Lakeland city commissioners and their top staff spent the better part of eight hours today previewing potential new projects for 2020. Commissioners liked most of what they saw but rejected a few projects and trimmed others. Here are some highlights as seen by posts on Twitter:

City commissioners and their staff are beginning a full-day planning retreat at @RPFundingCenter to preview big projects for the coming year.
✓ Watch online: https://t.co/k7wkg9NZT5
✓ Agenda: https://t.co/9oosBd54Gu
✓ Slides: https://t.co/448fFydBuv#lkld

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

NOTE: You can now review video of Tuesday’s proceedings.

Transportation Planner Chuck Barmby discussing future parking garage development on surface lot on the east side of @LakelandPD. Optimal development of garage would be a public-private scenario. #lkld

— City of Lakeland (@lakelandgov) May 7, 2019

Schedule for parking garage is RFP/RFQ for FY20 with possible construction in FY21. Community Development asking for $15K to put RFP/RFQ together during the FY20 budget. #lkld

— City of Lakeland (@lakelandgov) May 7, 2019

Teresa Maio from Community and Economic Development is reviewing strategies for affordable housing. #lkld pic.twitter.com/NMVldqoKET

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

City has multiple properties suitable for affordable housing, including a half-block west of Lake Beulah, Maio tells commissioners. #lkld pic.twitter.com/xABSz8DMOg

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Community and Economic Development Director Nicole Travis discusses funding options for infrastructure to stimulate economic development at downtown “catalyst sites.” Options: municipal service taxing unit, bonds, millage increase. #lkld pic.twitter.com/46D21JYnzb

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

City staff forecast five-year economic impacts if catalyst areas are completed:
✓ Sports & Entertainment: $3.5B
✓ Gateway Corporate Park: $5.1B
✓ Massachusetts Ave. Corridor: $1.18B – $2.5B
(more images in next tweet)#lkld pic.twitter.com/lXvuxv0hnk

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Economic impact projections of downtown catalyst sites, continued.#lkld pic.twitter.com/fzYPaVTiTG

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Mayor @DozenDad Mutz on downtown infrastructure funding: “World-class, vibrant cities have to take risks.” Developers need to know City Commission will commit funding and effective city planning. (City staff seeks $2.5M in fiscal 2020 for catalyst sites.) #lkld

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Commissioner @JustinTroller: Public needs to be heard on downtown investment. A property tax increase would be a very hard sell, he says. Staff responds that they’re looking at a multitude of funding options other than direct taxing. #lkld

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Jason Willey, City New Business Manager going over incentives and how they work for warehouse, office & manufacturing sectors. Incentives typically result in new businesses calling Lakeland home. #lkld pic.twitter.com/2Ig7U3sKtr

— City of Lakeland (@lakelandgov) May 7, 2019

Jason Willey, the city’s corporate development specialist, says the city has sufficient incentives for warehouses and offices, but needs more incentives for manufacturing, small business and entrepreneurs. #lkld

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Willey discusses the types of incentives that might be used for manufacturing, small biz and entrepreneurs. #lkld pic.twitter.com/s7UdXmeOKp

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

All seven city commissioners express a desire to continue discussing spending up to $500,000 next year for new business incentives. #lkld

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Development in SW #lkld shown in the red circles points to road/transportation improvements that will be needed, planner Chuck Barmby says. Some of the priority projects include the South Wabash extension, Waring Road corridor and Drane Field Road. #lkld pic.twitter.com/YgSGKJJhPQ

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

The city is still pushing for an upgrade of the I-4 exit 38 interchange (the northernmost of the two SR 33 exits), Barmby says. #lkld pic.twitter.com/Re5NNpdRpA

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

City is determining options to fund an extension of South Wabash to provide another north-south corridor. #lkld pic.twitter.com/FEuBn2P1pU

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Commissioner McCarley and Mayor @DozenDad Mutz both sharing the concern over infrastructure and the need to invest in roads/transportation. #lkld

— City of Lakeland (@lakelandgov) May 7, 2019

Commissioners get a look at the master plan for upgrades to @FlyLakeland aka Lakeland Linder International Airport. #lkld pic.twitter.com/jBJqMAZx0n

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Mark Raiford, Purchasing Manager for the City of Lakeland is going over proposed local vendor preference. Right now local vendors get a 2% differential up to $10,000. #lkld

— City of Lakeland (@lakelandgov) May 7, 2019

City is considering changing its rules for local preference in the bidding/purchasing process. A citizen’s survey is planned for May/June. Commissioners will look at the results in July and then decide if local business impact is worth the extra cost to taxpayers. #lkld pic.twitter.com/bW5uNLNKoN

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

City attorney: Courts have upheld local preferences, but from a legal standpoint, he’s not a fan. “The thing that gives me pause is you have not discussed any cap.” Wants to avoid a large amount that might make commissioners regret not having a cap on extra costs.

