1 Lakeland Vision is an independent, non-profit organization. It was formed in 1998 with the goal of creating and implementing a comprehensive, action-oriented vision for the future of the greater Lakeland area. Over the next ten years Lakeland Vision built partnerships and alliances throughout the community to address a majority of the strategies outlined in the vision. A decade later, Lakeland Vision realized that it was time to refresh the community s vision. Not only had most of the strategies from the first vision been accomplished, but the community had also changed significantly. Lakeland Vision also had a goal of bringing the community s diverse population together to determine the best way to move forward. In 2008 Lakeland Vision engaged the firm of ACP Visioning+Planning to help design and facilitate an inclusive process that would refresh the community s vision for the future. Working under a principle of maximizing stakeholder involvement and generating diverse representation from throughout the metro area, ACP collaborated with the Lakeland Vision Steering Committee to design a visioning program known as Make Your Mark. The Make Your Mark initiative engaged over 950 community members in brainstorming over 1,000 ideas for the future, crafting goals and strategies, and setting priorities for moving forward with implementation.
2 This document summarizes the Make Your Mark public process and outlines the final goals and strategies that capture the community s collective aspirations and comprise Lakeland s vision for the future. More detailed documentation regarding the vision is available through Lakeland Vision ( The public process to develop the vision took place between September 2008 and January Lakeland Vision s 32-member Steering Committee played a critical role in guiding the process, preparing for events, and refining the results of the public s input.!" #! # Seven Idea Gathering Meetings were held between September 16 and September 25, These public brainstorming sessions were open to everyone who lives or works! " in the greater Lakeland area. Public meetings took place in various geographic # $! locations and were designed to attract diverse representation from the Lakeland % % & % ' $ ( community. During the 2-hour meetings, participants received a brief orientation to % ) * " the Make Your Mark process, and then worked in small groups with a trained +, ", volunteer facilitator to brainstorm responses to a single question: What can we do to make Lakeland the best that it can be in the coming years? A total of 495 people participated in the Idea Gathering Meetings, and generated over 1,000 ideas to express their hopes for the future of the Lakeland community. These ideas were entered into a database and categorized according to 11 topics and 40 subtopics, which would become the basis for the vision s Strategic Elements. -. +! % / 0/ 1 2, 2 2, 3 1 ",, 4 +! % # ! 2, $ $! # $ " % On October 27 and 28 two public goal-writing workshops were held. Stakeholders and interested citizens were invited to come to the workshops and spend the evening focusing on a topic of their choice. Participants worked in facilitated small groups to review all of the ideas related to their topic, refine goal statements, and recommend potential strategies to help support the goal. Over 90 citizens participated in the Writing Workshops. The collected input was later reviewed by the Lakeland Vision Steering Committee and edited for clarity and consistency. % % #!" &! The Mapping the Future Workshop was held on December 9 and co-sponsored by the City of Lakeland. The purpose of this event was to focus on physical growth and land consumption in the Lakeland planning area. Facilitated small group exercises at the Mapping Workshop allowed stakeholders and members of the public to provide input about where future growth should occur, where land should be protected, and where development should be intensified.
3 Following a presentation on recent growth trends, participants ranked the importance of development principles that were drafted using Growth and Infrastructure ideas from the September Idea Gathering Meetings. They then used these principles to work in small groups and place chips on table-sized maps. Participants used yellow and red chips to represent the land needed to accommodate new residential and non-residential development, if current population growth trends continue. Each participant also received a green dot to symbolize the need for additional green space in the form of conservation areas, preserved open space, or new parklands. Once all chips were placed on the map, participants provided input on how to connect new development through transit, roads, and trails. Finally, each table used their map to develop a set of recommendations to guide future growth and development in Lakeland. These recommendations were used to create the vision s goal and strategies for Growth and Infrastructure. % ' ( On January 12 and 13, 2009 Lakeland Vision hosted an Open House at the Junior League of Greater Lakeland s Sorosis Building to give community members an opportunity to review, prioritize, and comment on the goals and strategies that were crafted during the community visioning process. s and strategies were printed on display boards, and each participant received five stickers to designate the five strategies that he or she believed to be most important for Lakeland s future. In addition to voting for strategies, participants used comment cards to offer feedback on the vision and indicated whether or not they were interested in getting involved with the implementation phase. Over 170 people participated in the event. Following the Vision Open House, an online poll was opened to obtain additional feedback on community members priorities for the future. Over 70 individuals voted through this online survey. The results of the Open House and online poll will be used as the Lakeland community begins implementing its vision. This report outlines the goals and strategies for the 11 Strategic Elements that comprise Lakeland s vision for the future. Strategic Elements are listed alphabetically as follows: A. Arts, Activities, & Entertainment B. Diversity & Community C. Downtown & Neighborhoods D. Economy E. Education F. Environment G. Governance H. Growth & Infrastructure I. Parks & Recreation J. Social Initiatives K. Transportation!
