Plus, have you met Fabio?
 
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Today’s Forecast

75º | Partly cloudy | 0% chance of rain
Sunrise 7:10 a.m. | Sunset 6:13 p.m.

 
🍊 Inside Orange Street’s new apartments
A rendering of the Valencia at the Park apartment complex exterior, seen from the street. The complex includes three green, bungalow-style buildings with three stories. The complex faces a street, and a few cars are parallel parked along the road. Several small trees are planted around the perimeter.
The complex is designed according to the historic district’s guidelines. | Rendering provided by CODA Development
In case you missed it, a new apartment complex is coming to the area around Lake Mirror, blending brand new construction with the historic neighborhood’s style. We stopped by Valencia at the Park for an update on construction at the corner of East Orange Street and South Lake Avenue.

A parking lot under construction behind a new apartment complex. The ground is covered with black tarp, and excavators dig out gravel.

We caught the parking lot under construction behind the complex.

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Photo by LALtoday

Set to open for move-ins on April 1, Valencia at the Park consists of 32 units across three buildings. On the first floor are single bedroom units. Above, the two bedroom units all include two stories of space. Similar to nearby bungalow homes, each unit will also have a patio or balcony. Even the orange-themed names of the floor plans pay tribute to Lakeland’s citrus industry history.

Because the complex sits inside the East Lake Morton historic district, it has to match surrounding structures and the neighborhood’s historic design. Developer Jason Lewis of CODA Development shared that the homes will be painted in vintage green hues, and the exterior will feature the area’s signature bungalow-style architecture.

A rendering of a kitchen and dining area inside a Valencia at the Park apartment. The room has white walls and cabinetry, black and white counters, light wood floors, and stainless steel appliances. The kitchen flows into the dining area with a small dining table.

The kitchen flows into the dining and living area.

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Rendering provided by CODA Development

Residents can expect amenities like reserved parking, Amazon package lockers, and electric vehicle charging. Plus, downtown will be a short walk away. Here’s how long it will take to walk to nearby points of interest:
  • Barnett Family Park — 1 minute
  • Hollis Garden — 2 minutes
  • Lakeland Community Theatre — 3 minutes
  • Lake Morton — 6 minutes
  • The upcoming On Dog Time dog park — 6 minutes
  • The Joinery — 7 minutes
  • Munn Park — 13 minutes
Construction is wrapping up soon on Valencia at the Park. Pre-leasing is now open and pricing ranges from $1,596 to $2,395 per month.
 
 
Events
 
Thursday, Feb. 8
  • Collectorama | Thursday, Feb. 8-Saturday, Feb. 10 | Times vary | RP Funding Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland | $0-$3 | Browse collectible coins, jewelry, and more (pro tip: use the online flyer for free admission).
  • Trivia at Crave | Thursday, Feb. 8 | 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ, 2250 Griffin Rd., Lakeland | Free entry | Don’t miss this event hosted by Dang Yo Trivia — prizes are on the line.
Friday, Feb. 9
  • Lakeland Cruisers Cruise Night | Friday, Feb. 9 | 5-8:30 p.m. | Lakeside Village, 1479 Town Center Dr., Lakeland | Free | View modern and classic cars at this family-friendly car show that takes place every Friday, weather permitting.
  • Roll Out the Red Carpet for Harrison | Friday, Feb. 9 | 6-10 p.m. | Harrison School For the Arts, 750 Hollingsworth Rd., Lakeland | $65 | Enjoy food, entertainment, and a silent auction as you raise money for Harrison School for the Arts.
Saturday, Feb. 10
  • EmpowerHer Heart: A Women’s Wellness Affair with LRH | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 9-11 a.m. | Bonnet Springs Park, 400 Bonnet Springs Blvd., Lakeland | Free | Get a free health screening and enjoy fitness classes to celebrate women’s heart health.
  • PlatformKIDS Art Festival | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 1:30-3 p.m. | Florida Childrens Museum, 600 Bonnet Springs Blvd., Lakeland | Free | Browse art by local students at the opening event — the exhibit is open through Thursday, Feb. 15.
  • Valentine Night Market | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 5-9 p.m. | Downtown Lakeland | Free entry | Go shopping with your sweetie when 100+ vendors fill the downtown streets.
Sunday, Feb. 11
  • Lakeside Second Sunday Market | Sunday, Feb. 11 | 12-5 p.m. | Lakeside Village, 1479 Town Center Dr., Lakeland | Free entry | Shop 80+ vendors and enjoy live music by Peter Kolter at this outdoor market.*
Click here to have your event featured.
 
