City News Blog

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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!


Powered by Zagster, Swan City Cycles Bike Share Launches in Lakeland
35 cruiser bikes at 7 stations make getting around fun, healthy and affordable

LAKELAND, FL/CAMBRIDGE, MA. (December 16, 2015) -  Zagster and the City of Lakeland have partnered to bring Swan City Cycles — a public bike sharing program. There will be a dedication ceremony on Friday, December 18th at 11 a.m. at the Munn Park location in downtown Lakeland.  Mayor Howard Wiggs and the Lakeland City Commission will be on hand to introduce the bike share program to the community.  There will be promotional material including FREE passes for your first Swan City Cycle bike share experience.

The Lakeland program includes 35 cruiser bikes that are available at seven locations around the City for riders to checkout for on-demand, local trips. Riders can become Swan City Cycle members by purchasing an annual, monthly or hourly pass. Rides for system members are free for up to an hour and a half, then $3 per hour after.  An annual pass can be purchased for $25.

The program is made possible by sponsorship from the City of Lakeland’s Community Redevelopment Authority, Lakeland Downtown Development Authority, as well as: Lakeland Vision, Citrus Connection, , Polk Museum of Art, Lake Morton Neighborhood Association, First United Methodist and Florida Southern College.

“All of us who have supported Swan City Cycles understand that having a bike sharing system is a sign of a vibrant, healthy and engaged community,” said Julie Townsend, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. “We’re committed to making Lakeland a great place to live, visit and work, and the addition of bike sharing is a great new addition to our vibrant downtown.”

Riders can join by following the instructions on the Zagster Mobile App, available for iPhone and Android, or online at http://zagster.com/lakeland.  To use the Mobile App, riders simply enter the unique ID of the bike they wish to use and an access code for the lock box is provided. Alternatively, they can text the bike ID and receive the code in return. Riders can use the code throughout the duration of their rental to lock and unlock the bike anywhere along their trip. Once the bike is returned to any of the seven Swan City Cycles locations, the touch of a button ends the rental and releases the bike for the next rider.

“This public-private partnership is a great model for bringing bike sharing to communities like Lakeland,” said Timothy Ericson, co-founder and CEO of Zagster. “Our partnership model enables cities like Lakeland to have the amenities of major metropolitan areas without the cost and complexity.”

Zagster features the Breezer Uptown, an award-winning bike known for its lightweight yet durable construction, specifically designed for cruising in comfort. All bikes come with spacious baskets perfect for carrying groceries, take out or other personal belongings. With an attached flexible lock, riders can park their bikes wherever they want during their trips, allowing for convenience and flexibility.

About Zagster 

Founded in Philadelphia in 2007 and now headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., Zagster is the leading provider of bike sharing systems across the United States. Zagster is uniquely focused on working with communities across North America to make bike sharing programs available to residents, employees, students and visitors. A unique and highly efficient model allows Zagster to offer services in areas that traditional metropolitan bike sharing system providers can't reach. More information about Gagster’s programs and impact is available at  www.zagster.com.

 

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SOUNDS OF THE SEASON – HOLIDAY MUSIC EVENT
HARRISON SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS MUSIC DEPARTMENTS PERFORM
 
LAKELAND, FL (December 14, 2015) - The City of Lakeland presents a special Sounds of the Season concert at the Harrison School for the Arts Theater on Friday, December 18th.  The show is from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Due to the threat of rain in the forecast on Friday, the event that was originally scheduled to take place at the Lake Mirror Amphitheater has been moved indoors.  Tickets for this spectacular holiday event are specially priced at $5.  Get your tickets by going to www.harrisonarts.com and click on the “tickets” button.  

Daryl Ward, Principal at Harrison School for the Arts said, “We have a very elaborate set-up for the event and with the possible threat of rain, it’s best that we make alternative plans now.” He added, “We are extremely excited to partner with the City of Lakeland and offer a special ticket price for this spectacular event and if you aren’t in the holiday mood, you certainly will be after the Sounds of the Season concert.”

The special Sounds of the Season event will be performed by various Harrison School for the Arts musical departments.  Past concerts have included selections from the chorus, the guitar department, the jazz department, and the Harrison symphony orchestra. This year's event will once again highlight music from a variety of cultures and genres, each presented for the audience in an effort to fill the evening with holiday spirit.
 