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Purchasing manager Mark Raiford points out that the largest difference between a low bid and the next-low bid from a local vendor in last 2.5 years is $57,387. #lkld https://t.co/igOfJnoayg pic.twitter.com/H05ZSZT4fw

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Lakeland’s fire chief is making the case for relocating station 3. It’s at the southern end of the coverage area, and highest volume of calls are well to the north. Distance and traffic dampen response times north of I-4. Goal: Explore options. No cost assigned yet. #lkld pic.twitter.com/DBZOq19NBu

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

@LakelandFD Chief Riley states that moving LFD Station 3 north of I4 saves the community from building two stations. #lkld

— City of Lakeland (@lakelandgov) May 7, 2019

Commissioner @JustinTroller: “We have to be careful explaining why we’re moving a fire station out of the community and explain why it benefits the whole community.” Chief responds: A station near I-4 and US 98 would yield good responses throughout the district. #lkld

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Chief: We’re looking for a location a little north of I-4. If the station is too far north, it repeats the same problem for the south end of the district. #lkld

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Ruben Garcia, @LakelandPD chief, would like to expand neighborhood liaison units but acknowledges a competing need for school resource officers. #lkld pic.twitter.com/KcCAy0ifn5

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Parks Director Bob Donahay is laying out the case for clay tennis court. Currently Lakeland’s 10 clay courts are at private clubs. Initial plan converts 8 of the 37 city paved courts to clay and adds 11 new clay courts. Converted courts: 4 at Beerman; 4 at Kelly Rec. #lkld pic.twitter.com/42rTQhEBuw

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

City commissioners are not ready to proceed with clay tennis court. They opposed moving forward in a 5-2 vote. #lkld https://t.co/TrkXOcHmz0

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Commissioners discuss options to expand Police Athletic League youth facilities. Several favor expanding current facility at 325 W. 2nd St. or moving to Fire Station 3 assuming that moves. City considering partnerships to fund the expansion. #lkld pic.twitter.com/1VXuZhwvm9

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

On Police Athletic League, commission consensus is to work with PAL board to form partnerships with various businesses and organizations to fund facility expansion. #lkld

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Traffic/parking chief Angelo Rao is talking about the benefits of placing wayfaring signs to get people to and around downtown. A design consultant is expected to cost $25k to $45k. Signs can be fabicated in-house for about $95 each. #lkld pic.twitter.com/EpxVJs6l4v

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Cost to fabricate and install downtown wayfaring signs varies from $170 to $595 each. A 54-sign system ranges from $9.2k to $32k. #lkld pic.twitter.com/MG5iXceqg2

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Rao talked about the possibility of adding “parklets” to expand downtown business spaces to adjacent parking spots. Only commission comment was from Stephanie Madden, who said she loves them. #lkld pic.twitter.com/ruFjmnYd64

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

On wayfaring signs, commission prefers some of the work be done in house and in consultation with the LDDA to reduce cost from $45k to $25k. #lkld

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Rao presents the possibility of improving lighting in Munn Park for downtown events. Cost estimated at $40k. The big unknown is whether underground infrastructure improvements are needed, he said. #lkld pic.twitter.com/MBnuIOT7fn

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Commissioners Madden and Troller say they thought previous discussions were about stringing lights across streets and alleys, not confining decorative lighting to Munn Park. #lkld https://t.co/SuWuuBMwTE

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Commissioner McCarley agrees that she thought previous discussion was about stringing lights above places like North Kentucky Avenue. LDDA’s Julie Townsend said those can be done via building owners cooperating with one another, not necessarily a City Hall initiative. https://t.co/Ee8hMLqA4Y

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

Commission direction on downtown lighting: Work with LDDA to discuss where downtown lighting should be enhanced and what outlet upgrades are needed. #lkld

— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) May 7, 2019

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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