 
News Notes
 
Number
  • $455,000+. That’s how much it will cost to add more walking trails to Se7en Wetlands. The construction contract, approved by city commissioners on Monday, also includes bridges to connect existing trails, signage, shaded pavilions, and extra park entry points. (The Ledger)
Development
  • Parker Pointe, a new affordable housing community, is set to open on Friday, March 1 at 900 E. Bella Vista St. The $20 million complex will offer 88 units, plus amenities like a clubroom and fitness center. Leasing is now open.
Traffic
  • Crews will begin milling South Boulevard, Success Avenue, East Park Street, and Carolina Avenue on Monday, March 11. Repaving will begin the following Monday, March 18, so expect detours.
Stat
  • 100%. That’s the cumulative pass rate of Polk State College’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic licensure exams — the highest in the state. Students credit the program’s rigorous standards and use of simulators for their success. Applications for the May cohort open on Friday, March 15.
Cause
  • Polk County’s first all-female team to compete in the Race Across America will represent Top Buttons. The Gears for Good team will bicycle over 3,000 miles, raising money for Top Buttons’ local initiatives to empower young women.
History
  • The Miss Florida Citrus program is celebrating 100 years since crowning its first queen in 1924. The next pageant competition will take place on Friday, March 1 at Nora Mayo Hall in Winter Haven. This year’s winner will advance to Miss Florida and win $2,000 in scholarships. (Growing Produce)
Outdoors
  • Meet Fabio, one of Circle B Bar Reserve’s largest reptile residents. The 12-ft alligator was recently caught on camera crossing a path in front of visitors. Thankfully, we can keep a safe distance and just watch the video online. (Miami Herald)
Shop
  • We’re excited to introduce you to Barkle, the newest business featured in our online store (Six & Main). Inspired by their beloved Goldendoodle, Finley, this Lakeland-based, family-owned + operated business provides meticulously crafted dog collars and leashes. This is something to bark about. Shop now.
Travel
  • Need some travel inspo? Scroll through Orlando International Airport’s new or resuming flights to start planning where to go next. (Hint: It includes Bermuda, Nova Scotia, Scotland, San Antonio, and more.)*
 
 
Fun Fact
 
John Cena is a new honorary Lakelander
Actor and wrestler John Cena is seen on set of a commercial being filmed in Lakeland. He wears a blue bathrobe, white shirt, dark pants, and holds a coffee mug. Production workers stand around him behind a short hedge, and they're surrounded by lighting rigging.
We can’t wait to see the finished commercial. | Photo provided by an anonymous follower
Lakeland had a surprise visit this week from actor and wrestling star John Cena, who was in town to shoot a commercial. The ad was filmed in a south Lakeland neighborhood and production caused quite a commotion near 540A. One of our Instagram followers sent us a behind-the-scenes video + this photo of Cena on set.

It turns out that this may not be Cena’s first visit to Swan City. Several followers mentioned that he might have family in Lakeland. We know for sure that he has a $4 million home in Land O’ Lakes, just about an hour northwest of Lakeland.

Before heading to set, Cena fueled up like a true Lakelander: at a local coffee shop. The staff at Concord Coffee said he stopped by on Tuesday morning. What’s the drink of choice for a World Wrestling Entertainment champion? A flat white with whole milk.
 
The Buy
 
The Giving Heart pillow — a cream, knitted, heart-shaped pillow that’s weighted to replicate the feeling of a real hug. It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for loved ones who deserve some extra coziness and care.
 
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The Wrap
 
Connor-Keith-Headshot-LAL Today’s edition by:
Connor
From the editor
I’m wondering if we’ll see John Cena’s ad in an upcoming Super Bowl commercial break. I come for the ads but I stay for the food, and I need suggestions. Tell me where you’re getting your snacks for Sunday, including wings, burgers, and everything in between.
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