At first glance, Westgate Central seems somewhat unassuming, but a deeper look reveals passionate leadership and a surprising history. Located South of the CSX transportation railroad and west of Lake Hunter, Westgate Central is under the leadership of Shirley Pickett, a strong and caring woman with a desire for her neighbors to be close and care for one another. She works tirelessly to bring Westgate Central together, putting on many events that encourage the residents to bond. The neighborhood association often partners with Jesse Keen Elementary School, such as with the Little Free Library Program.
As for the history of the neighborhood, it is really quite surprising! At some point in the 1920's, what is now further south and called Lakeland Linder International Airport, was known as Drane Field. This area could be found within Westgate Central on maps of the area.
A map of Lakeland from the 1920's. Drane Field can be seen within what is now Westgate Central Neighborhood.
The Westgate Central Neighborhood Association hosted its first 2022 Neighborhood Clean-Up on Saturday, March 26th. Neighborhood residents, code enforcement officers, Lakeland policemen, and city employees convened at the Missionary Assembly of God Church on Montana Avenue to discuss the plan of action and distribute supplies and plants. Volunteers spent four hours from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm elevating the neighborhood and picking up trash. They also engaged in positive conversations with residents as they passed out free flowers to plant around their homes — all in a unified effort to uplift the community and bring people together.
This is the second Little Free Library for Jesse Keen Elementary sponsored by the Westgate Central Neighborhood. After a lot of effort and work put in by the Westgate Central Neighborhood Association, school faculty and the Neighborhood Outreach Office, the students now have a easily accessible Little Free Library right at the student walkers entrances where they can take and leave books. These have been a success so far and we hope to work with the L.F.L. Subcommittee of the N.A.C. to help distribute many more.
President: Shirley Pickett