Something”, will feature a scavenger hunt and the first public unveiling of the department’s new MRAP Rescue Vehicle. 

This FREE event gives citizens the opportunity to go behind the scenes with Lakeland’s finest. During this fun-filled family day, you can meet members of the SWAT team, take a peek inside LPD’s mobile command center, see the armored rescue vehicle up close and check out the K-9 team in action! There will be tours of the police station beginning at 10:30 a.m. and running until 1:30 p.m. These tours include the Crime Lab, Communications Center and the Emergency Operations Center.

The Community Services Unit will be doing bicycle helmet fittings and giving away free helmets to children. Plenty of children’s activities, live entertainment and free hot dogs and popcorn make for a guaranteed good time! So gather your family, friends and neighbors and come out and enjoy a day with the Lakeland Police Department.

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583.2357.


Robin Tillett, Media Relations | Lakeland Police Department | 863/834-2963

Lakeland, FL (October 11, 2016) | Donald Trump is set to appear at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport’s Sheltair Hangar, 3440 Airfield Drive West, at 3 p.m. Wednesday, October 12. The doors are scheduled to open at noon. 

The Lakeland Police Department will be assisting the U.S. Secret Service with security, assisting with the traffic flow and crowd control. There will be numerous Magnetometer checkpoints and the U.S. Secret Service advised the below listed items will not be allowed:

  • Firearm of any type
  • Weapon of any type
  • Hazardous materials
  • Chemical materials
  • Radiological materials
  • Biological materials
  • Knives (of any kind)
  • Toy guns / toy weapons
  • Fireworks
  • Pepper spray / mace
  • Scissors
  • Razor blades
  • Needles
  • Leatherman brand tools (or similar)
  • Screwdrivers (or similar)
  • Glass bottles
  • Tripods
  • Coolers
  • Air-horns
  • Laser pointers
  • Aerosol containers
  • Soda cans
  • Sticks / poles
  • Baseballs, softballs, etc
  • Produce (depends on event)
  • Umbrellas (depends on event)

The Lakeland Police Department recognizes and respects everyone's right to express their First Amendment, and we will do everything possible to ensure the event is safe for all attendees and surrounding neighborhoods. Expect security to be heavy and visible as the Lakeland Police Department will have a large presence at the rally. People coming to the event, living or working near the airport should expect delays and plan alternate modes of transportation.

The temperature is expected to be 85 degrees tomorrow so please take precautionary measures to avoid the harmful effects of dehydration, including the following:

  • Drink plenty of fluids beforehand
  • Make sure you are taking in more fluid than you are losing.
  • Drink appropriate sports drinks to help maintain electrolyte balance.
  • Dress appropriately for the elements.

Parking Information

The Lakeland Linder Regional Airport will be closing Don Emerson Drive to all thru traffic for pedestrian safety at 10:00am. Those attending the event will enter the parking lots via Airfield Ct. E. at the intersection of Drane Field Road. There will be two trams looping through the parking lot. There is limited handicap parking. Based on the number of expected attendees the lots should fill quickly. Once they reach capacity the lots will be closed and all additional traffic will be turned away.


Protestors will be directed to a designated area off of Don Emerson Drive across from the Hilton Garden Inn.

Additional Info

These plans are fluid and subject to change depending on conditions and as we learn more. We will be doing our best to communicate this event to surrounding businesses and the public so please follow our social media sites for updates throughout the day tomorrow

Media inquiries should be directed to (863) 583-2357.

The City of Lakeland’s Waste Water Department is reporting at approximately 8,000 gallons of raw wastewater was exposed in a retention ditch and possibly downstream including Anglers Lake when a ditch bank collapsed exposing a long length of force main.  The unsupported pipe separated causing waste water to spill.  The spill happened at 10:30 am on Sunday, October 9th behind 1610 Reynolds Road (lot 337) in the Skyview area. The pipe was repaired at 2 p.m. and a long-term fix is being implemented. 