4 ) * *+ The topic Arts, Activities, and Entertainment has been divided into the following four subtopics: Arts and Culture, Youth Activities, Entertainment and Attractions, and Events., )!! Lakeland provides a supportive arts environment that advances, promotes, and funds the arts community including museums, performing arts, arts education, public art, and local artists and results in active community-wide participation. 1. Build alliances to strengthen public and private funding for the arts. 2. Establish appropriate zoning, funding, and incentives to create a supportive arts environment in Lakeland for all ages. 3. Work with state and local elected officials to advocate for continued arts funding in schools. 4. Form a collaborative, comprehensive marketing plan for the arts and arts organizations in Lakeland. - )!".!'! Youth organizations, programs, activities, and dedicated venues provide social/cultural opportunities for youth and teens that are safe, affordable, and fun. 1. Develop interactive social/cultural venues and out of school activities geared towards youth and families. 2. Create a public-private partnership to promote youth activities in Lakeland. 3. Survey teens for more information about their interests and needs. 4. Ensure safe and inviting venues throughout communities in Lakeland. / )!! 0!!!.! A variety of entertainment options, including large-scale family and tourist attractions, boutique shops, and restaurants, support a lively and fun community atmosphere. 1. Create an ongoing, online calendar of events for Lakeland. 2. Develop a centralized tourism / entertainment office that will enhance and promote Lakeland s entertainment and tourist attractions. "
5 3. Work with Lakeland venues towards developing an entertainment mix that reflects the community demographic. 1 ) '! A diverse array of cultural events, festivals, and celebrations are developed and well promoted to draw people to the Lakeland area. 1. Expand community events to include a variety of cultural and artistic interests. 2. Create a central website to promote all community events and provide information for event planning. ) + The topic Diversity and Community has been divided into the following subtopics: Diversity, Communications, Sense of Community, and Volunteerism., )'!( Diversity and inclusiveness are actively advanced by Lakeland s leadership, businesses, and civic organizations, and celebrated through community events and activities. 1. Develop programs with accountability to foster more leadership among minorities and encourage greater diversity at all levels of business, government, and community organizations. 2. Recruit, hire, and retain a City workforce that accurately reflects Lakeland s demographics. 3. Host an annual cross-cultural event that recognizes our differences and celebrates our community. - ) 0 0.! Multi-media communication initiatives build an interconnected and informed community by providing information, sharing resources, and promoting events and activities. 1. Establish a knowledge-sharing network that brings together like-minded charities and community organizations. #
6 2. Develop a program to enhance communication and interaction among neighborhood groups in Lakeland through help from charities and community organizations. 3. Promote programs and activities using a variety of techniques (e.g., local publication advertisements, billboards, mailers, radio ads, etc.). 4. Create a central website to promote all community events. / ) 2 0 0!( Institutions, organizations, and neighborhoods in Lakeland create and support a cohesive and engaged community that fosters intergenerational and geographic unity. 1. Bring together churches throughout Lakeland to play a leadership role in establishing places and events to unify the community. 2. Create more cafes, community centers, public squares and other places for intergenerational community gathering. 3. Build collaborations between neighborhoods and businesses in organizing and sponsoring community events. 1 )! 0 Lakeland supports and promotes coordinated, collaborative volunteer opportunities that allow all citizens to be actively involved in community service. 1. Create and market an online database to match volunteers with volunteer opportunities. 2. Cultivate a culture of volunteerism with local businesses to encourage their employees to get involved with community service activities. 3. Create and market a traveling volunteer fair. ) $ $ + The topic Downtown and Neighborhoods has been divided into the following four subtopics: Downtown, Character of Development, Beautification, and Preservation and Revitalization. $
7 , ) 3! 3 Downtown Lakeland is a walkable and vibrant city core encompassing a variety of housing options, restaurants, small businesses, green spaces, and venues for community gatherings and events. 1. Promote legislative action to call for a comprehensive (statewide) rail plan that promotes passenger service in cities and diverts freight rail away from populated areas. 2. Communicate existing government incentives to developers to encourage development and redevelopment in downtown Lakeland. 3. Revise City procedures to simplify the process for permitting and planning for downtown redevelopment projects. - )".! 2 ' % 0! Effective land planning provides diverse housing options for all incomes, preserves green space and trees, and maintains Lakeland s character. 1. Develop and communicate incentives and revise development codes to encourage a variety of housing options, including downtown residences and mixed-use developments. 2. Incentivize new developments to dedicate a portion of land for public access (e.g., parks, public squares, or open space) and allocate funding for maintenance. 3. Maintain the integrity of Lakeland s existing architecture. 4. Modify ordinances to promote higher density developments that promote walkability and preserve open space. / )!2.! Lakeland is a clean, beautiful city centered around magnificent lakes, attractive streetscapes, quality architecture, fountains, and natural features. 1. Develop a citywide plan to promote, maintain, and increase public art and architecture. 2. Enforce standards and codes to maintain and improve our lakes, protect and enhance natural features, and encourage attractive neighborhood environments. %
