City Commissioner Michael Dunn is pushing an idea he heard on the campaign trail last year: that people be allowed to carry alcoholic drinks from bar to bar downtown. Bay News 9 talked to a bar owner who was excited by the idea, but the director of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority questions the idea because of unintended consequences it would bring. Before Dunn was elected, his wife sparked the move that led to Sunday morning alcohol sales in Lakeland when she told the City Commission that people should be able to order mimosas at brunch before noon.
Travis, 36, moves from director of the Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency to the $128k job. An economic development emphasis has been added since the retirement of her predecessor, Jim Studiale.
Retired productivity consultant Michael Maguire started a discussion at City Hall last week when he suggested that the city’s proceeds from red-light camera fines be spent to bolster established arts organizations through grants. City commissioners then shared their own ideas for how to spend the fine money now that the Florida Supreme Court has upheld red-light camera use.
ALSO: Read Maguire’s presentation | Watch video of the City Commission discussion.
One person who works for the city of Lakeland, two who work elsewhere in Florida and one from Ohio are finalists to become the city of Lakeland’s new community development director, replacing Jim Studiale, who retired in October. All four candidates are being interviewed this week, and City Manager Tony Delgado said he should make a selection by the first week of June.
A six-day-a-week food truck park combined with a small dog park and a comfortable bar is a Lakeland agency’s latest idea to continue redeveloping the Parker Street neighborhood just north of downtown.
That idea came a bit closer to reality Thursday when a city board made a formal recommendation that Lakeland’s Community Redevelopment Agency spend up to $440,000 to convert the lot at the northwest corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Parker Street into a public gathering space centered around food trucks.
- City commissioners seeking greater residential density near downtown asked their staff to look into the issue last year.
- The recommendations the staff returned included raising height limits for multi-family buildings in places like the Lake Morton District and Dixieland from 40 feet to 70 feet.
- Residents of those neighborhoods registered intense displeasure in community meetings, saying high-rise apartments would damage the historic character of the surroundings.
- As a result, the staff changed their recommendation for height limits to 55 feet.
- The Lakeand Planning and Zoning Board approved the compromise height in a 4-2 vote Tuesday.
- Next: The issue goes back to the City Commission.
- Epilogue: The commissioners who spoke most passionately about increasing urban density are no longer on the board.
- View video highlights of the planning meeting on The City Zen Ship and read the planning staff’s most recent report here.
The utility says its call system doesn’t allow directing Spanish-speaking callers to its four bilingual service representatives, so those calls go to an outside service that charges by the minute for translation into Spanish and other languages. Wait times would have to increase if callers had to hold until a Spanish-speaking Lakeland Electric employee was free to answer, the city utility adds.
When Lakeland city commissioners decided last week to move a 26-foot Confederate monument from Munn Park to Veterans Park, they specified that the costs would need to be paid via private donations rather than city funds. A GoFundMe campaign was set up and had $25 toward a $150,000 goal tonight.