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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!


PRESS CONFERENCE

ANNOUNCING 160+ ACRE REGIONAL PARK

 

WHO: Local philanthropists including Barnett Family, David Bunch and former Parks & Recreation Director Bill Tinsley 

 

WHAT: Event to introduce 160+ Acre privately-funded regional park

 

WHERE: Property includes former CSX railyard bordered by Lake Bonnet, Kathleen Road, Memorial Boulevard and George Jenkins Boulevard. Press Conference attendees will enter park from North Webster Avenue (720 N. Webster Ave). There will way finding signage off George Jenkins Boulevard to assist participants with direction.

 

WHEN: Wednesday, February 8th at 11 a.m.

 

WHY: Two former industrial areas being mitigated to create regional urban park with numerous amenities that include: walking trails, multiple play areas, amphitheater, botanical gardens and public art displays.


LAKELAND, FL (February 6, 2017) - The media is invited to a press conference to introduce the vision and name of a 160+ acre regional park.  This park will be situated within 200 acres of assembled property that includes the former CSX Railyard, the former Florida Tile industrial site and the adjoining historical parcels that once occupied this tract of land.  Local visionaries including the Barnett Family (Barney, Carol, Wesley and Nicholas), longtime Lakeland commercial real estate broker David Bunch along with former City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Director Bill Tinsley have quietly assembled the property to bring the vision of a regional urban park to life.  

 

This property has over one mile of lake front, features oak hammocks with grandfather oaks, a small spring and a natural setting for an amphitheater. A great deal of work has already been done and the media is invited to hear the vision and tour this great fantastic piece of land. “Lakeland needs an incredible green space to improve its residents’ lives by bringing them closer to nature. This park will provide visitors with an educational experience and there will be multiple avenues for family enjoyment and entertainment,” said  Barney Barnett. “The City of Lakeland has built an incredible park system but this new endeavor will be like nothing our residents and visitors have ever seen here, both in scale and possibility.” 

 

The current plan is to restore the two industrial land areas and enable them to return to a productive use. The former Florida Tile site -which is not planned as part of the park - will be cleaned up, revitalized and reintroduced to the market place as a high density, quality mixed-use development comparable with the proposed park to support Lakeland’s downtown needs.  Proceeds from the sale of this development will be put back into the regional park project.  Proposed plans for the regional park include nature trails, an amphitheater, multiple playground areas, historically-themed areas, a miniature train, botanical gardens, bike paths, public art displays and much more. The park is slated to open by 2020. 


LAKELAND, FL (September 28, 2016) | The City of Lakeland Parks Division will be on Lake Morton at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 18th for the 36th Annual Swan Roundup. Parks & Recreation employees will be carefully gathering the swans to get them ready for their annual veterinary check-up. The swans will be confined in large holding pens on the south side of the lake for their annual wellness examinations that will start the morning of October 19th at 7:30 a.m. with Patricia Mattson, DVM. The Annual Swan Round-Up allows the City’s Parks and Recreation Department to closely monitor the health and vitality of Lakeland’s swan population.
The original swans on Lake Morton were donated by Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom in 1957. As Lakeland’s swan flock grew, it became paramount to give the regal birds an annual health check so the Swan Roundup began in 1980 and has continued every year since then. The swans were first cared for by veterinarian (emeritus) and original "Swanvet" W.G. Gardner. His dedication to the flock carries on with Dr. Mattson.

Dr. Mattson has 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine. She the owner of Companion Animal Hospital a full service facility that provides general medical care, preventive medical care, vaccinations, health certificates, caesarean section, diagnostic services, on-site kennel, on-site laboratory testing, flea control, dietary counseling, spay/neuter, declawing, radiology, general surgery, dentistry, emergency services, microchipping, pharmacy services and boarding.

Dr. Patricia Mattson who donates her time as Lakeland’s official swan veterinarian recently shared her report on Lake Morton’s swans after their last annual physical. Mattson said, “The swans are consuming too much white bread and the heavy gluten diet with very little nutritional value is taking a toll on Lakeland’s swan population.” She added, “Many of the swans have a calcium deficiency because they feast on bleached white bread and this is just one of the items that will be reviewed during the swans annual health checkup.”

