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(210) stories found containing 'lake wales connected'


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  • Slaton a Finalist for New Smyrna Beach Position, Gets High Marks From Treasure Island Commission in New Job Search

    Robert Connors|Updated May 18, 2024

    Lake Wales City manager James is among a group of five finalists and two alternates that have been winnowed from a long list of candidates being considered for the city manager's job there following a Thursday evening special meeting of the beach town's city commission. The discussion among that city's board focused on the mechanisms that will be employed in interviewing the candidates, some of whom come from distant states and will fly in to inte4rviews. Discussion within...

  • McLaughlin Campus "Forest" Dedicated to Memory of Alex Wheeler

    News Staff Reports|Updated May 10, 2024

    A celebration of life for a beloved community leader was combined with a celebration of new life recently as the staff of McLaughlin Middle/High School joined volunteers from Lake Wales Heritage to mark the dedication of 40 trees planted on the Lake Wales school campus. The trees were a gift from Lake Wales Heritage and its supporters in honor of the late Lee A. (Alex) Wheeler, who served as treasurer for the non-profit organization. Wheeler, who died in 2020, was also a...

  • Park Avenue Streetscape Project Advances, Only Tip of the Vast Connected Plan Effort

    Robert Connors|Updated May 6, 2024

    A new Park Avenue is steadily emerging in downtown Lake Wales as work continues on the first phase of a multi-million dollar reimagining of the city's heart. The ongoing work is creating a shady pedestrian oasis in the heart of the city, replete with rows of spreading live oaks, new benches, lighting, wider sidewalks, and brick-paved streets and parking areas. The stretch of Park Avenue between First and Market streets is rapidly nearing completion, offering business owners an...

  • Slaton Seeking Manager's Job in New Smyrna Beach

    Robert Connors|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    Lake Wales City Manager James Slaton is on a short list of finalists under consideration to serve as city manager of New Smyrna Beach. Two Lake Wales city commissioners reached by Lake Wales News were unaware, and withheld comment. Slaton, 46, has managed the city for almost four years after the prior city manager, Ken Fields, was forced to resign by unhappy commissioners. Slaton was offered the job in October 2020 after having served as an interim manager for over five months...

  • City Commission Votes Down Lake Alta High-Density Residential Project

    Robert Connors|Updated Apr 17, 2024

    A proposal that some city commissioners and staff saw as the best opportunity so far to implement the Lake Wales Envisioned plan died Tuesday night on a 3-2 vote. The concept of a 24-unit single-family community on a 1.46 acre parcel generated intense opposition from residents of the neighborhood, located around the 3.566 acre Lake Alta Park. Commissioners received a letter signed by two dozen of them asking that the proposal be denied, and multiple speakers had criticized the...

  • City Anticipates $23 Million Grant to Complete "Connected" Project

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Apr 2, 2024

    A grant application for the "Complete Streets redesign of remaining portions of 1st Street, Central Avenue, and Lincoln Avenue" has been given a high probability of success by a grant consultant working for the City of Lake Wales. The application seeks 100 percent funding for the redesign and reconstruction of most of First Street North, Lincoln Avenue, and single blocks of Central Avenue and A Street. The total project costs included in the application are $22,930,000, which...

  • Court Clears Path for Redevelopment of Walesbilt Hotel, Rules in Favor of City

    Suzie Schottelkotte and Robert Connors|Updated Mar 12, 2024
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    BARTOW - A Circuit Court ruling Thursday has set the stage for reverting ownership of the historic Walesbilt Hotel in Lake Wales back to the city, ending a years-long legal battle for control of the 10-story building. Circuit Judge William T. Sites ruled that the current owner, Dixie-Walesbilt LLC's Raymond Brown, fraudulently induced the city into contracting with him to redevelop the property, and ultimately to sign the deed over to Brown, according to the ruling. The...

  • Lake Wales Has a Good "Squeeze" Coming

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Feb 17, 2024

    In an effort to help address the need for transportation around the downtown area, City Manager James Slaton and staff have brought another solution forward. The "Squeeze" is an eight-passenger open vehicle which has already proven successful in downtown Lakeland, according to Erin Killebrew, who presented the concept during a special presentation to the Community Redevelopment Agency board. The proposal would provide the vehicle as a free service to riders needing to move...

