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!

At the City Commission meeting held February 21st the commission approved a right-of-way purchase at 801 W. 2nd Street. This purchase was necessary for the North Lincoln Sidewalk Improvement project which is now anticipated to begin in August 2011.

The City also made available warehouse space at the airport for Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for the implementation of Lakeland Electric’s Smart Grid Initiative.

The Commission also approved: The annexation into the city of property at 1130 East Rose St. off-street parking and storm water retention for property at 125 E. Prado Place.

Also approved was zoning for the North Village project that includes a Walgreens at Harden Blvd. and Town Center Dr. at Lakeside Village.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has allocated$1,303,139 to Lakeland, for the purpose of stabilizing neighborhoods and eliminating blight over the next three years. The City of Lakeland has identified three neighborhoods of greatest need: Lake Beulah, Webster Park and Parker Street.

The selection of the White Challis Redevelopment Co., LLC (“White Challis”) to provide residential development of the Bay Street Parking Lot was approved. The project is a three story mixed use building with retail/office and residential studios on the ground floor; and residential lofts on the second and third floors and will front Kentucky Avenue and Bay Street.

Also approved was a resolution implementing a voluntary energy efficiency and renewable energy program; providing financing to residential property owners located in Lakeland Electric’s service territory seeking to install energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on their residences.  Any financing provided pursuant to this program shall be set at a minimum amount of $500 and a maximum amount of $5,000 at zero interest for qualified Lakeland Electric customers.

The City Manager was authorized to submit funding applications to the Polk Transportation Planning Organization for the Central Lakeland transit signal prioritization study, for Bartow Rd. and Kathleen Rd. access management improvement projects.

The Commission also approved a service agreement with Federal Engineering, Inc. for the evaluation of the City’s radio communications needs. The existing 800MHz radio system, needs replacing, due to the obsolescence of equipment. This radio system serves the needs for Police, Fire, Lakeland Electric and many other Departments.

Upon recommendation of the Utility Committee the City Commission approved an Agreement with Burns & McDonnell to Conduct a Rate Study for Lakeland Electric with a total cost of $125,000.

Also approved was a task authorization with TJR Technical Services, Inc. for McIntosh Unit #2 technical direction, outage coordination and bid reviews, during April 2011 outage.

The City Commission also voted to allow the City attorney to enter into talks with Tampa, Orlando and other interested parties as to formulation of a private entity to coordinate the implementation of the High Speed Rail project.

The Lakeland City Commission voted in a unanimous decision to give City Attorney Tim McCausland the approval to work with other agencies in creating the legal framework for an independent agency to oversee the future development of high speed rail.

McCausland will be working with Cities of Tampa and Orlando and their legal teams in creating an independent agency that would manage future development of the proposed high speed rail project.  This independent oversight group would insulate taxpayers from any financial risk and divert the $2.4 billion in federal funding to a new entity such as a regional planning group.

McCausland said, “The idea is to have a plan that would allow private sector input from vendor operators and place any liability for the project on them.”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has created a Friday, Feb. 25th deadline to devise an alternative plan to create the Orlando-to-Tampa line after the announcement from Gov. Scott that  he would not accept the federal funding for any high speed rail project in Florida.

In response to the Governor's announcement, the City of Tampa, the City of Orlando, and the City of Lakeland have helped "craft" the language for an Independent Regional Agency. The Central Florida Super Region continues to explore a "shared solution" when it comes to High Speed Rail for Florida.

Letter to Senator Nelson and Representative Castor regarding independent agency. 02-18-2011 HSR Ltr to Sen Nelson and Rep Castor pdf.pdf

On Thursday,  February 16th the Lakeland Police Department honored four young citizens with the  “Do the Right Thing Award”. The “Do The Right Thing” program highlights the positive actions of local young people that often go unnoticed. The winners of the bi-monthly  award for December and January are: Thomas Boles, Dalton Vanhorn and Joey and Nick White.

Thomas Boles

Thomas Boles is a 13 year old student at Blake Academy. He  was nominated for continued ability to resist peer pressure and to encourage others to avoid wrongful behaviors.  Thomas is president of the National Junior Honor Society, active in the Student Activities Committee and is very involved in the student tutoring program.


Dalton Vanhorn

Dalton Vanhorn is a seven year old 1st grade student at Polk City Elementary School. After learning from his parents of the significance of the cards hanging from the “Angel Tree” at a local restaurant, he decided on his own to choose a child’s wish list from the tree. He then purchased gifts with his birthday money so another child could have a nice Christmas.


Joey & Nick White

Joey White is a 15 year old 9th grade student at Summerlin Military Institute. His brother Nick White is a 16 year old Junior at George Jenkins High School. After having dinner at a local restaurant with their father, LPD Police Captain Victor White, the three witnessed a mugging in the parking lot. After assisting their father in apprehending the mugger, Joey and Nick aided and comforted the victim until more police units arrived.

To watch the video of the ceremony on line, visit the LGN Video-on-Demand section.

On Saturday, March 12th a one day only Rain Barrel Truckload Sale will be held at the Bay Street Parking Lot, 315 N. Tennessee Ave. (1½ blocks north of the Spring Obsession event being held in Munn Park) from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The rain barrels will be available for the special price of only $60. The 55 gallon rain barrels are made with maximum recycled content; include insect resistant stainless steel filter, resilient faucet/spigot and an overflow spout.  Rain barrels help conserve water, reduce water cost, reduce stormwater runoff, and protect the environment.

The event is made possible by The City of Lakeland Lakes & Stormwater division, along with Lakeland Water Utilities, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Polk County Natural Resources, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, and Lakes Education/Action Drive.