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Lakeland News

Posted on: September 18, 2023

City Manager's Update - September 18, 2023

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Greetings Lakeland!

As some of you may have noticed, there was no official City Manager's Update last week. Instead, I chose to use the space to remember Debra Murrell, our Community Development Specialist. Debra dedicated 25 years to the City of Lakeland and, while our hearts here on earth are heavy with her absence, we are relieved that she is no longer in pain. You can read our full tribute at

There are a couple of previous meetings to review and a couple of meetings to prepare you for as well as general City updates, so, without further ado let's take...

A Look Back at Last Week(-ish)

Board of Commissioners (September 7th Meeting)

The Board of Commissioners (BOC) met on September 7th at 6:00pm - the actions taken are summarized below:

  • The order of the agenda was changed, and the first item was a discussion of a potential ban on short-term rentals. The BOC requested an ordinance change be brought for first reading at the next regular meeting (spoiler alert: that's this week). 
  • The next item was the resolution to initiate condemnation proceedings on property in the Lakeland Gateway Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district (i.e., the Relax Inn), which was approved 4-0, with 1 abstention (Commissioner McCarter).
  • The resolution to appoint a new volunteer to the Community Advisory Board was tabled (I'll get to that more in a moment...)
  • A resolution to authorize additional debt financing of a sewer infrastructure project through the State Revolving Fund was unanimously approved by a vote of 5 - 0.
  • The resolution to amend the BOC's meeting calendar was withdrawn.
  • A resolution to repeal and rescind the creation of a Neighborhood Watch liaison role and related appointment to that role was approved by a vote of 4-0, with 1 abstention (Commissioner McCarter).

Parks and Recreation/Natural Resources Board

The Parks and Recreation/Natural Resources Board did not meet the quorum last Tuesday night, so no items were voted on. Here is a recap on the other topics discussed:

  • Our soccer program contractor gave a presentation on the current status of the recreational soccer program and talked about the possible move to include a competitive soccer team. I also gave an update regarding the replacement of our current Parks and Recreation Director, Pat O'Mara, and the transitions ahead for the department. Andrew Fisher, Recreation Manager, was announced as the next Parks and Recreation Director effective October 9, 2023.
  • Updates were given on the Athletic Complex lighting project that will see sports field lighting added to the current two multi-purpose fields. The engineering design from MLGW to run power from Canada Road down Memphis-Arlington to the Athletic Complex has been completed and Parks staff met with MLGW and a local tree service crew to route the powerline easement. 
  • The Parks Board was updated on the current term limits of the board members. No board members are scheduled to roll off in 2023.
  • An update on parks capital projects was provided. The items discussed were the design of a youth baseball field at City Hall Park and the redesign of the I.H. Clubhouse Recreation Room into an office space for the Parks and Recreation Staff.
  • Programming updates were also provided. The final concert of 2023 is scheduled for Saturday, September 23 at the LAMP, and is a shared event. In addition to the concert, it is Community Recognition Night - all fall sports teams/programs from LPS, LES, and Parks and Recreation are invited out to be recognized before the concert. Upcoming events include the Harvest Fest on October 21 and Breakfast with Santa on December 9.

To stay up-to-date with all of the upcoming events sponsored by the Parks and Recreation department, please visit the calendar page on our website. 

Municipal Planning/Design Review Commission

The Municipal Planning/Design Review Commission (MPDRC) met last Thursday night at 5:30pm. The two projects deliberated upon are listed below. 

Lakeland School System's Admin Building – Site plan and building elevations:

The Lakeland School System (LSS) representatives came seeking approval of a Site Plan to construct a 13,068 sq. ft. administration building along Hwy 70. The MPDRC approved the project unanimously as presented.

Equestria Planned Development Outline Plan

Equestria has been presented to the MPDRC in recent years in a number of iterations, and is on the south side of Memphis-Arlington Road bordering Oakwood Grove and the Grove. Public comment was heard in opposition to the development, primarily related to traffic congestion. The developer agreed to install traffic calming methods along Lakeland Trace and to connect Lakeland Trace to Memphis-Arlington in Phase 1. After discussion, the MPDRC recommended approval to the Board of Commissioners. 

A Look Ahead to This Week

Board of Appeals/Storm Water Board of Appeals

Tonight is the scheduled time for the Board of Appeals / Storm Water Board of Appeals meeting. There being no cases before the body, this meeting is cancelled. 

Board of Commissioners Meeting

The BOC meets this Thursday evening at 6pm at City Hall. The full agenda and materials will be posted at before 6pm Tuesday, but here's a preview of what's to be included:

  • The ordinance mentioned above and requested at the 9/7 meeting to regulate (ban) short-term rentals in residential areas of Lakeland will be presented on first reading.
  • There are currently four resolutions to be considered for approval:
    • Appointing a Commissioner liaison to the City of Lakeland's Land Development Regulations Update sub-committee.
    • Approving an agreement for the tri-annual pavement assessment.
    • Approving an amendment to the agreement with Cannon & Cannon, Inc. for the Highway 70 at Seed Tick Road Intersection Improvements project.
    • Amending the BOC's regular meeting to cancel the 2nd meeting in October (due to construction in the board room at City Hall).

Other Important Information

Pavement Preservation

The pavement preservation project is on track to be completed this week in both Plantation Hills and The Grove. Plantations Hills is on schedule to be completed tomorrow and The Grove Wednesday. If you live on the streets highlighted in green on the map below, please be sure to follow the road closure instructions provided by the contractor. Feel free to contact Luis Camarillo Hernandez in the City of Lakeland Engineering Department for questions or further clarification at or (901) 317-6025.

Plantation Hills HA5 Map

Website Notifications

The "Notify Me" function beside any news article or calendar item on is a great place to manage your email notifications of additions to news, alerts, or calendar items on the City's website, and does not require an account to be created. Simply click, enter your email, and select which areas you wish to subscribe to, as shown below:

notify me news flash

sign up fo notify me

notify me categories

Also, to be notified immediately of new meeting posts - such as agendas and minutes - subscribe to the meeting agendas at This can be done by signing in with a simple, free account - just visit and click on the "SUBSCRIPTIONS" button:

Screenshot 2023-07-18 at 11.18.31 AM

Then, select which of the City's Boards and Commissions for which you wish to be notified:

Screenshot 2023-07-18 at 11.19.44 AM

To Be Continued...

I mentioned earlier that I would "get back to that in a moment" regarding the tabling of the appointment of a volunteer to the Community Advisory Board (CAB) at the 9/7 BOC meeting. The reason this volunteer application was tabled was a very good reason - because I am pleased to announce that the applicant, Andrea Perkins, will be the City's new Finance Director beginning very soon! In a whirlwind week of realization of her experience, impeccable timing, and simple serendipity, I was quite happy to delay the volunteer process while we worked out interviews and details. 

This is a long way of saying - if you live north of the Loosahatchie in Lakeland and would like to volunteer on the CAB, please complete the volunteer application - and I'll try not to hire you in the process (no guarantees, though...). 

As always, please reach out to me at time at with questions, concerns, ideas, or improvements.

In Your Service,

Michael Walker, City Manager

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