Communication Builds Our Community

Good News: Onward and Upward

Series: Lake Wales Renaissance | Story 13

This is the 13th installment in the Lake Wales Renaissance series. Lake Wales City Commissioner Robin Gibson serves as Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the city's Community Redevelopment Agency.

2020 is been a bummer. It's time for some good news for 2021.

We've got it.

Dover-Kohl's "Lake Wales Connected" plan is coming off the drawing boards. It will be going out for bids this Spring. The pretty pictures you've seen -- in reality they are only promises. This summer the shovels will go into the ground and those pretty pictures will be coming to life. Promises made - promises kept.

In the meantime, get ready for a helicopter ride. Surely you must be near a computer. Just go to and buckle your seatbelt. You will be flown down Park Avenue as it will eventually take form. (Or click video included with this article.)

Here's the best part. We've done our homework. We've got the money to pay for it. The areas to receive the improvements are within the City's previously formed Community Redevelopment area. That means we are able to benefit from a self-generating Community Redevelopment Trust Fund.

By the start of construction, the trust fund will have about $4 million. As the improvements are completed, and property values rise, the increase in both the City and County tax revenue (increment) is deposited into the CRA trust fund. As property values grow, the trust fund grows. The first five years of the plan - based on existing revenues -- has all been budgeted.

The Florida Redevelopment Association recognized the Lake Wales Connected plan as the best in the state for towns of our size. Our planners know what they're doing. Once the plan is in place, Lake Wales will be a destination. The best part of being a destination is what it does for our local economy. People come in from the outside and spend their money. The money goes into our local economy for the home folks - the visitors have enjoyed themselves and leave. We don't incur the cost of providing them with essential services.

Our town is about to launch an adventure -- the construction phase will be exciting and completion is sure to make us a place that's even more special.

Onward and Upward.


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