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City Growth Keeps Development Office Busy

Bangley Promoted to Assistant City Manager

Recognizing her increased responsibilities in development services as the City of Lake Wales experiences a growth spurt, Kathy Bangley recently was promoted to assistant city manager for planning and economic development. Bangley's promotion carries with it an annual salary of $98,000, a pay increase of 10 percent over what she was making in July.

Bangley's office has been extremely busy working with numerous developers planning new restaurants, retail establishments and housing, including hundreds of apartments and single-family homes. Bangley provided the following details on current or planned developments:

-Winter Park Construction broke ground in October for the Serenity development north of Chalet Suzanne Boulevard behind Publix, with 331 apartment units that should be built in six to eight months.

-The city recently annexed property near Tower Wood off U.S. 27, where John Wood plans to build 75 to 100 multi-family units.

-Ag Investments of Polk County plans to build the Preserve of Oakwood, seven single-family homes on one-acre-plus lots off Capps Road.

- In addition to 10 homes already platted on Summit Boulevard north of Burns Avenue, developers are working on plans for Scenic Bluff, 50 to 55 single-family homes for lower to moderate income between Old Scenic Highway and City Limits Road behind Victory Ridge Academy.

- Continuing to build out their single family home developments are Whispering Ridge off 11th Street, Dinner Lake off Chalet Suzanne Road, and Sunset Place and Sunset Pointe off Buckmoore Road.

In his quarterly reports to the city, Kevin Kieft, President and CEO of the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, has said more "rooftops," growth in housing, is key to attracting more retail and manufacturing facilities.

"Retail development develops in tandem with residential development," Kieft said. "As the number of residents within a certain area rises the numbers that developers and retailers use to determine best fit start to make sense.

"Retail development tends to cluster and it is not by accident or 'follow the leader.' The demographics, such as income, population, the right mix of ages all start to make the retail the area demands something that is profitable for a company or franchise."

Bangley said Lake Wales is also showing an uptick in new retail. She said Posh Suites is planning to build a new 4,200-square-foot building on Tillman Avenue across from the Lake Wales Police Department. Like its Winter Haven facility, Posh offers suites for independent hair, nail, facial, massage and other personal service professionals. Bangley said a Dollar Tree is locating in the vacated Sears Automotive in front of Eagle Ridge Mall on U.S. 27 North, a car wash is going in east of Topper's Creamery on SR 60 East, and a 7-Eleven convenience store is being built on the former SunTrust bank site at the corner of SR 60 and Buckmoore Road.

Bangley said she understands the old Findlay Industries building on Scenic Highway is under contract, but she is unsure what will be going into the manufacturing facility. She is still awaiting the next set of plans for redevelopment of the historic Seminole Hotel on First Street downtown.

With additional housing also come more food establishments. Planned to open soon are

- Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in the vacated Egg House at 612 SR 60, just west of U.S. 27

- Melanie's Seafood in the vacated Pedro's Downtown Deli at 120 E. Park Ave.

- Captain D's Seafood, west of Walgreens on SR 60 East

Bangley said with the new development comes the need for an impact fee study, which she expects to be complete in six to eight months. A consultant will review the city's current schedule of impact fees for recreation, library, water and sewer and fire/EMS/police. At the time building permits are issued, the city collects impact fees to help offset costs of new development, she said.


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