Bob Donahay, Director of Parks & Recreation said, “The Lake Morton swans are a community icon and families have been interacting with the birds for decades. It is very important to us to make sure our Lakeland flock is doing well so we schedule the Swan Roundup each year with the primary purpose to check on the health of our birds.” He added, “People may not realize but the Parks Department actually has a line item in our budget for swan food and upkeep. It costs about $10,000 per year to feed and care for Lakeland’s domestic swans and we really appreciate Dr. Mattson donating her time to care for our flock.”

 

CONTACT:

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


LAKELAND, FL (September 14, 2016) - The Simpson Park Community Center (1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue) will host a FREE Lakeland Health and Wellness Fair on September 24th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. All ages are invited. There will be health information for men and women including FREE health screenings and FREE food.

Health professionals from Lakeland Regional Health and Keiser University on hand who will lead workshops on healthy living topics that include:

  • Prostate Cancer and knowing your numbers
  • BMI and blood pressure              
  • Zumba
  • CuRobics    

The Lakeland Health and Wellness Fair is sponsored by Lakeland Regional Health, Coca-Cola, Keiser University and the City of Lakeland.  Participants at the health fair can learn more about how to live a healthy lifestyle that includes regular check-ups, health screenings and regular exercise.  


Watch our big announcement on Facebook Live here!


LAKELAND, FL (August 25, 2016) - The City of Lakeland is very pleased to announce that Lakeland Senior Living, LLC d/b/a Lake Gibson Village has donated an 18-acre parcel of land south of Carpenter’s Way to the City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department. The 18-acre parcel, valued at $2.25 million will be developed into a neighborhood park.  Evangel Christian School used a portion of the complex and the sports fields until it closed in 2006. The existing fields have been vacant and in dire need of maintenance ever since. 

Lake Gibson Village purchased the vacant Without Walls Church property and surrounding 66 acres to develop Lake Gibson Village Senior Living Community. Phase one of the development includes the restoration of the former historic Carpenters Home, which has been transformed into 142 independent senior living apartments with many of the original architectural details preserved.  Residents will begin moving in this month.  Phase two, which is currently in the early stages of development, will include new construction of separate assisted living and memory care buildings as well as additional independent living residences. 

“We are excited about the City’s plans for the property and happy that the planned amenities will be enjoyed by the entire community,” said Renee Tucker, CEO of Lake Gibson Village and spokesperson for the owners.

City Manager Tony Delgado said, “Earlier in the year, Lake Gibson Village agreed to lease the sports fields to the City of Lakeland for $1 per year.  This local agreement started dialogue for something much bigger and now we are excited to share, not only a generous gift but our vision of a neighborhood park.”

Bob Donahay, City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Director said, “This site is a prime piece of real estate and we have big plans for the property. The City of Lakeland really does appreciate the generous donation that will allow us to add to our park inventory without the costly expense of purchasing land.” He added, “Once we build it out, the 18-acre parcel will be a great amenity for the neighborhood that will house two multi-purpose fields with permanent lighting, a walking path, a modular playground and a dog park.  We also have plans for concessions and restrooms so one day we can host youth sports leagues at the facility.”

“This is a win-win and the City of Lakeland is extremely grateful that we have partners like Lake Gibson Village that care about the well-being of the community, enough to donate park land valued at $2.25 million,” said Delgado. “We plan on building a much needed park facility that the surrounding neighborhood will enjoy and the sports fields will allow us to address the immediate needs of youth sports programs.”

The City of Lakeland was incorporated January 1885 and has grown to become on of the largest inland communities in Florida.  With a current population over 100,000 Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years.  With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor.  The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 110 years ago.  To learn more about the City of Lakeland, please visit www.lakelandgov.net.

CONTACT:

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

Twitter @lakelandgov | FB @CityofLakeland