  • Downtown to Resound With Free Lake Wales Live Concert Series

    Special to the News|Updated Feb 5, 2024

    Music and entertainment fans will welcome the news of a sensational series of free Friday night concerts that promise to infuse the community with camaraderie, live music, and entertainment. The series is planned for Orange Avenue in the heart of Downtown Lake Wales. The new Friday Night Live series is a collaboration of the Lake Wales Arts Council with the City of Lake Wales and Lake Wales Main Street. The Arts Council "is delighted to unveil the much-anticipated Lake Wales...

  • West Park Avenue Reopens to Traffic, East Park Closes as Project Advances

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Feb 2, 2024

    While the ribbon-cutting and dedication of the newly reconstructed portions of Park Avenue and First Street remains in the planning stage, the newly-completed stretches of West Park Avenue and North First Street are now open to two-way traffic. The opening comes concurrent with the closure of the eastern portion of Park Avenue, a situation expected to last most of the year as the pavement is removed, utilities upgraded, and new sidewalks and brick streets are installed. Shoppe...

  • 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...

  • More Public Parking Downtown is Goal of CRA Purchase

    Robert Connors|Updated Jan 13, 2024

    More convenient public parking downtown, the subject of repeated merchant requests, will be addressed soon, according to city officials. Converting a private parking lot to a city-owned facility is on the agenda of the next meeting of the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment Agency The board will consider the purchase of the privately-owned lot at the corner of Park Avenue and First Street at their January 9 meeting. The move is viewed as part of the ongoing reinvigoration...

  • 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...

  • Days Are Numbered for Grove Manor Public Housing Project as Federal Tax Credits Granted

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    Hopes for the compete removal and replacement of the aging Grove Manor public housing complex in Lake Wales took a major step toward reality with the recent awarding of federal income tax credits worth over $21 million that will fund the project. The announcement from City manager James Slaton brought joy to city commissioners and residents attending the weekly city commission meeting. Commissioners had agreed more than a year ago to contribute a million dollars from the...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Historic Woman's Club Auditorium to Receive CRA Help

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Nov 29, 2023

    A CRA grant will help a local not-for-profit save an aging historic building that serves as an important civic space in downtown Lake Wales. The Lake Wales Woman's Club was awarded a $50,000 grant that will help the 100-year-old organization pay for a new roof for their auditorium at 275 East Park Avenue. The funds will also help remediate mold, according to CRA staff. The grant meets three of the goals cited in the Lake Wales Connected plan recommendations, Assistant City...

  • 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...

  • Free Downtown Concert Series Starts Friday, November 10

    Special to the News|Updated Nov 1, 2023

    A series of free downtown street concerts will enliven evenings downtown over the coming months, thanks to an alliance between the Lake Wales main Street, Lake Wales Arts Council, and the City of Lake Wales. The shows kick-off with the Outta Hand Band on Friday, November 10. "Lake Wales Live" will offer residents good reason to visit the downtown area, and perhaps get a sneak peek at the ongoing transformation of the area as the Lake Wales Connected plan proceeds, according to...

  • City Fills Vacant Horticulturist Position As Downtown Tree Planting Approaches

    News Staff Reports|Updated Oct 23, 2023

    As the City of Lake Wales prepares to begin a major tree-planting effort as part of the Lake Wales Connected effort, a long-vacant horticulturist spot has been filled by a long-time Lakeland gardening expert. Kevin Polk, a certified horticulturist who spent several years supervising the landscape at the City of Lakeland's Hollis Gardens, will take the reins overseeing plans to revive the landscapes in the city's historic core. After spending years reviving the 1928 landscape...

  • New Brick Street Will Dress Up Park Avenue

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Oct 7, 2023
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    The multi-million-dollar reconstruction of Park Avenue is proceeding close to schedule, as evidenced by the hard-working crews who have been seen laying the thousands of bricks that will eventually form the surface of the new street and parking spaces. The new high-quality clay-brick pavers were selected as the most durable and traditional surface for the project after a study by engineers and architects involved in the design of the project, an early phase of the multi-phase...

  • City's Growth Management Efforts Get New Leadership

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 28, 2023

    As the City of Lake Wales faces an onslaught of development proposals totaling more than 14,000 residential units, a responsive city government is making the needed adjustments to meet the challenge. Veteran planner Brian Herrmann has recently been hired to head the city's Growth Management division, a department formerly known as "Development Services." The department name change is reflection of the determination of city leadership to cope and direct the unstoppable pressure...

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