8 1 ) '! '! 4! Lakeland celebrates its history and supports unique, strong neighborhoods through historic preservation and revitalization efforts, and community initiatives to clean up blighted areas. 1. Create incentives to encourage preservation and appreciation of Lakeland s historic character. 2. Create and support neighborhood organizations encouraging interaction and involvement. 3. Enhance code enforcement efforts throughout Lakeland by encouraging effective communication and collaboration between the City and neighborhoods. ) The topic Economy has been divided into the following six subtopics: Jobs, Business Development and Attraction, Retail and Small Business, Prosperous Lakeland, Green Economy, and Marketing and Tourism., )5 6 Lakeland experiences strong job growth, featuring higher wage jobs and careers for citizens of all ages, skill levels, and abilities. 1. Partner with USF Polytechnic to leverage the new campus for economic development and high wage job creation. 2. Continue to partner and strengthen relationships with Florida Southern College, Keiser University, Polk State College, Southeastern University, University of South Florida Polytechnic and other local higher education institutions in support of their contribution to workforce development. 3. Encourage economic development partnerships to focus on increasing wages in Lakeland. 4. Prepare a strategic plan for existing and future internship programs to ensure success for both the businesses and the educational institutions. 5. Encourage lifelong learning opportunities that enable Lakeland residents to enhance their skills. &
9 - ) ' % 0!!!.! Lakeland s diverse business environment attracts a wide variety of high-tech, highwage businesses. 1. Develop partnerships with businesses, community leaders, economic development organizations, and educational institutions to attract high tech, high wage businesses. 2. Develop a plan to attract new firms and industries that will enhance Lakeland s economic diversity. 3. Establish a business incubator to assist entrepreneurs and promote start-up businesses in Lakeland. / )! 0 Lakeland supports small businesses, downtown retail, attractive malls, and shopping districts. 1. Establish incentives to encourage small businesses to occupy vacant space. (26) 2. Increase residential options in and around downtown Lakeland to help support local downtown retail. 3. Increase marketing of downtown events, shopping, and activities, in order to bring more visitors downtown. 4. Revitalize old malls and shopping centers to encourage business development outside of downtown. 1 ) % Lakeland is a prosperous, technologically advanced city that attracts and retains a young, innovative, and talented workforce within a creative environment. 1. Identify factors that attract young professionals and the creative class to a city. 2. Market those factors that attract young professionals and the creative class to Lakeland. 3. Improve wireless internet access across Lakeland. '
10 7 ). 0 ( Lakeland attracts and promotes green industries and local green markets to achieve a sustainable local economy. 1. Expand farmers markets to support local and organic agriculture. 2. Develop a program to attract green businesses to Lakeland. 8 )! # 0 Lakeland effectively promotes its local attractions, distinctive image, high profile events and sporting activities, creating a brand that attracts visitors from near and far. 1. Establish public/private partnerships to bring more visitors to Lakeland. 2. Increase external marketing of Lakeland s local attractions and sporting events. ) The topic Education has been divided into the following five subtopics: Funding and Community Support, Programs and Curriculum, Career Development, Facilities, and Higher and Continuing Education., )& # 0 0!( % %! Quality education in Lakeland is a community endeavor, where funding, local support, and legislative delegation lead to increased teacher salaries, improved financial accountability, and effective collaboration between schools, businesses, and other institutions in the community. 1. Work with local, state and federal elected officials to enhance school funding. 2. Develop initiatives to ensure more parental involvement in their children s education. 3. Work with the community organizations to develop and enhance partnerships between local businesses and Lakeland schools. (
11 - ) # 0. 0 Lakeland students pre-k through 12 excel through quality curriculum, teaching, mentoring and hands-on experiences to prepare them to succeed in college, the workforce, and life. 1. Partner with and leverage existing organizations and programs to make early literacy a priority. Develop strategies and initiatives to ensure parental engagement in a child s early learning. 2. Expand programs for at-risk students (e.g., mentoring, vocational training, academic support, etc.). 3. Support initiatives to increase the high school graduation rate to match or exceed the state graduation rate. 4. Enhance the quality of childcare and pre-school programs. 5. Establish a target of 100% subject-certified teachers. 6. Provide more opportunities for more students to have access to advanced classes. 7. Establish a committee to review school curricula to ensure schools reach beyond teaching to the FCAT. / ) ' % 0! The Lakeland educational community offers a variety of innovative career training opportunities that help Lakeland citizens develop skills for an ever-changing job market and achieve their desired quality of life. 1. Expand and enhance awareness of career-training programs for students to leave high school prepared to enter the workforce and sustain an independent quality of life. 2. Provide training and retraining for a changing workforce in order to improve job skills for advancement and develop new job skills for growing industries. 3. Survey the community to determine current and future job needs and opportunities. 4. Create career-training programs in concert with the business community, including incentives to participate in internship programs. 1 )&.! A better use of resources creates an improved learning environment for Lakeland students.
