A couple of weeks ago, we asked you if downtown Lakeland should join other cities around the world + consider creating pedestrian-only “open air cafe” areas, giving restaurants access to set up tables outside in public spaces and on streets. Needless to say, with 130+ of you sharing your feedback on our Instagram + Facebook posts, Lakelanders are feeling pretty passionate and opinionated about this idea.
According to the LEDC, the concept could also expand to other areas downtown such as Tennessee Ave., there could be more use of the new parking garage downtown for parking, and alternate alleyways + entrances could be used for food pick-up + delivery services.
Though the LEDC + The Lunz group aren’t making any specific recommendations, they created these renderings to give Lakelanders a visualization of what could be a long-term solution to making downtown more walkable + to make restaurants and other small businesses safer and sustainable.
Peep more sweet renderings, by clicking the button below 👀
○ $15M in grant money is available for local nonprofits by way of the United Way. The RFP is available to organizations in Polk County that address rent and mortgage assistance, utility assistance, food assistance, childcare + adult care assistance, and emergency Needs. More information can be found here. Wed., May 13 is the deadline to apply.
○ A Lakeland vehicle redesign center has pivoted their manufacturing from vehicles to PPE, now making shields to donate to local healthcare workers. So far, Tunes-N-Tint has manufactured 600+ masks, with a goal to make 1,000 masks. Many of the masks are being donated to assisted living facilities + nonprofits. You can help Tunes-N-Tint give back to the communitythese two ways. (The Ledger)
○ Have you received a call from an unknown number, saying that you may have been exposed to the coronavirus? Polk County Department of Health’s 14-person team of contact tracers(comprised of epidemiologists, medical experts, local hospital staff + schooling nurses) is tasked with cutting off the spread of the coronavirusin the community. Part of the tracking process they use involves making cold calls to people who may have come in contact with someone with COVID-19. If you receive a call from someone saying they are a health reporter, you can contact Polk’s COVID-19 hotline at 863.519.7911 to confirm. (The Ledger)
○ Polk County is utilizing its $126M federal grant to help families pay for utilities, rents, mortgages + to help small businesses stay open. Individuals + business owners can apply online, starting May 19. More information on application requirements can be found here. And ICYMI, the City of Lakeland is also offering help to residents who are facing COVID-19-related issues. More information on that program here.
○ According to reports, coronavirus testing in Polk County has picked up – with a record number of tests being administered yesterday. Out of the 622 new tests given, 19 yielded positive results. You can check out Polk County’s case number on the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard. (Lkld Now)
○ The Office of Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County has reopened its four service centers to customers at this time for Driver License services by appointment only. No road tests are currently being provided.
○ Though there has not yet been an announcement regarding reopening, Walt Disney World will be accepting reservations at the beginning of July 2020. According to Disney’s Chief Medical Officer, Disney may have a phased reopening, involving for certain areas, with more measures including guest density in restaurants, parks, retails, and also transportation. (Wesh 2 News)
○ The Miss America Organization announced that both its competition + the Miss Florida competitionhave been postponed. Miss Florida is being postponed until June 2021, and current titleholders will maintain their titles. This means that Miss Florida, Michaela McLean, will keep her current title until the next competition takes place.
○ From switching to drive-thru only to offering members relief services, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union continues to take precautions to keep customers and employees safe during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more.Ⓟ
Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Lakeland’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
As our community works to collectively adjust to this new normal, we want to share the perspectives of people in the Lakeland community who are working to adapt their lifestyles, family dynamics, business models, workflow, + more during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With that in mind, we invite you to share your experiences with us via our Voices platform.
#DYK that your photo could be featured in our newsletter? Just use #LALtoday on social media.
Weather ○87° | Mostly Sunny | 10% chance of rain
Stat ○ To cut, or not to cut? That is the question. With Florida barber shops + salons reopening, we recently polled Lakelanders on Facebook + Twitter, asking if they were planning to get a haircut anytime soon. On Facebook, 76% of people said “Nope, I’m staying home” and on Twitter, 48% of people said “Yes! I need a trim!” 50+ people responded to the survey. ✂️
Ranked ○ 21. Florida’s ranking in WalletHub’s recent list of Best & Worst States to Be a Police Officer. To find these rankings, WalletHub compared all 50 states(and D.C.) on metrics like the average starting salary for police officers, crime rates, quality of life, and more. Connecticut ranked no. 1 + Arkansas ranked no. 51. (WalletHub)
Tech ○ With more + more people turning to the virtual side, Florida Polytechnic University students + staff are working to improve online community use by figuring out how to develop an automated way to identify labels + groups. For example, when scrolling through an online platform like Reddit, information about the topic a person is looking for can be found on multiple messaging boards. The research Florida Polytechnic University is doing may lead to more innovative ways of taking the comments from the Reddit board + classifying them into other categories of relevance + also bypassing unwanted information. 📱 (Florida Poly News)
Watch ○ ICYMI, last Friday our team hosted our second #LALCoffeeTalk on Instagram Live with our featured guest, City of Lakeland Communications Director, Kevin Cook. We were honored, hearing Kevin educate us about the current state + the future state of Lakeland, how the pandemic has changed City communications, how the City is working with other municipalities, what he and his family are doing during the quarantine + more. You can watch the video, here.
Edu ○ The number of Polk County residents holding degrees has increased from 1.4% to 30%, since 2014, not including additional residents with work-related certificates. Polk County nonprofits are working to increase the number even more + have developed relationships with Polk County Public Schools, so that “everyone gets the feeling that businesses, the community and education really play a vital role in supporting students and families and helping them move toward that next step.” 🍎 (Central Florida Development Council)
TheBuy ○ In the market for a new A/C unit? 🥵 Carrier’s Cool Cash rebate program lets customers save up to $1,650 with 0% interest for 3 years. The pros at Payne Air Conditioning – who’ve been serving central FL since 1936 – can hook you up, no sweat.Ⓟ
#LALRemoteDiaries: Day 37 of working from home — Abby is admiring her new jewelry from Take Heart that she was gifted on Mother’s Day + Kaylee (who is feeling extra bored these days) started working on a short story about the inner monologues of her S.O.’s cats.
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