Communication Builds Our Community

(85) stories found containing 'envisioned'


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  • Two More Large Tracts of Land Nominated for Preservation Near Lake Wales

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Apr 8, 2024

    The vision of a "Big Green Network" of environmental lands flanking Lake Wales to the east and west moved a small step closer to reality this week as Polk County's environmental lands program addressed the possibility of acquiring a large tract of land just northeast of the city. The expanse of lands totaling 1,195 acres spanning Masterpiece Road and partially surrounding the former Masterpiece Gardens tourist attraction belong to corporations or individual members of the...

  • Lake Wales Growth Manager Autumn Cochella Resigns

    Frank Butler and Howard Davies|Updated Apr 5, 2024

    Lake Wales' Interim Growth Management Director Autumn Cochella has announced her decision to step down from her role effective April 12. Her announcement may have come at an inopportune moment as the city commission is currently contemplating the adoption of new ordinances governing Planned Development Projects and Traditional Neighborhood Design. Cochella was appointed to the interim position in January 2023 after the resignation of former director Mark Bennett. A...

  • The News Recommends: Carol Gillespie for Seat 4 on Lake Wales City Commission

    News Editorial Board|Updated Mar 26, 2024

    Lake Wales voters will have significant choices to make in two races for the Lake Wales City Commission on April 2, choosing from among candidates who offer sharp differences in their approaches to governing and attitudes toward the challenges confronting the city. All city voters are eligible to cast ballots in the non-partisan district 2 and 4 races. The district 4 race presents voters with the starkest choice in many years as incumbent Danny Krueger faces a challenge from...

  • The News Recommends: Brandon Alvarado for City Commission Seat 2

    News Editorial Board|Updated Mar 26, 2024
    1

    An April 2 day of decision is upon Lake Wales voters, who have significant choices among candidates who offer sharp differences in their approaches to governing and attitudes toward the challenges confronting the city. All city voters are eligible to cast ballots in the non-partisan district 2 and 4 races. In the District 2 race, Daniel Williams is facing two challengers in Brandon Alvarado and Crystal Higbee. On a city commission that has been criticized as failing to...

  • More Than 15,660 New Homes Approved By Lake Wales City Commissioners, Expected to Host 42,000 New Residents

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 12, 2024
    2

    A population boom is expected in Lake Wales in coming months and years as design work or construction is advancing for at least 40 projects within the city limits, in addition to others outside the city. A LakeWalesNews.net calculation shows a total of more than 15,660 new residential units have already met some level of approval by the city commission, with many having already received final plat approval for construction, even as other projects are nearing completion. If the...

  • Incumbents Are No-Shows at Commission Election Forum

    Robert Connors, managing Editor|Updated Mar 6, 2024
    2

    Three challengers seeking two seat on the Lake Wales City Commission held the stage at a Monday evening candidates forum after both incumbents failed to show up for the 90-minute event. The election is four weeks away, slated for Tuesday, April 2. Carol Gillespie, seeking seat 4 on the five-person commission, along with Brandon Alvarado and Crystal Higbee, both seeking seat 2, shared their ideas and responded to questions from the audience at the forum sponsored by the...

  • Lake Alta Proposal Modified by Developer, No Longer Impacts Park

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Feb 17, 2024

    A development proposal adjacent to Lake Alta on the near north side of Lake Wales has been modified by the developer in an apparent attempt to reach a compromise with neighboring residents. Growth Management Division Director Autumn Cochella attended a Community Redevelopment Agency meeting this week to explain to commissioners that developer J. Walter Homes will bring a new proposal back to the city's Planning and Zoning Board at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27, calling...

  • Lake Wales Documentary Selected for Film Festival

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Feb 5, 2024

    A documentary film about the creation of the Lake Wales Envisioned planning process has been selected for screening at the annual Redfish festival in Panama City, FL. The film, produced by Lee Dover of the Dover, Kohl & Partners planning film, is a recap of the effort and results of the six-month community-wide effort that resulted in a "roadmap" that may help prevent sprawling residential developments from overwhelming the city in the future. Numerous local residents and...

