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!

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.  


[Update of the 10-4-2016 Notice] 

The City of Lakeland’s Wastewater Utility reports an air relief valve on the pipeline connecting Glendale Wastewater Plant to the Wetlands Treatment System has failed.  The location of the leak was in the vicinity of 6150 Lakeland Highlands Road.

It is important to note this pipeline does not carry raw wastewater.  The flow is treated and disinfected water being moved from Glendale Wastewater Plant to the Wetlands Treatment System for final removal of nitrogen and phosphorous before reuse or discharge.

The rate of flow was estimated at 10 to 15 gallons per minute for a duration of 1.5 to 2 hours.  The quantity could range from 900 to 1800 gallons.  The most likely estimate of 1,125 gallons was reported to DEP and the State Warning Point on Tuesday.  The failed valve is now isolated and will be replaced shortly.  The pipeline remains in service.

From the point of release, the water flowed into a County-owned storm drain and was conveyed to a retention pond in the vicinity of 2300 E. County Road 540A.

The waters released were treated to more than secondary standards and disinfected prior to entering the pipeline.  Waters of this quality have been routinely discharged under permit across Florida.  This, coupled with the small volume involved, makes this event of no risk to the general public and of minuscule environmental impact.

RULE 62ER16-01

Any owner or operator of any installation who has knowledge of any pollution at such installation shall provide notice of the pollution as follows:

(1) Within 24 hours of the occurrence of any incident at an installation resulting in pollution, or the discovery of pollution, the owner or operator shall notify the Department and the following persons, in writing, of such pollution: 

(a) The mayor, the chair of the county commission, or the comparable senior elected official representing the affected area.

(b) The city manager, the county administrator, or the comparable senior official representing the affected area.

(c) The general public by providing notice to local broadcast television affiliates and a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the contamination.

(2) Within 48 hours of the occurrence of any incident at an installation resulting in pollution, or the discovery of pollution, the owner or operator shall notify the Department and persons identified in (1)(a) through (1)(c), in writing, of any potentially affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation, and the potential risk to the public health, safety, or welfare.

(3) Within 24 hours of becoming aware of pollution from an installation that has affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation, the owner or operator shall notify, in writing, the property owner of any affected area, the Department, and the persons identified in (1)(a) through (1)(b).

(4) Such notification to the Department shall be accomplished by submitting an email to

(5) Failure to provide this notification shall be considered a violation and subject to penalties for purposes of Section 403.161, Florida Statutes.

Original Post:

Per new state guidelines any owner or operator of any installation that has knowledge of any pollution shall provide notice of the pollution and contact the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The new rule (62ER16-01) took effect this past week and is detailed below. 

Based on the rule, the City of Lakeland Wastewater Utility is reporting that an air relief valve on the pipeline connecting Glendale Wastewater Plant to the wetlands final treatment facility has failed. A yet to be determined amount of treated and disinfected wastewater was released to storm sewers on Lakeland Highland Road. The City was first made aware of the situation at approximately 09:45 am. City crews were able to close an isolation valve on the ARV assembly once we were able to take the pressure off of the line. The release of treated effluent was at a rate of approximately 10 to 15 gallons per minute for about one hour. At 10:50 am the DEP was notified of the issue as required by permit. 

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.”



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

The City of Lakeland has scheduled a Public Meeting regarding a proposed cycle track along New York Avenue, from W Main Street to W Lime Street. This project will include the following elements as part of the project design: 

  1. Modification of New York Avenue to include a two-way “cycle track” in the existing southbound lane, limiting vehicular traffic on New York Avenue to one-way northbound only
  2. Construction of a traffic separator between the bicycle lanes and northbound vehicular traffic
  3. Construction of streetscape, to include paver sidewalk and decorative street lighting along the west side of New York Avenue between W Main Street and W Orange Street.
  4. Conversion of the New York Avenue at W Lemon Street and New York Avenue at W Orange Street intersections from North-South stop-control to East-West stop-control
  5. Construction of an eight-foot wide pathway on the north side of Lime Street between Sikes Boulevard and S New York Avenue
  6. Enhanced landscaping along the north side of W Orange Street between the Sikes Boulevard on-ramp and S New York Avenue

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm in the City of Lakeland Commissioners' Chambers, located at 228 S Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33803.

This public meeting is being conducted to present the 60% design and to obtain input from elected and appointed officials, property owners/tenants, business owners/operators, and other interested parties. It will be conducted in an open-house format beginning at 6:00 pm. City Planners and Engineering Staff will be available to discuss the project, receive input, and answer questions. Display boards and other visual aids depicting the project will be available.

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, or family status. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 286.26, Florida Statutes, persons with disabilities needing special accommodation to participate in this proceeding, or those requiring language assistance (free of charge) should contact the City of Lakeland ADA Coordinator, no later than forty-eight (48) hours prior to the proceeding, at (863) 834-8447, Email: If hearing impaired, please contact the TDD numbers: Local – (863) 834-8333 or (800) 955-8771 (TDD – Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) or the Florida Relay Service Number (800) 955-8770 (VOICE), for assistance.

Please visit the City of Lakeland Public Works website at for more information regarding this project. Design-related information may be obtained by contacting the City of Lakeland Project Manager, Ron Laubach, P.E., at the contact information below.

For additional updates, follow the City of Lakeland Facebook page.


Ron Laubach, P.E. | 863/834-6031 |