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, FL (January 30, 2016) - The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is pleased to announce the hiring of thirteen new firefighters that will begin duty on Monday, February 6, 2017. The new hires are filling vacancies from recent retirements of longtime LFD veterans and openings left as a result of internal promotions.

The new firefighters will begin with the department’s month-long orientation program at the Lakeland Fire Department’s Training Center located at 901 Granada Street. Although all the new hires are certified firefighters, this training course is designed to teach the new firefighters how to do things the “Lakeland” way. They review a full spectrum of practical skills they need to perform on the job as well as emergency medical training before being released into the field.

“Our hiring committee is confident that it selected the best available candidates and it’s comforting to know that the new firefighters joining our ranks are highly skilled and qualified to continue providing the high quality emergency services our department is known for.” said Training Chief John Almskog, coordinator of the hiring effort and leader of the department’s four-week orientation program.

LFD strives to have a fire department that is representative of the community it serves. The department is proud that of the thirteen new hires, five are U.S. Military veterans. Additionally, the group of new firefighters includes a female, Hispanic, and African American firefighter, respectively. The group of new firefighters even includes a former NFL football player.

Of the new hires, one is already certified as a paramedic while the others are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). A majority of the new hires hail from central Florida and are graduates of area fire academies like the Ridge Career Center Fire Academy and Hillsborough Community College Fire Academy.

The new hires bring the department to a total of 171 personnel whom, last year alone, responded to nearly 24,500 call for service. 

For further information, please call (863) 834-SWAN (7926)!

LAKELAND, FL (January 31, 2015) - The City of Lakeland is seeking input from Citizens on the values and priorities of the community with an online survey at

Visit and spend a few moments taking the survey. Citizen opinion is very important and the City uses the information gathered from the survey to help with City of Lakeland strategic and budgeting initiatives.  The survey is available online now through Feb 28th and is available in both English and Spanish. 

Citizen input will help plan for Lakeland’s future.  

Please take the time to participate in the online survey.  Those that participate in the Community Values Survey or Workshops are eligible to win one of many prizes, including a golf package at Cleveland Heights, tickets to a Lakeland Center event, or Kelly Recreation Complex/Gandy Pool passes! 

Visit or call 834-SWAN for more information. 

Do you follow us on Facebook or Twitter?  We'd love it if you'd share and retweet our posts about the Community Values Survey to help us get the word out in 2017!


LAKELAND, FL (January 12, 2017 - The Lakeland City Commission Chamber located at City Hall (228 S. Massachusetts Avenue) is currently closed in preparation for a renovation project that is part of an overall compliance plan to meet ADA requirements. All meetings historically held in the City Commission Chambers will now take place in the Lakeland Electric Building in Conference Room 1A/1B. The Lakeland Electric Building located at 502 E Lemon Street is directly across from City Hall. The meetings that will be impacted during the construction project include:

  • Code Enforcement Board 
  • Code Enforcement Hearing Officer 
  • Planning and Zoning Board
  • Utility Committee 
  • Board of Adjustments 
  • City Commission Meetings 
  • Agenda Study Meetings 
  • Commission Workshops 
  • Task Force Meetings 

During the construction project these meetings will take place in Conference Room 1A/1B located on the first floor in the Lakeland Electric Building. The impacted meetings will still be broadcast on Charter/Spectrum channel 643, Frontier FiOS channel 43 and streamed live on

The Commission Chamber located at City Hall is currently noncompliant with current ADA codes and possess other safety related deficiencies which has left the City in need of correcting these issues. The necessary remodel project will address these deficiencies as well as upgrade antiquated audio and visual components in the Chamber. The project will include ADA access to the dais platform and allow ADA access to areas at and around the dais with ramps and handrails which will be added for access and safety. New public presentation areas will be added as well as upgraded television monitors and TV broadcasting equipment. Additionally, the project will address safety issues and personal protection related to City Commissioner and City Staff. The scope of this work with Henkelman Construction includes: Demo of the existing Dais area; Installation of ramps and handicap railing; Removal and replacement of the dais for ADA and safety modifications; Electrical and Mechanical modifications; Additional ADA seating areas; and Installation of new audio/visual components and TV broadcasting equipment.

Funding for this project is provided for in FY 2017 Public Improvement Fund under ADA projects. The project work is scheduled to begin on January 30th and is estimated to be completed within three months. Cost for the project is $182,281.

The following list are ADA projects that the City of Lakeland has completed over the past two years:

  • New ADA Specialist position approved by City Administration
  • Formal development of ADA Transition Plan ($55,000)*
  • Inventory and evaluation of 15 signalized intersections and 8 miles of sidewalk ($50,000)
  • 388 linear feet of sidewalk replaced to address ADA compliance ($13,700)
  • 235 curb ramps rebuilt to ADA compliance ($292,000)
  • Handicap accessible seating at Bryant Stadium South End Zone ($15,000)
  • Handicap accessible improvements at Lakeland Electric Customer Service ($20,000)
  • Lake Mirror Auditorium Stage Lift ($20,000)
  • Glendale Admin and Warehouse Restrooms ($30,000)
  • City Hall Bathrooms retrofit on 1st Floor ($25,000)
  • City Hall Department Reception Counters ($15,000)
  • Handicap accessible improvements at Iowa Garage Parking ($50,000)


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

LAKELAND, FL (January 10, 2017) - On Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at approximately 2:45 p.m., Lakeland Police officers responded to the area of Harden Boulevard, near Forest Park Street, in reference to a traffic crash involving a pedestrian struck by a pickup truck.  


Glenn Gillenwater, age 63, of Lakeland, was struck and killed by a 1984 Ford pickup truck driven by 26-year-old Michael Duey.  According to reports, Duey was traveling southbound on Harden Boulevard when his truck began to swerve, drove up onto the raised shoulder and struck Gillenwater who was walking on the sidewalk. Duey’s truck continued down an embankment and struck two trees before coming to a final rest. 


Emergency medical professionals from the Lakeland Fire Department and Polk County Fire Rescue arrived on scene and began assisting officers in providing life saving measures. Both Gillenwater and Duey were transported to Lakeland Regional Health Center. Gillenwater passed away due to the injuries sustained in the crash. Duey was treated for minor injuries and released. 


Members of the LPD Traffic Homicide Unit closed the portion of Harden Boulevard between Beacon Road and Ariana Street for approximately three hours. 


No charges have been filed at this time. This is an open case and the Lakeland Police Department Traffic Homicide team is continuing to investigate.


Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583.2357.



Robin Tillett

Media Relations | Lakeland Police Department | 863/834-2946