  • Carol Gillespie Announces Run For City Commission Seat 4

    News Staff Reports|Updated Jan 19, 2024

    A second candidate has announced her intention to seek a seat on the Lake Wales City Commission in the Tuesday, April 2 election, which will see two candidates elected to new three-year terms. Carol Gillespie, a resident of Lake Ashton, will seek the north-side seat 4 currently held by Danny Krueger. Candidates must live within their district but are chosen in non-partisan, city-wide votes. If elected, she would be the only woman on the five-person commission. Gillespie's...

  • Steeple Chase, Iron Mountain Residential Developments Advance With Approvals

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    Two new large residential developments moved closer to reality this month as the Lake Wales City Commission voted to advance their plans. Steeple Chase, a Planned Development Project (PDP) received a Special Exception Use Permit and a preliminary subdivision Plat. The project encompasses 250 single-family detached lots and 68 townhome units on about 98 acres of former citrus land along the north and east sides of Ridge Manor. Lying adjacent to Scenic Highway on the west, the p...

  • Heritage Volunteers Landscape McLaughlin Campus in Driving Rain

    News Staff Reports|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    Lake Wales got a good bit greener last Saturday, not only because of welcome rains, but due to the efforts of a team of volunteers from Lake Wales Heritage who braved the damp to landscape the campus of McLaughlin Middle/High School. In a six-hour effort the group planted more than 40 trees on school grounds. "It was a day of bonding for the volunteers, a really rainy day" for the thoroughly saturated group of volunteers, said Heritage Vice President Ron Poller. "It was an...

  • Split Vote by Commission Denies Development a Second Time

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    A previously-denied development proposal was turned down a second time by a 3-2 vote of the Lake Wales City Commission after the engineers and planners failed to meet the city's criteria of a "superior" residential development. Developers of the project, known simply as "Oak Development," applied for status as a Planned Development Project, or PDP, to allow sharply increased density from the underlying R-1 zoning. The PDP approval would allow the developer to define 64 lots...

  • Lake Wales Continues to Draw National Attention for Envisioned Planning

    Robert Connors|Updated Dec 22, 2023

    Lake Wales has once again been featured in a major publication citing the pioneering planning work contained in Lake Wales Envisioned. That document, funded by the city of Lake Wales, is a comprehensive road map to a future that promises less impact from growth and a more habitable city. An article that in the online magazine Public Square says that "Lake Wales, Florida, has adopted a plan that puts active mobility at the heart of day-to-day life." Entitled "Planning a City...

  • Brandon Alvarado to Seek Seat on City Commission

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Dec 22, 2023

    With only four months to go before Lake Wales voters will choose two candidates to serve on the city commission, the first challenger has announced his intention to win a three-year term on the five-member board. Lifelong resident Brandon Alvarado will seek the district two seat currently held by Daniel Williams. Alvarado, 27, is deeply engaged in civic organizations and in his announcement, he touts his experience as an example of his commitment to the city. "My experience wo...

  • Friedlander Ranch May Become Part of Envisioned Plan's "Big Green Network"

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Dec 11, 2023

    The realization of a "Big Green Network" of environmental lands that will forever form limits to the potential urbanization of the Lake Wales area drew a step closer this week. Lifelong Lake Wales resident and member of a pioneer family, Edwin Friedlander has offered his 749-acre ranch property for acquisition through the Polk Forever program, approved by voters in 2022. The property was assessed by a "technical advisory team" before being approved by the Conservation Lands...

  • Businesses Remain Open as West Park Avenue Transformed into Shady Oasis by Construction

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Dec 6, 2023

    In nothing less than a transformation, the formerly dreary stretch of Park Avenue west of First Street is swiftly becoming an attractive green oasis intended to help draw pedestrian traffic to the heart of Lake Wales. The three-block-long stretch of the street west of Scenic Highway is the heart of the $20 million investment being made by the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment Agency to reinvigorate the city's urban core. Conceived as "Lake Wales Connected" by a team of...

  • Lake Wales Opportunities Highlighted in Documentary Film Premier

    Rachel Negrete, News Staff Writer|Updated Nov 6, 2023

    More than 80 community leaders and interested citizens were present Thursday night for the premier showing of the documentary film "Lake Wales Envisioned," which lays out the case for changes to development codes that may redefine future development in the rapidly-growing community. The film is among the final work products of the city-funded project known as Lake Wales Envisioned, an effort to guide the city through a future fraught with both opportunities and perils. The...

