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 (December 5, 2016) - The City of Lakeland recently reconfigured Massachusetts Avenue from Lake Morton Drive to Bartow Road (US 98). The roadway was reduced from four to two lanes of traffic to facilitate additional on-street parking and moderate operating speed. This lane reduction, commonly known as a “Road Diet” created much needed on-street parking (about 40 new spaces), additional exclusive right and left-turn lanes and reduced operating speeds.

In response to comments regarding the weaving movements occurring between Main Street and Pine Street, the City of Lakeland will configure the final permanent striping to have separate right and left-turn lanes at the Cedar Street intersection that will allow through traffic to continue straight between these two signalized intersections. Attached is a current and planned traffic flow drawing that details the current “weave” condition that has been marked with temporary striping to test this design and the new “straight-through” traffic flow pattern that will soon be marked with permanent striping.

The proposed plan will require the elimination of approximately four on-street parking spaces on the east side of Massachusetts Avenue, immediately south of Cedar/Main to accommodate the exclusive northbound right-turn lane.

It is anticipated that construction will take place January 2017. The work will require limited lane closures.

View the proposed plan here.




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

Lakeland, FL (November 28, 2016) - Firefighting hoods are an essential component of a firefighter’s turnout gear, used to protect their skin from the harsh and dangerous elements they are exposed to in a fire. The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) recently transitioned from traditional firefighting hoods to particle filtering hoods (Halo brand) designed to protect a firefighter’s most sensitive skin areas from exposure to fine particulate matter.

Protective hoods are the most vulnerable area of a firefighter's ensemble. Traditional firefighting hoods lack any type of barrier characteristics to keep out the superfine particles that absorb a variety of hazardous chemicals, including carcinogens.

The switch to particle filtering hoods by the Lakeland Fire Department comes at very appropriate time with a recent multi-year study of 30,000 firefighters, published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), finding that firefighters are significantly more prone to suffer from cancer than the general U.S. population. Firefighters not only run a higher risk of getting cancer but also of dying from cancer. NIOSH studies and other research shows this increase is likely due to carcinogen buildup on firefighters' skin, particularly on the neck and face areas which offer much faster absorption of these hazardous chemicals into the body.

LFD transitioning to these new protective hoods is significant in that it is one of the first fire departments in Florida to do so, and certainly the first in central Florida. The Lakeland Fire Department recognizes that its people are its most important assets and that they need to be protected. Assistant Chief of Operations Doug Riley shares “The work our firefighters do is already inherently dangerous with exposure to many different hazards both during and after an event. These new barrier hoods are an important way we can protect our firefighters who risk all to protect others.”

The new hoods do come at a slight price increase from the previous firefighting hoods, and are approximately 30% more expensive, however it is a small price to pay for the safety of firefighters.

Dangerous carcinogen exposure is more of an issue now than ever. Modern homes full of synthetic furnishings burn faster, hotter, and with more carcinogen laden smoke than did legacy homes of the past filled with wood and cotton furnishings.


Janel Vasallo, Public Relations and Information Manager | Lakeland Fire Department
863/834-8219 |

LAKELAND, FL (November 28, 2016) -  The Lakeland Police Department is now accepting toy donations for their annual Annual Cops for Kids toy drive. Now in its tenth year, the toy donation program, with the help of generous community donors, allows families to provide their children with a happy holiday. Toy donations for children up to 12 years of age are accepted. 

New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at any of the following locations:

  • Lakeland Police Station / 219 N. Massachusetts Ave.
  • Lakeland Libraries (Main & Jackson Branch) / 100 Lake Morton Dr. and 1700 N. Florida Ave.
  • City Hall / 228 S. Massachusetts Ave.
  • Lakeland Electric / 501 E Lemon St.
  • Kelly Recreation Complex / 404 Imperial Blvd

Monetary Donations 

Monetary donations are also accepted and can be mailed to the Lakeland Police Department at 219 N Massachusetts Avenue, Attention: Crime Prevention Unit. Please notate Cops for Kids on the memo line of your check or money order. 

The toys collected will be given to parents at the annual Cops for Kids pick-up party scheduled for December 15, 2016. Kids in attendance will have their photo made with Santa and enjoy a complimentary dinner.

“Over the past ten years, our Cops for Kids program has helped ease the burden for hundreds of families and allowed thousands of children to have a happy holiday,” said Chief Larry Giddens. “One of the greatest things we can do as a police department is give back to our citizens in need, for whom we take great pride in serving every day.”

If you need assistance through the program, you must register at the police station on Monday, November 28, 2016 and bring the following items:

  • Current Lakeland Electric Bill 
  • Photo ID
  • Original Birth Certificate for Each Child

Please Note: Your registration does not guarantee acceptance


Media inquiries should be directed to 863/583-2357

Robin Tillett, Media Relations | Lakeland Police Department
863/834-2963 (PH) | @lakelandpd

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