New signs marking Lakeland neighborhoods are popping up in different parts of the city. The signs are designed to reflect the character of each neighborhood, according to Lynne Simpkins, who retired last week after 33 years as a Lakeland city planner.
Signs are provided by the city of Lakeland as new neighborhoods form associations, she said. Currently there are 25 neighborhoods registered with the city. In addition, some older signs have been replaced recently.
Simpkins worked with the various neighborhood associations, which have come together under the umbrella of the Neighborhood Association Coalition since 1999. Twenty identified neighborhoods in Lakeland have yet to form city-recognized associations.
The signs, she said, “enhance the identity of the neighborhood.”
“I wanted to enhance branding for our neighborhood associations,” Simpkins said.
The typical cost for a sign is around $2,300, including design, the physical sign and installation, Simpkins says.
The signs are funded through the Neighborhood Preservation Fund, which is used primarily to finance projects that preserve the integrity of neighborhoods.
The designs are unique to location, and some are designed by the respective neighborhoods. Camphor Heights in southwest Lakeland is one of the newer registered districts and received its sign in February. The sign was designed by resident and local artist Josh “Bump” Galletta:
The Lakeshore association also created its own sign, designed by Janine Callahan. The residents digitized their artwork themselves and were also involved in roduction. “They wanted to make sure what they had didn’t break,” Simpkins said.
The registration of neighborhoods is completed through the Neighborhood Outreach Office, and includes incentives, such as toppers on street signts and the new neigborhood signs.
Simpkins made it clear the registered neighborhoods are not home owner associations. “All it means is that you work with our office, you have … contact with us,” Simpkins said.
“Most of our neighborhood names are after a major street in that area,” Simpkins said. This includes areas like Cleveland Heights, Cumberland and Biltmore.
MAP: View a searchable map showing the boundaries of Lakeland’s neighborhoods.
Simpkins said unregistered neighborhoods “absolutely” have the option to become registered, which is done by contacting the Neighborhood Outreach Office. Some well-known areas, such as Lake Hollingsworth, have not formed neighborhood associations. But Simpkins said this is not surprising as a primary purpose for registering is to amplify the voices of less-known neighborhoods.
“Registered neighborhoods work better for those that feel like they aren’t having constant contact with the city of Lakeland,” Simpkins said.