City News Blog


The latest happenings in your city government.

City of Lakeland
City of Lakeland
City of Lakeland's Blog

The Lakeland Police Department has continued to collect old relics and equipment used in the early days of policing and has added many new items to the museum.  This historic display is located on the second floor in the community room of the police station located at 219 North Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL.  Identification cards of retired officers along with a few new vintage pictures have been added to the museum including an article featuring the Lakeland Police Department as the best dressed department in the nation in 1981.   

There is also a framed presentation on the “Drunk-O-Meter” machine that was the first of its kind requiring suspected drunk drivers to blow into a balloon that was then placed onto a tube on the machine where alcohol content could be determined scientifically.   Prior to the use of this device, police officers would take the suspected drunk driver to a nearby doctor who would determine the suspect’s level of intoxication by a variety of observations.  The Drunk-O-Meter was replaced by the “Breathalyzer” in the late 1960’s.

The historic display items will be updated and rotated every few months to keep the museum fresh.  The Lakeland Police Museum would also like to request donations from the public of any old items they may wish to donate.  Old photographs, police equipment, newspaper articles, and other items would be appreciated and will help to preserve history.  Please contact Sergeant Gary Gross, Lakeland Museum Curator, at 863.834.6900 if you would like to donate items.

Eighty-nine swans on Lakes Morton, Wire and Mirror were herded into cages, on Tuesday, October 25, 2011, to await their annual health physicals on Wednesday. 

Each year, the City of Lakeland’s Parks and Recreation Department rounds up the swans to check for health issues, check weight and have microchips inserted, if not already, for tracking purposes.  There are two primary reasons the birds are inspected each year:  to insure that there are no major health concerns and to narrow down the population on the City’s Lakes. 

“Our target number on Lake Morton is 50 Swans,” remarked Bill Tinsley, Director of Parks and Recreation.  “This number ensures that there is a balance between flock population and what the habitat can support.”

This year, the swans were examined by Patrica Mattson, DVM, from Companion Animal Hospital.  The task of the swan examination begins with a weigh-in and is followed by listening for heart issues.  The veterinarian then examines the beak and inside the mouth.  Some swans are asked to “donate” stool samples for further testing.  Next, the birds feet are examined.  After the exam, unless further testing needs to be done, the bird is free to go—once let go, they couldn’t be happier. 

Parks and Recreation rounds up the swans on an annual basis to preserve these City icons for Lakeland’s citizens.  Of course if you’re looking to purchase one of the swans, you could do that too!  Approximately twelve swans will be auctioned off mid-November.  Stay tuned to learn how you can own one of these majestic birds.

LAKELAND, FL – City of Lakeland employees have long been recognized for their service to the citizens “on the job” and now a group of performers will be known “off the job” for their talent with the first ever Lakeland Employees Give Back Talent Showcase being held at the Lake Mirror Amphitheater Friday, November 4th from 6pm – 9pm. In addition to the talented performing acts, a special city employees’ show choir, under the direction of Eric Holseth, will perform the finale. The showcase is free and open to the public.

The Lakeland Employees Give Back Talent Showcase was created to serve as a venue during which deserving City of Lakeland employees will be acknowledged for the numerous charitable activities in which they engage and also as an opportunity to provide a spirited night of performance as a gift to the community. Participating acts must contain at least one City of Lakeland employee, a family member of an employee or a city retiree. Acts will be judged and winners will be selected for both a Judge’s Choice Award and a People’s Choice Award. Attendees will have a chance to vote for their talent choice by donating $1 per ballot. All monies raised from the People’s Choice Award will be donated to the local United Way.

 “The employees have been working very hard to put together an awesome night of entertainment for their fans – you are really in for a treat. The highlight of the evening will be the finale performance with the employee choir. You won’t want to miss seeing some of Lakeland’s finest performers take the stage,” said event coordinator Billy Bures when asked about what to expect at this first ever talent showcase.

For more information, please contact Billy Bures at 863-834-8119 or


The City Commission meeting held on October 17th began with a report by the Information Technologies Department on the timetable for the replacement of the city’s two way radio system.

A check was presented by The Synthetic Turf Council, for the Real Field of Dreams National Finalist Award for Sunflower Preschool Playground .

Another check was received from FITniche for Hollingsworth Restroom Fund .

Proclamations were presented in recognition of Community Planning Month, Let’s Talk Month, and Pro Bono Week.

Eugene Strickland was appointed to the Firefighters’ Pension Trust – Board of Trustees.

Terry Borglund was appointed as an alternate to the Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals.

A  lease agreement with JDI Holdings, LLC at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport was approved.

An amendment to land lease agreement with Publix for jet fuel storage at  Lakeland Linder Regional Airport was approved.

Sale of Neighborhood Services Program Property to Alice Williams and Willie Hargarett was approved.

Vacating a public right-of-way located North of East Myrtle Street, South of East Parker Street, East of North Massachusetts Avenue and West of North Iowa Avenue was approved.

Vacating a portion of Callahan Court Public Right-of-Way located North of Lake Hollingsworth Drive, South of McDonald Street, East of Harvard Road and West of Hollingsworth Road was approved.

Vacating a Portion of Palmetto Street Right-of-Way located at 175 Lake Morton Drive was approved.

The Northside Christian Church’s Request for a Conditional Use Permit for a Church at 240 Fernery Road was continued to allow time for the church  representatives to provide updated sight plans and staff to formulate an ordinance to set conditions for the conditional use.

Semi-automated collection of garbage in areas serviced by alley was approved with no additional “premium service” charge.

Agreements with the FDOT for the multiyear phased grant in the amount of $1,508,250 for continued infrastructure improvements for the Runway 9-27 Instrument Landing System. Additionally, a request for authorization to enter into an engineering contract with Atkins Engineering for $280,140.00 and the reimbursable agreement with the FAA for $84,599, with both contracts subject to the final approval of FDOT, were approved.

Approval to negotiate and finalize standard agreements with shortlisted firms for planning, design and development professional services was granted.

A rail transportation agreement with CSX Transportation, Inc. and Indiana Rail Road Corporation for transportation of coal for the electric plant was approved.

In final action, an agreement with Coulomb Technologies, Inc. to provide an electric vehicle charging station, for installation in the Main St. garage, for use by the public, initially for free on a first come basis, was approved.