See report below sent to DEP. 

Name of Reporting Party:  Robert Conner

Installation Name:  City of Lakeland – Water Utilities – Wastewater

Installation Address:  1825 Glendale Street

Installation Location:  Lakeland FL

Contact Person for Further Information:  Robert Conner, Rick Ruede

Permit Number (if facility/installation holds a permit):  FL0039772

Date and Time of the Incident or Discovery:  A pipe section pulled apart and was leaking from 10:30 AM on October 9th and was stopped and repaired at 2:00 PM that afternoon.

Location of the Incident or Discovery: Behind 1610 Reynolds Rd (Lot 337), Lakeland FL (Skyview)

Suspected Source and Cause of Incident or Discovery:  The ditch bank collapse exposed a long length of force main.  Once unsupported by soil, a joint between two pieces of pipe separated.

Type of Pollution, Including Substance or Contaminant Name(s):  Raw wastewater

Amount of Pollution, Including Substance or Contaminant Name(s):  8000 gallons

Medium (e.g. land, water, air) affected by pollution: Water

Potentially affected areas beyond installation property boundary:  Ditch & downstream waters including Anglers’ Lake

Potential Risk to the Public Health, Safety, or Welfare:  People should refrain from swimming in the affected waters until testing can be completed.  Polk County Environmental Services is doing the testing.

Identification of Other Parties Notified of Incident and Time Notification Occurred:  State Warning Point called at 3:48 PM.  Incident number 2016-7799 

Any Other Information That May Be Helpful:  Long-term repairs are being worked out.


Kevin Cook, Director of Communications | | 863/834-6264

LAKELAND STORM TRACKER | Live Updates & Alerts, Hurricane Tracks, Lightning Zones, Time Lapse, Satellite and Service Territory


As of the Friday 8 a.m. update, the National Hurricane Center says Matthew is located near latitude 28.9 North, longitude 80.3 West.  The eye of the storm is about 35 miles NE of Cape Canaveral.  Matthew is now a Category 3 Hurricane.   The storm is moving north-northwest at 13 mph and a turn toward the north is expected tonight or Saturday. On he forecast track, the center of Hurricane Matthew will be moving near or over the east coast of the Florida peninsula through tonight and near the coast of Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday.

The City of Lakeland is reporting normal operations with very little related to storm issues. 

Lakeland Electric

Lakeland Electric reported one work order effecting four units and power to those units has already been restored. 

In preparation for a storm, Lakeland Electric would like customers to know that when an outage occurs, thanks to Smart Meter technology, Lakeland Electric is notified within seconds of approximately 90% of all outages with the help of this technology and action to resolve the outage begins immediately. However, Lakeland Electric customers are still encouraged to call (863) 834-4248 if they lose power. 

Outage Notifications

Customers can sign up for Outage Notifications online.  With these notifications, customers can receive texts or emails advising that their power was interrupted and a follow-up text or email notification that power has been restored. To sign up for outage notifications and to view an interactive outage map, please visit

Downed Power Lines

Lakeland area residents should know that due to the recent wet weather, the ground is saturated in many areas. In fact, during the last two months Lakeland has received over 20” of rain.  Matthew is expected to deliver additional rainfall making trees more susceptible to being uprooted. When trees fall, the potential for outages increases as trees can cause direct damage to the power system, as well as to our customer’s homes and other personal property. 

Remember, do not approach downed power lines. It is important to remember that all downed lines should be considered energized and dangerous.

Citizen's Information Line

The Citizen’s Information Line can be reached at (863) 401-2234 (locally) or toll-free (863) 661-0228.

Polk County Emergency Management will activate their Citizen’s Information Line on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 7:00 am to answer Hurricane Matthew-related questions. It will be staffed until 11:00 p.m. on Thursday, and again on Friday. Further updates will be provided as conditions change.

