Printing Press

TITL Voice Your Opinion On What Should Go In Munn Park E

The instant-analysis feedback loop of Facebook went into overdrive when Lakeland’s Downtown Development Authority suggested putting a carousel in the center of Munn Park as a draw for families. Residents will be able to express their opinions in person on what they’d like to see in Munn Park when the LDDA holds a public meeting/community conversation at the park on April 29 from 11 a.m to 8 p.m.


Citrus Connection Test Extends Hours Buses Run

Local buses will run later in the evening and earlier in the morning under a pilot project getting under way. Lakeland riders have asked the Citrus Connection to increase their options for getting to and from work. The tradeoff under the Re-Route 2020 plan is that some buses will run less frequently at mid-day. In addition, some routes are being consolidated, and color names will replace numbers.


Restaurants Expand International Options In Lakeland

New and announced restaurants are bringing an international palette of flavors to local palates. New: Puerto Rican holiday tastes at Antojitos Navideños on Robin Road and treats from Turkey at Berna’s Turkish Coffee House on South Florida Avenue. Announced: Latin fusion Nineteen61 is planning a move to the former home of Posto 9 downtown, and Curry Mango will fuse delicacies of India with American favorites near Mulberry.


Sensors Are Already Collecting Travel Data On Florida Avenue

It will probably be fall 2020 before transportation planners start a one-year test of a “road diet” on Florida Avenue, but they’re already collecting data. Eleven Bluetooth sensors are collecting speed and travel-time info in the Dixieland corridor. Traffic counters will be added as the city and state look at the impacts on safety, economic impact and impact on other roads as Florida Avenue’s five traffic lanes are reduced to three between Ariana and Lime streets.


Misunderstanding Prompted Artist to Remove Outdoor Tapestry

The maxim that art is in the eye of the beholder was tested by a tapestry hanging on a downtown building. Artist Aaron Corbitt voluntarily removed his 7-by-9-foot “The Fall of Dionysus” after several complaints that the painting appeared to be satanic. Critics thought the art had an irreverent religious theme, but it actually depicted the artist’s own struggle with internal and psychological demons.


City Commission Race Has Attracted Five Candidates

The next city election doesn’t take place until November, but one race has already attracted five candidates. That’s the race for the at-large City Commission seat currently held by Justin Troller, who has reached term limits. Candidates so far are public relations expert Chad McLeod, retired hospital executive Carole Philipson, tow service owner Ricky Shirah, educator Shandale Terrell, and entrepreneur Pablo Sologaistoa.


Downtown Garage Construction Is About to Start

Kentucky Avenue will close between Orange Street and Lemon Street starting May 1 for construction of the five-story Heritage Plaza parking garage, the city of Lakeland has announced. The closure is expected to last until the end of 2019. The 824-space downtown garage is a joint venture between the city of Lakeland, Lakeland Regional Health Systems, MidFlorida Credit Union and BKP Five LLC.


Unwanted Distinction: DUI Deaths Have Increased in Lakeland

The number of DUI deaths has increased here in recent years, according to a new report that ranks Lakeland as second in drunken-driving fatalities among Florida’s larger cities. With 19 DUI deaths between 2015 and 2017, Lakeland saw 6.5 deaths a year per 100,000 residents, according to a report compiled by the financial site ValuePenguin. Sarasota topped the list at 12.2 deaths per 100k.


Lakeland Electric Looks at Closing Coal-Fired Plant

It’s probably time to close the 37-year-old, coal-fired McIntosh Unit 3 power plant and replace the lost power with a new natural gas plant and an expansion of solar, Lakeland Electric chief Joel Ivy told city commissioners recently. A decision on the power plant’s future is tentatively scheduled for May 6, but it will take several years to get a replacement up and running.


School Safety: City Hiring Four New Resource Officers

The city of Lakeland plans to hire four more school resource officers to ensure someone is providing security against the possibility of a gunman while the officer usually assigned to the school is investigating a crime on campus or is out sick or on vacation. The city will pay for the costs for the rest of the current school year, but is asking if the School Board will pay 75 percent of the officers’ salaries in future years.


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