  • Drumgo Brings High Energy to City Administration

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Nov 6, 2023

    In the high-energy future facing Lake Wales there's little doubt that high-energy management is required to keep up. As Lake Wales faces a wave of growth, with about 15,000 new residences planned to be built here in the next several years, Assistant City Manager Deena Drumgo may be the ideal person to help the city face the challenges ahead. Drumgo, the former city manager of Dundee, came to Lake Wales from Winter Haven, where she oversaw that city's community redevelopment ag...

  • Public Health a Winner in Lake Wales Envisioned Plan

    John Simmerman, Active Towns Initiative|Updated Oct 24, 2023

    Editor's Note: This guest Commentary is the third of a series of guest editorials that will address the effort known as Lake Wales Envisioned. Public health will be a big winner if the Lake Wales City Commission adopts the Lake Wales Envisioned plan. It is a comprehensive, community-led vision for the next 10, 25, and 50 years that Olmsted would be proud of. As a health promotion professional with over 30 years of global experience focusing on the intersection of our built env...

  • Lake Wales Envisioned Adopted by City Commission

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Oct 23, 2023

    In a major step toward addressing the challenge presented by an enormous wave of growth, the Lake Wales city commission voted to adopt a resolution in support of the Lake Wales Envisioned plan. Facing development proposals that would readily triple the population of the city, the board had agreed to fund the planning study in January, leading to months of effort by planners, residents, and city staff. The project included numerous public meetings, open workshops, webinars,...

  • Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods Earns Three Stars

    Jennifer Nanek, News Film Critic|Updated Oct 19, 2023

    Zachary Levi is back as Shazam, a teenager, who can turn into an adult superhero, and his band of foster siblings who are trying to save the world from angry Greek gods. There's a lot of silliness in this as kids are trying to be grown ups in this superhero adventure. I laughed a lot at this. Some jokes are cheesy though. Helen Mirren, the Queen herself, and Lucy Liu are the villians in this. They play Daughters of Atlas trying to reclaim the world for themselves somehow. Ther...

  • 1000 Friends of Florida Endorses the Lake Wales Envisioned Plan

    Paul Owens, President, 1000 Friends of Florida|Updated Oct 12, 2023

    Editor's Note: This guest Commentary is the second of a series of guest editorials that will address the effort known as Lake Wales Envisioned. Since our founding in 1986, 1000 Friends of Florida has advocated citizen-driven planning to protect our state's environment and quality of life amid its rapid growth. That explains why we enthusiastically endorsed the Lake Wales Envisioned process from its launch last winter. And it's why we're now calling on city leaders to approve...

  • A "World Premiere" Screening of "Lake Wales Envisioned" Documentary Will Happen Thursday Night

    News Staff Reports|Updated Oct 7, 2023

    Community civic leaders and interested citizens are expected to gather Thursday evening to view the premiere screening of what is expected to be an influential documentary film introducing the work product of the Lake Wales Envisioned process. The event will begin at 7:00 at the Lake Wales Woman's Club Auditorium. The Envisioned planning effort grew from a desire by city leaders to better shape and guide the impact of dozens of development proposals that will include some 14,0...

  • Embrace Lake Wales Envisioned: A Model for the Nation

    Anne Neal Petri and Lucy Lawliss|Updated Oct 6, 2023

    Editor's Note: This guest Commentary, offered by two distinguished scholars of the works of the father and son who shared the honored name of Frederick Law Olmsted, is the first of a series of guest editorials that will address the effort known as Lake Wales Envisioned. A century ago, Lake Wales was in the news: The most famous landscape architect in America, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., was transforming one of Florida's highest points into Bok Tower Gardens, today a National...

  • County Approves Huge Development on Hatchineha Road

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 27, 2023

    On a split vote, Polk County Commissioners refused to overturn the narrow approval of a sprawling development on a rural two-lane road in eastern Polk County about ten miles northeast of Lake Wales. The Creek Ranch development required the approval of a binding site plan for the 1,289 acres of rural land to accommodate 1,876 homes plus commercial uses off Hatchineha Road. The site is mostly surrounded by conservation lands and lies north of Lake Pierce and east of Dundee. The...

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