- STATE GRANTS: Thirteen projects in Polk County will benefit from $6.2 million in federally funded grants that were approved by the Florida Legislative Budget Committee. The biggest Lakeland projects are $950,000 for the first phase of an education center at the city’s Se7en Wetlands Park and $457,500 for a life skills house at Southeastern University’s school for special-needs secondary students.
- PICKLEBALL: Three of the eight tennis courts at the Kelly Rec Center will be converted for pickelball, under a provision of the 2022-2023 budget that will be considered by Lakeland city commissioners later this month.
The city gives and the city takes away. The City Commission this week unanimously voted to replace 10-cents-a-day late fees for library books, and also to begin charging youth athletic organizations $10 per child per season for sports participation on city fields, beginning in January. They will formally vote on the matters as part of their annual budget process later this month. More
Youth athletic leagues that use city of Lakeland playing fields would start paying the city a fee — $10 per player per season — under a schedule of parks and recreation fees that city commissioners will consider on Tuesday. Neighboring cities and Polk County already have fees in place that are the same price or higher, Parks and Rec Director Bob Donahay told commissioners Friday. Some other fee increases for using city facilities mirror the Consumer Price Index increase, which was 8.5% for the 12 months ending in July, The Ledger reports. No increases are planned for most rec center uses. | View the full list of proposed increases
A rendering shown to city commissioners on Friday gives the public a glimpse of the design being considered for a large new park planned for Southwest Lakeland at Pipkin and Medulla roads near Lakeland Linder International Airport. More
The developers of Bonnet Springs Park are asking the city of Lakeland for a $399,601 reduction in the price of city-owned land that will be used to support the park, and several city commissioners today appeared ready to grant that request when they vote on it Monday. More
Retired Lakeland Parks and Recreation Director Bill Tinsley showed off the transformation of the Bonnet Springs Park property on Thursday afternoon like a proud parent shows off a newborn baby. More
The city of Lakeland’s Cleveland Heights Golf Course has attracted a growing number of golfers in the last three years, with year-to-date rounds rising nearly 25%, The Ledger reports. The accompanying increase in revenue means city government’s expected subsidy of the golf course will be $500,000 next year, nearly half the 2019 level and the lowest in 10 years.
It’s been a relatively mild winter, even by Florida standards, and warm, sunny days with temperatures in the low 90s are forecast for Central Florida in the coming week. But already one of Lakeland’s 37 named lakes is showing signs of heat stress with the Florida Department of Health in Polk County issuing a health alert Monday after blue-green algae toxins were found in samples collected from Lake Crago on Feb. 15. More
Lakeland city commissioners today waded into the emotionally charged issue of duck hunting on city lakes after getting emails from residents along Lake Parker who complained of recent pre-dawn shotgun blasts near their homes and a city recreation trail that skirts the lake. More
A proposed recreational trail along the west side of Lake Hunter should use boardwalks to take walkers, joggers and bicyclists over the water instead of hugging the shoreline next to a busy roadway, even if it means the city of Lakeland supplements the project’s state funding, Mayor Bill Mutz said Friday. More