Information is also available on PGTV (Bright House 644, Comcast 5 or Verizon 20).

Sandbag Fill Sites

Polk County has a list of sandbag fill sites that can be found at here.  The three nearest to the City of Lakeland are:

Polk County Schools


Polk County Public Schools are closed Thursday,  October 6th and Friday, October 7th.  The City of Lakeland offices and facilities will remain open on Thursday, October 6th and the situation will be monitored and a decision will be made if City buildings will remain open on Friday. 


Private and charter schools closing Thursday and Friday include Magnolia Montesssori Academy, McKeel Academy, All Saints Academy, Lakeland Christian School, Victory Christian Academy, Resurrection Academy, Solutions Academy, and WonderHere.


Florida Polytechnic has cancelled all classes for both Thursday and Friday. University administrative services will remain open Thursday, and a decision will be made at noon about administrative closures on Thursday afternoon and evening.

Florida Southern College has cancelled all classes and events beginning at 4:00 pm today, Thursday, October 6, and continuing through Friday, October 7, and Saturday, October 8. Throughout this period, all student services will remain available, including dining services.

Florida Technical College has cancelled classes Thursday and Friday.

Polk State College will close at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, and will reopen on Monday, Oct. 10. Classes that begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday have been canceled.  All classes and activities will be cancelled during these times.

Southeastern University classes are cancelled beginning 4 p.m. Thursday through the weekend. University offices are closed Friday. Also, soccer and volleyball matches are postponed.


All Lakeland City offices and services that are not involved in critical and/or emergency service operations will remain closed today, Friday, October 7th.  Polk County is currently under a Tropical Storm Warning and may be impacted with sustained 40 to 55 mph winds for an extended period of time Thursday night and most of Friday. Any western movement in the storm overnight could possibly intensify the impacts to our area.  

Public safety operations, utility services and those employees deemed to be essential to emergency operations and restoration (following the storm) will continue to administer these necessary operations and prepare for specific restoration deployments as the storm passes.  The Polk County EOC We will be moving to a Level 1 Full Activation this afternoon and will maintain the 24-hour operations until at least Saturday morning.  For reference, Governor Scott has already closed all State offices in Polk County for Thursday and Friday.

Citrus Connection 

Citrus Connection will suspend all transit service as a result of the effects on Polk County from Hurricane Matthew.
All final departure times for Citrus Connection, Winter Have Area Transit, Lynx buses (Routes 416, 427 and 603) and paratransit trips will occur by 3:30 p.m. today allowing passengers to complete their trip. Citrus Connection will be shutting down for the day at 6:30 p.m.

There will be no service on Friday. Service is anticipated to return on Saturday. More details will be shared as the storm passes.

Citrus Connection staff will monitor the effects of the storm and will keep the community up-to-date as the storm passes through the area via:


Code Enforcement hearing scheduled for Friday, October 7, 2016 has been canceled. All cases on the agenda for this hearing have been rescheduled to Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. Please direct questions to the Code Enforcement Office at (863) 834-6251.


All libraries will will close on Thursday, October 6th at 6 pm and remain closed until Saturday, October 8th.

Parks & Recreation

In addition to the closing of City offices and non-essential operations tomorrow, City Parks, Recreation Centers and the City Library will close today, Thursday, October 6th at 6 p.m. All off the scheduled outdoor and indoor programs a have already been cancelled for this evening.

(Circle B Bar Reserve, run by Polk County, will close at 2 pm Thursday and will reopen on Tuesday, October 11th.  Circle B is not accepting new campers at any Polk County campgrounds.)

Solid Waste

Solid Waste collection has also been suspended for tomorrow and those routes normally collected on Fridays will be rescheduled for Saturday, October 8th pickup.   

(Polk County Solid Waste Friday pickup has been postponed until Saturday.)


The Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) County offices that are not involved in critical and/or emergency services will be closed at 2:00 p.m., today and will remain closed on Friday.  Polk County is currently under a Tropical Storm Warning and may be impacted with sustained 40 to 55 mph winds for an extended period of time Thursday night and most of Friday.  

Polk County will be moving to a Level 1 Full Activation at the Polk County EOC this afternoon and will maintain the 24-hour operations until at least Saturday morning.  The Chairman of the Polk County BoCC has signed a "Declaration of Local State of Emergency" in accordance with County Ordinance 05-041 this morning. This declaration will provide staff with the authority to take the necessary actions to protect and provide for our citizens and communities during this hurricane response and recovery operation. The declaration is in effect for 7 days and can be renewed if required.



Boys and Girls Clubs are closed Thursday and Friday.


First Friday, hosted by the Downtown Lakeland Partnership, has been cancelled.  Elements from the October First Friday will be carried over to the November First Friday.  Exhibitors who registered with Eventbrite will receive an email with further instructions. 


The Lakeland Center’s Classic Albums Live “Physical Graffiti” concert scheduled for Friday has been postponed until Oct. 14. See details.


Closed on Saturday, October 8th


The Polk Museum of Art will be closed Thursday and Friday.  The schedule lecture by George Lowe lecture will be postponed.


Before heading out, please call the business or restaurant that you plan on visiting, as they may not be on our list.  

  • Black & Brew Coffee House & Bistro | Closed Friday; will reopen Saturday
  • Bella Visage Medical Rejuvenation | Closed Friday; will reopen Saturday
  • The Juice Box | North Location - Closed Thursday and Friday | South Location - Closed Thursday at 2 pm and Friday
  • MidFlorida Credit Union | Closed Thursday afternoon; will reopen Tuesday, October 11th
  • Two Hens & A Hound on So Ken | Closed Friday; will reopen Saturday 


U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross‘ local office is closed Thursday and Friday. The Washington office is open and can be reached at (202) 225-1252.


Watson Clinic is closing all locations on Friday.


All Lakeland YMCA facilities will be closing Thursday at 4pm and will remain closed all day Friday.

After School Childcare, on-sight and at the school site, and VPK will be closed Thursday and Friday.


Lakeland Electric 

General (7:30 am - 8:00 pm): (863) 834-9535

Outages/Emergencies: (863) 834-4248 

Lakeland Fire Department

Emergency: 911

Non-Emergency: (863) 834-8200


Lakeland Police Department

Emergency: 911

Non-Emergency: (863) 834-6900


Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center (Hospital)

Main: (863) 687-1100


Polk County Emergency Management

(863) 534-5600


TECO People's Gas: Customer Service

Customer Service: (877) 832-6747

Gas Leaks/Emergencies: (877) 832-6747 

Water Utilities

Customer Service: (863) 834-9535

Broken Water Mains & Problems (M-F, 7:30 am - 4:30 pm): (863) 834-4248 

After Hours/Weekends: (863) 834-4248

City Updates

Follow the City of Lakeland on Facebook and Twitter and share your storm-related photos and information to help keep the community informed. 

For more information please visit

[ORIGINAL POST: October 5, 2016; 2:30 PM] – Hurricane Matthew’s projected path continues to bring the storm closer to Florida. Governor Rick Scott issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in every county within the state of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Matthew. Governor Scott said, “Hurricane Matthew is a slow-moving, very strong storm and while the path may not directly hit parts of the state, we all need to prepare.”

As of the 2 p.m. update on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center says Matthew is located near latitude 22.1 North, longitude 75.3 West. The storm is currently moving northwest at 12 mph with max sustained winds clocked at 120 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecasted over the next few days but the storm is expected to remain a Category 3 hurricane. This motion is expected to continue during the next 24 – 48 hours. On this track, Matthew will be moving across the Bahamas through Thursday and is expected to be very near the east coast of Florida by Thursday evening. Polk County can expect Tropical Storm force winds between 40-55 mph starting late Thursday evening and all day Friday.