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!

There are six holidays that potentially impact collection schedules:  New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  See below for the upcoming holidays and how the holiday will affect your service.  You can always find the full, up-to-date Holiday collection schedule here.  


Saturday, December 24th & Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Offices will be closed Friday, December 23rd & Monday, December 26th.

No changes to normally scheduled collection days.

New Year's Day

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Offices will be closed Monday, January 2nd, 2017.

No changes to normally scheduled collection days.

Team begins play in 2017-18 season; Shelly Wilkes named Team President

Orlando, FL – The Orlando Magic and the NBA Development League announced today that the Magic has agreed to purchase the Erie BayHawks and intend to relocate the team to Lakeland, Florida, to begin play during the 2017-18 season. With the purchase, the Magic become the 17th NBA team to own and operate their NBA D-League affiliate.

Located near the heart of Central Florida, Lakeland is approximately 55 miles from downtown Orlando and approximately 35 miles from downtown Tampa. The franchise, which will be owned and operated by the Orlando Magic, will play its 24 home games at The Lakeland Center.

Season ticket deposits for the 2017-18 season are now being accepted by calling 407-447-2210 or logging on to

“When we started this process, our goal was to have our Development League team closer to home and the perfect fit for us was the City of Lakeland,” said Orlando Magic CEO and D-League Team Managing Partner Alex Martins. “Having our D-League team in Lakeland gives us the best opportunity, not only to continue developing our young players, but to extend the Orlando Magic brand across Central Florida.”

“Today's announcement not only shows the continued growth of the NBA D-League but also enables the Magic to develop players close to home and provides fans in Central Florida the opportunity to watch top NBA prospects compete,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “I’m thrilled to welcome the Magic as NBA D-League owners, and I want to thank Steve Demetriou and Owen McCormick for their leadership in Erie.”

“Things happen in a city which can profoundly change for the better that city’s future,” said City of Lakeland Mayor Howard Wiggs. “Lakeland now has professional basketball and we are excited. This is a great example that Lakeland has a bright future and we are glad to be partnering with such a quality organization like the Orlando Magic.”

“I’m excited for the opportunity Lakeland has to host the Orlando Magic D-League franchise,” said Lakeland City Manager Tony Delgado. “This activity will continue the legacy of our great facility that has been host to many wonderful events over the years.”

“The Lakeland Center is thrilled to welcome the NBA D-League to Polk County,“ said The Lakeland Center Executive Director Tony Camarillo. “It was a focused effort that involved many members from all over the community. Bringing professional basketball to Lakeland will not only continue to increase the sports and entertainment options available to this thriving community, but it joins the ranks of other prestigious events that The Lakeland Center is honored to host, making Lakeland, Florida, a premiere destination for sports and entertainment in Central Florida.”

The anticipated relocation of the NBA Development League team also includes the future development of a practice facility in nearby Winter Haven.

“Getting the various municipalities and government bodies to partner together is just one reason why Polk County is special,” said Director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing Mark Jackson. “At the end of the day, all parties agree that having another major sports partner in our county portfolio will have nothing but a positive impact, both on our image nationally as well as on our local economy. We continue to enjoy an 80-year relationship with the Detroit Tigers and look forward to building that same type of relationship with the Magic.”

The Magic also announced that Shelly Wilkes has been named the team’s president, and Steve Demetriou and Alex Martins will be joining as minority partners in the ownership of the team.

Wilkes has been a full-time member of the Orlando Magic staff since 2004 when she joined the organization in the ticket sales department as a group sales coordinator. She was promoted to group sales account executive in July 2005, then named game presentation manager in July 2006. She was later promoted to assistant director of event presentation in July 2007, director of arena and event presentation in 2010 and senior director of event presentation, broadcast production and creative services in 2015.

Wilkes received her bachelor's degree in general business from the University of Central Florida. She later graduated from the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at UCF, and earned master's degrees in both business administration and sport business management.

