City News Blog


The latest happenings in your city government.

Today, the City of Lakeland was designated as a Bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.  The Bicycle Friendly America program provides incentives, hands-on assistance and award recognition for communities, universities and businesses that actively support bicycling. 

Rick Perez, Senior Planner for the City of Lakeland said, “We received a request from the locaorganization, Bike Lakeland to apply for bike friendly status and the City Commission approved a resolution to pursue the designation soon after that.”  He added, “The Community Development Department worked with staff from Public Works, LPD and Parks and Recreation as well as the bicycling community and other agencies such as the School Board to complete the application.  It is exciting to know that Lakeland was designated as a Bronze level Bike Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.”

Over the past 10 years, the League has worked with hundreds of engineers, government officials and bicycle advocates to identify the DNA of bicycle friendliness. Using that expert knowledge, the League evaluates communities on the following criteria: 

1.      Engineering: Physical infrastructure and hardware to support cycling

2.      Education: Programs that ensure the safety, comfort and convenience of cyclists

3.      Encouragement: Incentives, promotions and opportunities that inspire cycling

4.      Enforcement: Programs that ensure motorists and cyclists are held accountable

5.      Evaluation: Process that demonstrates a commitment to planning for the future

Celeste Deardorff, Long Range Planning Manager for the City of Lakeland said, “This award means that the City is being recognized for its continued commitment to cycling as a means of recreation and as a mode of transportation.  Lakeland is now among the few localities in Florida who have achieved such a level of recognition.”  She added,  “This award will help the City to attract avid bicycle enthusiasts of all ages and highlights one aspect of Lakeland’s quality of life that can be used in economic development and recruiting efforts by our local businesses, educators and others in our community.” 

In four years the community will be re-evaluated and based on that assessment, the City of Lakeland can either improve or lose the bike friendly designation. Deardorff said, “In order to maintain our award recognition and aspire to a new level, it will be important for Lakeland to enhance cycling initiatives by working with local enthusiasts, bicycle clubs and other partner organizations within the community.”

There is already a framework in place to improve Lakeland’s bike friendly status such as:

1.      Engaging the public and employers in cycling through leadership with bike to work days, ride with the Mayor/Commissioner events, promoting bike commuter programs, and creating a citizen advisory board to provide input on cycling projects and programs.

2.      Improving upon existing infrastructure with a trail network throughout the City and work closely with schools to create safe bike routes to school.

3.      Promote cycling as an economic development tool: Market Lakeland as a bicycling destination for tourism, conduct an economic impact study on bicycling in Lakeland, initiate a bike share program and attract more bicycle related events.

The Bike Friendly designation demonstrates that the City of Lakeland is committed to improving the safety, convenience, and enjoyment for all cyclists in the community whether they are recreational, commuter or sport riders.  The end result is a higher quality of life that furthers the City’s vision as a world class community and it helps attract those that enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle.  Please visit for more information on Bike Friendly Communities.

The public is invited to attend the unveiling of the eight foot bronze sculpture titled Mute Swan Protecting Her Cygnets that will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16th at Main Street Overlook Park (Main Street & Massachusetts Avenue overlooking Lake Mirror).  There will be live music from the Brian Sutherland Trio and refreshments.  There will also be a fireworks show at dusk.  Sandra Trattner and Steve Wolfson generously donated the bronze sculpture in honor of their parents Elaine and Wil Wolfson.


Steve Wolfson said, “This piece of art tells our family story with the mother swan protecting her young and where it will stand is near the place where my grandfather stood when he first came to Lakeland in 1909.”  He added, “My sister and I are grateful to dedicate the sculpture in honor of our mom and dad.  Although we don’t live in Lakeland, the City has been such a huge part of our lives.”


The Wolfson family has a rich history that starts in Europe with Cy Wolfson emigrating from Russia to Ellis Island, NY and eventually settling in Lakeland as an early pioneer.  He became one of the very first retail shop owners in downtown. In the 1920’s Cy and Frances Wolfson owned and operated the Famous Department Store on the south side of Munn Park. Wil is one of the four Wolfson children who grew up in Lakeland.  He attended the University of Florida Pharmacy School and served his country during WWII.  Wil married Elaine in 1946 and they had two children Sandra and Steve Wolfson.  Wil opened his first Lakeland pharmacy in 1953.


As a way of honoring their parents, the Steve and Sandra dedicated the bronze swan sculpture by artist Ian G. Brennan.  Brennan has been a contemporary sculptor and woodcarver to the British Royal Household since 1989.  In the early 1950’s The Queen of England gifted a pair of Mute Swans from the Royal Flock to the City of Lakeland.  The descendent swan population remains a treasure to the community today.


Join the Wolfson family at Main Street Overlook Park as they unveil the larger than life Mute Swan Protecting Her Cygnets on Tuesday, October 16th at 6 p.m.

The City of Lakeland Parks Division will be on Lake Morton at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 9th for the 32nd Annual Swan Roundup. Crews will be catching and herding the swans as the initial part of their annual veterinary check-up.The swans will be confined in large holding pens on the south side of the lake for inoculations and wellness examinations that will start Wednesday morning, October 10th at 7:30 a.m. with Patricia Mattson, DVM.

The Annual Swan Round-Up allows Lakeland's Parks and Recreation Department to closely monitor the health and vitality of Lakeland’s swan population. On Wednesday morning, each swan will be given a wellness examination by veterinarian Patricia Mattson. They will also be weighed, vaccinated, and given a microchip if necessary so their health can be easily tracked.

The original swans on Lake Morton were donated by Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom in 1957. The swans were first cared for by veterinarian (emeritus) and original "Swanvet" W.G. Gardner. As Lakeland’s swan flock grew, it became paramount to give the regal birds an annual health check so the Swan Roundup began. This practice started in 1980 and has continued every year since then.

Dr. Mattson has almost 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.

Lakeland Electric will celebrate Public Power Week during October 7-13, 2012 along with more than 2,000 other electric utilities that collectively provide electricity on a not-for-profit basis to 46 million Americans. 

“Public Power Week is a chance for Lakeland Electric to articulate why public power works in Lakeland.  We are absolutely dedicated to providing a high level of service at affordable rates,” said Joel Ivy, Lakeland Electric’s General Manager.

Public Power Week is an annual event that takes place throughout the nation.  It is sponsored in conjunction with the American Public Power Association (APPA) in Washington, D.C.  APPA is the service organization for community and state-owned electric utilities.

“We are proud to have served the customers of Lakeland Electric for over 100 years,” Ivy said.  “Lakeland Electric contributes to the area’s economic vitality.  We understand how critical electricity is for our customers and we strive to find better ways to deliver it efficiently, reliably, safely and with special attention to the environment,”

Lakeland Electric is Florida’s third-largest public power utility and it provides electricity to more than 120,000 customers. Power is generated at Lakeland Electric’s two main power plants, the 941-megawatt McIntosh Power Plant and the 110-megawatt Larsen Power Plant. The utility also operates a group of diesel unit’s capable of producing up to 50- megawatts for emergency purposes.