The Sounds of the Season music event will take place at Harrison School for the Arts located at 750 Hollingsworth Road. Please visit www.harrisonarts.com to purchase tickets.  The Friday night show is presented by the City of Lakeland and all seats during this show are general admission.  

LAKELAND ELECTRIC FUEL CHARGE DECREASE EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2016

LAKELAND, FL (December 7, 2015) - The Lakeland City Commission voted to decrease the fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers $3.50 per 1,000 kWh effective for meters read on or after January 4, 2016.  The new fuel charge will be $40.35 per 1,000 kWh. After listening to a presentation at the Monday, December 7th Utility Committee meeting, staff recommended a decrease to the current fuel charge based on fuel forecasts in both the natural gas and coal markets.

RESIDENTIAL RATES BASED ON 1,000 kWh

Current                                              New Rates – Effective January  1, 2016

Base Charge    $  58.85                      $  58.85 (includes environmental charges)

Fuel Charge     $  43.85                      $  40.35 (includes fuel decrease)

TOTAL:              $102.70                      $ 99.20

The base rate includes environmental compliance charges that are directly related to federal and state initiatives regarding clean air and water mandates. Most of the expenses are related to energy production and include air emission controls, water quality monitoring and capital spending for equipment necessary to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act. 

Lakeland Electric bills are broken out for customer convenience in detail to show the base charge, fuel charge and appropriate taxes and service charges.  The fuel charge on a utility bill is exactly that, the actual costs for fuel used to generate the amount of electricity used within your residence.  Most utilities subscribe to the same billing practice and break out the base rate and the fuel charge for their customers. There is no mark-up in fuel.  In fact, fuel is a straight pass-through charge to customers. 

Based on Florida Municipal Electric Association data, Lakeland Electric’s residential rates after the January 1, 2016 fuel charge decrease will be the continue to be one of the lowest in the state. Visit www.lakelandelectric.com for more information on Lakeland Electric services and visit www.publicpower.com to see residential rate comparisons.


Annual Holiday Walkabout

Tuesday, December 1st - Downtown Lakeland
This annual event in Downtown Lakeland celebrates the holidays with shopping, dining, music, horse-drawn wagon rides and more! Holiday music from many area schools and churches create a festive atmosphere. And don’t forget shopping!  If you want a gift that doesn’t say I was mass produced in a department store, then shopping in Downtown Lakeland is for you.  Stores and restaurants will be open from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

Free parking will be available at the main street garage. The public parking entrance is located on Cedar St. The Bay Street entrance is also open and can be accessed from Tennessee Ave.


35th Annual Christmas Parade

On Thursday, December 3rd the 35th Annual Christmas Parade will kick off at 7:00 pm with a fantastic fireworks display over Lake Mirror. The theme of this year’s parade - Lights of the Night...  Over 100 organizations will be participating in this year’s event. The parade will leave the Lakeland center and make its way down Lemon Street twisting and turning through Downtown Lakeland. Streets along the parade route will begin closing at 5:30 pm. Additional parking will be available after 5:00 pm in the Downtown parking garages and parking lots. </class="floatright>

So get your seat early and keep and keep an eye out for the Big guy at the end. 
View Parade Map 


Snowfest

Saturday December 5th - Munn ParkSnow will fall in Lakeland as the 35th Annual Snowfest kicks off at Munn Park from 10am – 2 pm. This year’s event will feature two traditional snow mountains, a visit from Santa Claus, children’s entertainment, inflatables and food vendors will complete the day. Price for admission to snow mountain or the snow slide will be a canned food item or a $1.00 donation. Admission to the inflatables will be $1.00 All canned food items will be donated to the Polk county Senior Orphans Charity.




Santa's Calling

Tuesday, December 8th - Deadline for forms is Monday, December 7th
Special arrangements have been made this year for Santa to phone local children from his workshop. Santa and his long distance operators will be calling elementary school children on Tuesday, December 8th from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm. To ensure your child doesn’t miss out on this exciting opportunity you must complete a Santa’s Calling form. Forms can be obtained online or picked up at any of the following facilities:

  • Kelly Recreation Complex - 404 Imperial Blvd
  • Simpson Park - 1725 MLK Jr. Ave
  • City Hall located - 228 S Massachusetts ave

All forms must be submitted by Monday, December 7th.

As you see, the City of Lakeland has plenty of fun holiday events for you season. And, from all of us at the City of Lakeland we want to wish you a Happy and Safe Holiday Season.