Sign Marking Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center Awaits Funds

flwsquareA letter to the editor in The Ledger on Tuesday raised an interesting question: Why isn’t there a sign marking the new Frank Lloyd Wright visitor center at Florida Southern College?

The out-of-town letter writer, miffed that the building was hard to find, said that she had been told by an attendant at the center that “the city” had refused permission for a sign.

A sign sounds reasonable, so I checked with the Lakeland Community Development Department to see why a sign had been denied.

It turned out that “the city” had approved a sign for the welcome center at the northeast corner of Frank Lloyd Wright and Johnson Avenue.

A series of letters from October 2014 between city planners and FSC vice president Terry Dennis reveal negotiations and agreement over the sign design.

“We approved a low sign on a low wall with large letters,” city planning chief Jim Studiale said via email this week in response to questions from lkldnow. “We did work closely with Terry Dennis in getting it tasteful but themed well with the site improvements.”

So why is there no sign yet?

I reached out to Dennis and he confirmed the approval is in place. “We worked closely with staff and the Preservation Board to design signage for the site that is appropriate for the Sharp Tourism and Education Center, but will also blend in well with the surrounding mix of college and residential structures,” he wrote in an email.

The visitor center and its improvements have been funded by special gifts, grants or revenue from the center, and no student tuition revenue has been used, Dennis said.

“Our final phase, to include the signage, is currently ready to begin, as soon as the dollars are in place to proceed,” he said.