The Orlando Magic and the BayHawks recently began the final year of a three-year, single-affiliation hybrid partnership wherein the Magic control the basketball operations and local ownership manages business operations.

During the partnership, Orlando assigned two players to develop in Erie. In total, four current members of the Magic have NBA D-League experience: Arinze Onuaku, C.J. Watson, C.J. Wilcox and Stephen Zimmerman.

The NBA D-League season is made up of 50 regular-season games plus a postseason and runs from November to April.

The league consists of 22 teams for the 2016-17 season: Austin Spurs, Canton Charge, Delaware 87ers, Erie BayHawks, Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Grand Rapids Drive, Greensboro Swarm, Iowa Energy, Long Island Nets, Los Angeles D-Fenders, Maine Red Claws, Northern Arizona Suns, Oklahoma City Blue, Raptors 905, Reno Bighorns, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Salt Lake City Stars, Santa Cruz Warriors, Sioux Falls Skyforce, Texas Legends,Westchester Knicks and Windy City Bulls.

Last season, 32 NBA D-League players earned 42 GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA, while 68 NBA players spent time in the NBA D-League on assignment. In total, more than 40 percent of players drafted into the NBA since 2005 have spent time in the NBA D-League


Orlando's NBA franchise since 1989, the Magic's mission is to be world champions on and off the court, delivering legendary moments every step of the way. The Magic have seen great success in a relatively short history, winning five division championships (1995, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2010) with seven 50-plus win seasons and capturing the Eastern Conference title in 1995 and 2009. Off the court, on an annual basis, the Orlando Magic gives more than $2 million to the local community by way of sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise and grants. Orlando Magic community relations programs impact an estimated 75,000 kids each year, while a Magic staff-wide initiative provides more than 6,000 volunteer hours annually. In addition, over the last 26 years more than $21 million has been distributed to local nonprofit community organizations through the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation and the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF) since 1994, which serves at-risk youth.Ticket highlights for the Magic's 2016-17 season in the Amway Center, honored with TheStadiumBusiness Awards’ 2013 Customer Experience Award and named SportsBusiness Journal's 2012 Sports Facility of the Year, include: 2,500 seats priced $20 or less, 8,000 seats priced $40 or less and 9,000 seats priced $50 or under. For ticket information log on to or call 407-89-MAGIC.


The NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 22 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchises for the 2016-17 season, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. An all-time high 38 percent of all NBA players at the end of the 2015-16 season boasted NBA D-League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. Fans can watch all NBA D-League games on


The Lakeland Center is multi-purpose entertainment complex featuring the 10,000 seat Jenkins Arena, 2,300 seat Youkey Theatre and 100,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space is located in sunny Central Florida and conveniently located minutes between Orlando and Tampa in Lakeland, Florida.

Since opening in 1974, The Lakeland Center has hosted a wide variety of events ranging from nationally renowned artists, family shows, athletic events, trade shows, conventions, weddings and ride and drives.

Over its 40-plus year history, The Jenkins Arena has a rich legacy of hosting minor league sports including the Lakeland Ice Warriors (ice hockey), Lakeland Loggerheads (ice hockey), Lakeland Blue Ducks (basketball), Lakeland Thunderbolts (indoor football), Florida Marine Raiders (indoor football) and the Center Florida Jaguars (indoor football). It has also hosted the FHSAA Boys and Girls Basketball Championships for over 20 years and is the new home to the MASL Florida Tropics.

The Broadway-styled Youkey Theater is the new home to the Miss Florida Pageant and its stage has been graced by performers from Presley to Sinatra.

The Lakeland Center is a short drive from anywhere in Central Florida and is a key destination stop for all types of events and their attendees. Visit us at


Geographically the fourth largest county in the state, Polk County features 17 municipalities and more than 500 sparkling lakes. Polk County in general and Lakeland, the county’s largest city, in particular, has enjoyed a more than 80-year relationship with the Detroit Tigers. Other points of interest include LEGOLAND Resort, Bok Tower Gardens and Safari Wilderness Ranch.

