Effort to Attract Daily Air Service Taking Off
Efforts to attract daily airline service to Lakeland Linder Airport got a boost when city commissioners pledged up to $1 million in red-light camera fines to a minimum revenue guarantee for any airline that is ultimately attracted. Airport leaders are looking to the private sector, state government and other cities for the rest of the $4 million needed for the escrow fund.
Rocky Horror Skit Draws Apologies
Accusations flew after two actors simulated a Trump assassination during pre-show skits at the annual Rocky Horror Picture Show extravaganza at the Polk Theatre. The theater apologized. The event’s promoters said they told the actors to cut the scene. The actors said no such order was given. We don’t know what really happened, but we suspect next year’s fundraising event will get tighter pre-show scrutiny.
Selvage Returns As City Plans a Special Election
Less than a year after he voluntarily left the Lakeland City Commission, Don Selvage is back. He was selected to serve the unexpired term of Michael Dunn until a special election is held Jan. 15. Dunn resigned after he was indicted for second-degree murder in a case involving a man shot while trying to leave Dunn’s store with a stolen hatchet. Selvage said he will not run in the election.
At 94, Terrace Hotel Is Readied For Its Closeup
Two decades after it was restored and re-opened, the 94-year-old, eight-story Terrace Hotel is getting an exterior makeover. The $2 million project is backed by the same investment group assembled by Lakeland native Rob Scharar that bankrolled the downtown landmark’s $7 million restoration. Work is expected to be completed by summer.
South Lakeland May Get an Emergency Room
A company called Zack 1030 has bought property across Florida Avenue from Merchants Walk and filed a permit application showing they plan to place a free-standing emergency room there. Disclosure of the plans, first reported by Tampa Bay Business Journal, prompted Facebook comments from people fearing more traffic on Florida Avenue and Eastway Drive.
Florida Southern’s New Mascot: Building Crane
The building boom continues at Florida Southern College. Rodda Construction is building a home for the new Doctor of Physical Therapy program on Florida Avenue near Ridgewood Street and an expanded Computer Sciences program at Lake Hollingsworth Drive and Callahan Court. Coming soon: Apartments at Ingraham Avenue and Palmetto Street.
Music Venue Coming to Dixieland
In the last couple of years, LkldLive and Hillcrest Coffee emerged as listening rooms where the focus was more on the musicians than the food, beverages or conversation. Soon they will be joined by Union Hall at 1023 S. Florida Avenue in Dixieland. Musician Dan Signor, who will run the venue, plans to book national acts as well as showcase local talent. Also, The Poor Porker recently reopened with a revitalized performance space.
Free Downtown Valet Expands to Some Afternoons
Valet parking in downtown Lakeland is expanding; it’s free and now available at lunchtime Wednesdays through Fridays as well as Friday and Saturday evenings. Drop off your car at the Tennessee Avenue side of the Munn Park parking lot; when you’re finishing up, send a text and your car is delivered to your location. As always, tips are appreciated by the drivers.
Tapestries Seen As a Step Toward Building Murals
Lakeland has been slower than some cities in adopting the murals-on-buildings craze, but artist/promoter David Collins devised a stepping stone: tapestries. He recruited 43 local artists and secured funding to paint 65 tapestries on large canvases; they were installed on buildings throughout central Lakeland last month. Coming soon: a mobile map showing all the tapestry locations.
Cannabis-Tracking Firm Wins Major Funding
Lakeland-based Metrc, whose RFID technology helps regulators in 11 states track the marijuana supply chain, has received $50 million in funding from two companies, including Snoop Dogg’s cannabis-focused Casa Verde Capital. Metrc is a subsidiary of Franwell, whose headquarters are on Drane Field Road, and has become a major player in tracing legal pot from plants to products.