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!

Fletcher Park at Lake Bonny Dedication

Ralph L. “Buddy" Fletcher Recognized for Years of Service

WHAT: Fletcher Park at Lake Bonny Dedication

WHERE: Lakeland City Hall located at 228 South Massachusetts Avenue

WHEN: Monday, December 21st at 9 a.m.

WHO: Ralph L. “Buddy" Fletcher

WHY: To recognize Ralph L. “Buddy" Fletcher for his 20 years as member of the Lakeland City Commission

LAKELAND, FL (December 16, 2015) - The City of Lakeland will dedicate Fletcher Park at Lake Bonny as a way to recognize Ralph L. “Buddy" Fletcher for his 20 years of service on the Lakeland City Commission.  Fletcher will be in attendance for the ceremony that will include a proclamation and the unveiling of the plaque/signage that will welcome those visiting Fletcher Park.

Fletcher retired in 2009 after serving 16 years as Mayor.  He was first elected into office in 1989 as a City Commissioner and in 1993 he became Mayor.  During his tenure, Fletcher was a huge proponent for downtown and he was instrumental in the revitalization of Lake Mirror into a showcase destination.  Fletcher could often be overheard describing downtown Lakeland as the living room of the community as a way to emphasize the importance of a vital downtown.  In 1989, when elected to office he campaigned and vowed to resurrect a blighted downtown area.  During his 20 years of service, almost $500 million in public/private funding was invested into downtown projects.  

Fletcher Park at Lake Bonny offers many outdoor opportunities. There is a 1.3 mile walking trail that offers views of Lake Bonny and walking dock access. There are two ball fields, one softball field, one multi-purpose fields, two play grounds for children of different ages (age appropriate sizes) and a premier skate park located on over 113 acres. 

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  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



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 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 to purchase tickets.  The Friday night show is presented by the City of Lakeland and all seats during this show are general admission.  

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 


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.