LAKELAND, FL (December 5, 2016) - The City of Lakeland recently reconfigured Massachusetts Avenue from Lake Morton Drive to Bartow Road (US 98). The roadway was reduced from four to two lanes of traffic to facilitate additional on-street parking and moderate operating speed. This lane reduction, commonly known as a “Road Diet” created much needed on-street parking (about 40 new spaces), additional exclusive right and left-turn lanes and reduced operating speeds.

In response to comments regarding the weaving movements occurring between Main Street and Pine Street, the City of Lakeland will configure the final permanent striping to have separate right and left-turn lanes at the Cedar Street intersection that will allow through traffic to continue straight between these two signalized intersections. Attached is a current and planned traffic flow drawing that details the current “weave” condition that has been marked with temporary striping to test this design and the new “straight-through” traffic flow pattern that will soon be marked with permanent striping.

The proposed plan will require the elimination of approximately four on-street parking spaces on the east side of Massachusetts Avenue, immediately south of Cedar/Main to accommodate the exclusive northbound right-turn lane.

It is anticipated that construction will take place January 2017. The work will require limited lane closures.

View the proposed plan here.




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

Lakeland Christmas Parade 2016: Miracle on Main Street

On Thursday, December 1st, 2016 the 36th Annual Lakeland Christmas parade, sponsored by The Junior League of Greater Lakeland FL, will kick off at 7:00 pm with a fantastic fireworks display over Lake Mirror. Over 100 organizations will be participating in this year’s event!  The Lakeland Christmas Parade will run rain or shine!

Please note that streets along the parade route will be closing at 5 PM.


Chairs & Parade Viewing Spots

  • Chairs may be placed along the parade route, but NOT more than 24 hours in advance.
  • Chairs obstructing any roadways, driveways, entrances, etc. will be removed.
  • For safety, please do not completely block sidewalks or entrances to buildings and parking lots. 
  • Please allow enough room for pedestrians and those in wheelchairs to pass through on sidewalks and pathways 
  • Please do not leave chairs directly in front of the fire station, blocking the driveway that fire engines use to respond to emergencies.

Food and Drink

    • Please feel free to bring your favorite snacks and non-alcoholic drinks with you!
    • No open containers (alcoholic drinks) are permitted.
    • Please do not bring glass bottles and containers.
    • If you brought it with you, bring it with you or throw it away—help keep Lakeland clean and beautiful!


      • Take a look at our Downtown Lakeland Parking Guide for information on all street parking, parking garages, metered/pay by space parking, and free all day parking.  
      • All metered, pay by space and permitted lots are FREE after 5 pm and all day on weekends.  This does not apply to privately owned parking lots and garages.  
      • Handicapped Parking: All garages and lots have designated handicapped parking (see parking guide above.)
      • Parade watchers will want to watch the parade on the same side of the route as they park.  For example, if you are watching on the North side of the route (say Lake Mirror), but are parked down by Lake Morton you cannot cross the parade route to get to your car. You will have to wait until the parade finishes coming up Orange. 

      Lakeland Fire Department Tips

      • If you are seated near the Firefighter Commemorative/Memorial Statue, please be respectful of the green around the statue—no climbing or placing chairs in the reflection area or near the statue.
      • Please do not leave chairs directly in front of the fire station, blocking the driveway that fire engines use to respond to emergencies


      See Something, Say Something

      In an effort for the City of Lakeland to provide a safe environment in which to enjoy the Lakeland Christmas Parade, the Lakeland Police Department would like to encourage you to call for help; if you See Something, Say Something.  

      For emergencies, call 911.  For non-emergency matters, call (863) 834-6900.

      Watch Live Online/TV

      • Watch pre-show festivities on Facebook Live throughout the day of the event!
      • Watch LIVE on LGN here
      • Watch LIVE on Spectrum (formerly Brighthouse) Channel 643
      • Watch LIVE on Frontier FiOS Channel 43
      • On-Demand (after the parade) on