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!

Green Celebration 1 from City of Lakeland on Vimeo.

LAKELAND, FL (February 10, 2017) — This year's Green Celebration will take place on Friday, April 21st in honor of Earth Day with a concert & showcase at the Lake Mirror Promenade from 6 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. There will be live music from reggae band Jah Movement along with a variety of exhibits promoting green living initiatives during this FREE event. Participating Polk County Schools will showcase their green initiatives with student displays during the event and participants are encouraged to vote on their favorite.

Jah Movement have the distinction of winning Creative Loafing’s 2016 ‘Best Local Reggae Band’ in the Tampa Bay Area and the band was recognized by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for Best Local Entertainment for 2016. Jah Movement is made up of some of the best musicians in South West Florida. Damie Caines, former lead vocalist of popular band ‘Democracy’, provides his unique sounds that many local reggae artists can’t touch. Shantel Norman, who is one of the most popular female vocalist in the Tampa Bay area, can sing any genre of music and leave people with their mouths wide open. She has won many awards because of her talents. Maurice Brown (Drummy) is one drummer that can sing and play drums at the same time. His smooth voice adds to the harmony and always keeps the crowd smiling. Lead keyboardist and vocalist, Dougie Gresham is the music director of the famous Ky-Mani Marley and he brings his many talents to the band. Founded in May 2015, Jah Movement has established a well-known name and reputation throughout Florida with a passion for live performances. They bring their own sound that includes reggae with a touch of R&B, Soul and Funk. You never know what popular songs they will play during their live shows!

The Green Celebration honors Earth Day, a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and it is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day.

There will be a number of exhibits and vendors that will have displays at the event. The Polk County School Board will also participate showcasing various school programs and earth friendly initiatives designed to promote a greener more sustainable future. A panel of judges will pick the school that exemplifies the most earth friendly project based on recycle and reuse initiatives. Participants can also get involved by visiting each display and casting a vote for the People’s Choice award.

The Green Celebration invites the Lakeland community to attend the FREE event. Bring a blanket, a picnic basket and enjoy the festivities as we celebrate Earth Day. Participants are encouraged to recycle, reclaim, reuse and ride a bike. The event is sponsored in part by the City of Lakeland, Magnify Credit Union, and Furr & Wegman Architects.



LAKELAND, FL (January 4, 2017) - The City of Lakeland is in the process of taking applications for the 2017 Lakeland Citizens Academy. This interactive public information program encourages participants to experience City services and the functions of City departments through hands-on sessions for a true learning experience. This FREE program was designed for local residents and those that participate get a true behind the scenes look at their local government.  

The Citizens Academy program consists of six (6), two (2) hour evening sessions beginning February 23, 2017 and runs through the first week of April. The program is limited to 30 residents age 16 and older. Enrollment is based on a first-come, first-served basis.

The 2017 Citizens Academy will be a great program starting with a tutorial on City budgeting and finance, followed by a historical overview of the community. During the 2017 Citizens Academy, participants will get to experience the tools of the trade at both of the City’s public safety divisions. Citizen Academy cadets will learn more about City Planning, get a chance to tour Lakeland Electric’s generating facility and get an inside look at future projects from the City’s award winning Parks & Recreation Department.


  • February 23rd - History & Finance
  • March 2nd - Police Department
  • March 9th - Fire Department
  • March 16th - City Planning/Economic Development
  • March 30th - Lakeland Electric
  • April 6th - Parks & Recreation 

The purpose of the Citizens Academy is to familiarize citizens with Lakeland’s City government. The program provides an overview of City Departments, explains the relationship between the City Commission and City Administration, allows an overview of the budgetary process and it provides an outlet for citizen involvement. This year’s class will also get the chance to preview the City’s new website and assist with valuable input that will help optimize the website for the best user experience!


Participants are encouraged to attend all of the sessions in order to get the most from the program.  

  • All sessions are from 6 pm - 8 pm.
  • The first meeting will be held in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, 228 South Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland. 
  • A light meal is always served at 5:45 pm before each session, so participants are encouraged to get there a little early.
  • Citizens interested in participating should contact Christina Camp at to secure a spot on the roster. Please include a home mailing address and contact information in the email. 

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

      LAKELAND, FL (October 13, 2016) | BULLETIN: P16– 051 | The Lakeland Police Department will host their 12th Annual Open House on Saturday, October 15th from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This year’s event, focused on “See Something. Say Something”, will feature a scavenger hunt and the first public unveiling of the department’s new MRAP Rescue Vehicle. 

      This FREE event gives citizens the opportunity to go behind the scenes with Lakeland’s finest. During this fun-filled family day, you can meet members of the SWAT team, take a peek inside LPD’s mobile command center, see the armored rescue vehicle up close and check out the K-9 team in action! There will be tours of the police station beginning at 10:30 a.m. and running until 1:30 p.m. These tours include the Crime Lab, Communications Center and the Emergency Operations Center.

      The Community Services Unit will be doing bicycle helmet fittings and giving away free helmets to children. Plenty of children’s activities, live entertainment and free hot dogs and popcorn make for a guaranteed good time! So gather your family, friends and neighbors and come out and enjoy a day with the Lakeland Police Department.

      Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583.2357.


      Robin Tillett, Media Relations | Lakeland Police Department | 863/834-2963