Support Us Button Widget

Lakeland City Commission adopts Downtown West Action Plan

Here’s what Lakelanders need to know about the upcoming developments for the Downtown West area.

A map showing the outlined area of the Downtown West development area.

Downtown West encompasses several distinct neighborhoods, three Community Redevelopment Areas, four larger Sector Plan Areas, and serves as a gateway to the central city.

Image via City of Lakeland

On Monday, April 15, the Lakeland City Commission unanimously voted to adopt the Downtown West Action Plan. We’re bringing you the answers on what this means + why it matters.

What is Downtown West?

To recap, Downtown West will stretch east to west from South Florida Avenue to Lake Beulah Drive, and north to south from Memorial Boulevard to Lime Street. The area covers local landmarks like Bonnet Springs Park and the RP Funding Center, plus Lakes Bonnet, Beulah, and Wire.

Over the last three years, the Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has partnered with GAI Consultants to develop a strategic plan for the area, as well as perform due diligence and community outreach to align the plan with the goals of residents.

A rendering of a proposed redevelopment of Lake Beulah to include an overlook and open space fronting park.

Adding an overlook + open space near Lake Beulah is one of the many examples of redevelopment within the Downtown West Action Plan.

Image via City of Lakeland

What are the plan’s main goals?

The Downtown West Action Plan consists of three main goals:

  1. Improve connectivity for pedestrians and bikes to reduce travel time, minimize stress, and enhance ease of use
  2. Nurture neighborhood infrastructure across North Lake Wire, Westgate Central/Lake Beulah, and Crescent Heights to improve liveability
  3. Increase residential density in areas of Downtown West — essentially, “planning for population where it makes sense”
A stacked photo showing existing sidewalk conditions around a lake and a potential improvement plan.

One Downtown West initiative focuses on improving the sidewalk around Lake Wire.

Image via City of Lakeland

How will this be done?

Several initiatives are proposed to accomplish key goals based on city + community priorities, as well as funding needs. A few of the projects on the table include:

  • Adding multi-use trails and neighborhood connectors
  • Enhancing neighborhood beautification + infrastructure through sidewalks, streetlights, sewer connections, traffic calming devices, and development grant programs
  • Creating new residential options, including mixed-use spaces, close to community hubs

Some Downtown West projects are already in progress, while others are recommended to begin in the next five to seven years and beyond. Read the full Action Plan for more. Pro tip: Scroll to page 50 to see the budgets for current + proposed projects.