With a vision to promote safe and standard neighborhoods, the City of Lakeland's Community & Economic Development Department began its Neighborhood Improvement Program in 1988.
In 1999, the Neighborhood Outreach Office was established to coordinate the City’s effort to respond more effectively to the needs of neighborhoods by working with residents. The goal of this office is to preserve stable neighborhoods, stabilize traditional ones and give new birth to deteriorating neighborhoods. The office has been most effective under that charge; however, due to the rising expectations of neighborhoods, it has become essential that we focus on an increased collaboration of governmental services. New efforts to communicate and coordinate services within and among various City departments prove to be more beneficial to our neighborhoods. This approach assists with providing a coordinated response to problems, issues and/or opportunities that are of concern to the neighborhoods. Teams of employees with diverse areas of expertise are utilized to solve problems. By using the unified approach and drawing on the expertise of departments throughout the City, issues are addressed in a proactive manner. This approach simply focuses on providing a neighborhood-based City service delivery system utilizing the extensive network of existing City services in the community.
The mission of the Neighborhood Outreach Office is “to serve as the primary point of contact to align citizens and government actions so that working together we provide an exceptional quality of life in the City of Lakeland.” The City of Lakeland has identified approximately 100 geographic neighborhood boundaries and of that 23 neighborhoods are registered associations. We encourage all neighborhood to register as it will enhance the city-citizen relationship. The neighborhood outreach office staff is the focal point to communicate with the city. The office will offer a neighborhood liaison service to increase access to resources, build knowledge, foster communication, train and register neighborhoods, promote collaboration, and encourage community-based partnerships.