Communication Builds Our Community

(87) stories found containing 'lake wales envisioned'


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  • Lake Wales Envisioned Wins Another Award

    Special to the News|Updated Jul 2, 2024

    The community-developed Lake Wales Envisioned plan continues to receive accolades from organizations both in Florida and around the nation. In the latest announcement about the program, Lake Wales Envisioned has been chosen by the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA FL) for its premier honor, the Award of Excellence. Envisioned also won an award from the Florida Planning & Zoning Association earlier this month. The new award follows closely the...

  • OPINION: Slaton Faces Choice That Will Affect Thousands

    News Editorial Board|Updated Jun 21, 2024
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    Lake Wales City Manager James Slaton finds his relaxation, he recently told Lake Wales News, by fishing, typically on salt water far from the ring of a telephone. It's an understandable outlet. Slaton has demonstrated that he can play just as well on dry land, whatever the game. The job of city manager is undoubtedly one of the more interesting and challenging careers in the modern workforce. Charged with running a government as an appointed, rather than elected, official,...

  • Steeple Chase, Iron Mountain Residential Developments Advance With Approvals

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jun 14, 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...

  • Lake Wales Envisioned Documentary Wins 2024 Communicator Award

    News Staff Report|Updated Jun 4, 2024

    Lake Wales Envisioned, a film documenting the development of the eponymous project created to help guide the community through the challenges of rapid development, has been named as a recipient of the 2024 Communicator Award for excellence in film-making. The 30-minute film was created by Lee Dover of the planning firm of Dover, Kohl & Partners, who were the lead planners responsible for the award-winning plan. It was selected for screening at the Redfish Film Festival in...

  • 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...

  • Lake Wales Commissioners Challenged to Find Path to Employing Envisioned Plan Principles

    News Editorial Board|Updated Apr 18, 2024

    Lake Wales is bound to grow, and in the minds of many, it needs to grow. Increasing demand for city services can easily outstrip revenue. City commissioners have a tough job dealing with the pressures brought by development proposals, along with the vocal opposition some of those proposals have generated. The commission's decision Tuesday to deny a high-density development on a small parcel near Lake Alta pleased many residents of that neighborhood but drew complaints from...

  • 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...

  • 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
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    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
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    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
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    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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

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