12 1. Establish smaller, neighborhood-based schools as a viable option for providing quality education close to home. Work with the elected officials and court system to refine the guidelines to allow neighborhood schools. 2. Work to reduce overcrowding, enhance security, and support smaller classroom sizes. 7 ) # "! #.! Higher and continuing education programs in Lakeland are well-funded and create strong partnerships with the Lakeland community. 1. Enhance the level of funding for all higher education institutions in the region. 2. Create and market more innovative continuing education opportunities, including on-line courses. & ) The topic Environment has been divided into the following three subtopics: Clean Lakeland, Green Lakeland, and Recycling., ) Lakeland is a clean community that seeks to eliminate litter, reduce pollution, and protect the health of its lakes and other natural resources. 1. Develop a comprehensive approach to all environmental issues and enforcement within the city. 2. Expand the city s clean lakes initiative and enhance public outreach and education in order to clean up existing pollutants, reduce runoff into lakes, and monitor the health of lakes on an ongoing basis. - ) A green Lakeland conserves natural resources, preserves green space, provides environmental education programs, promotes alternative energy sources and modes of transportation, and supports a sustainable quality of life. 1. Develop a City tree protection ordinance.
13 2. Ensure that zoning and development ordinances encourage sustainable growth, preserve open space, and incentivize green certified building. 3. Develop incentives to help Lakeland residents invest in energy efficiency (e.g., solar panels, fuel-efficient cars, water conservation, etc.). 4. Conduct a public education campaign to teach citizens about environmental issues and demonstrate how Lakeland can go green. / ). (. # Recycling is easy, expected, and becomes part of the daily habits of all citizens throughout Lakeland, including schools, businesses and public spaces. 1. Develop a comprehensive, city-wide recycling program to include schools, businesses, and public spaces. 2. Conduct a public education campaign to inform the public about recycling benefits and procedures. ) The topic Governance has been divided into the following three subtopics: Public Involvement, Safety, and Government., ) 6. ' ' 0! Lakeland citizens are well-educated and well-informed about government activities and are actively involved in decision-making. 1. Educate citizens about the City of Lakeland Strategic Plan and identify ways to incorporate more public input into its development. 2. Improve the city website to better communicate the city s goals, outcomes, and information to the public. 3. Promote citizen education activities (such as Citizens Police Academy and open houses), to encourage more widespread involvement from the public. - ) 2!( Effective law enforcement coupled with community-based crime prevention activities contribute to safe and clean schools, neighborhoods, and streets.!
14 1. Keep crime rates low by establishing direct police patrols that concentrate on hot spots and current crime trends. 2. Develop effective partnerships with the community, neighborhoods, schools, and all other stakeholders to foster a safe and clean Lakeland. 3. Educate and empower neighborhoods and other stakeholders to take a proactive role in their safety, security, and cleanliness. 4. Continue to hold quarterly meetings to strengthen the existing partnership between the Lakeland Police Department and neighborhood associations throughout the city. / ) ' 0! Lakeland benefits from accessible, capable leaders who are dedicated to the effective and equitable allocation of resources and to providing a higher level of services to all Lakeland citizens. 1. Undertake a study to determine if partnering between City of Lakeland and other governmental entities can provide more efficient deliveries of services. 2. Educate citizens about the accessibility of city commissioners and administrative staff and increase awareness of the city s programs and services. 3. Keep citizens informed about the internal audit of city departments aimed at identifying and eliminating duplicative administrative functions. ) $ + & The topic Growth and Infrastructure has one subtopic called Growth Management., ) 3!" # 0! Lakeland s growth is well planned and managed to preserve green space, create vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods, encourage infill and redevelopment, and ensure that public infrastructure can keep up with the needs of a growing population. 1. Encourage high density development in downtown Lakeland to position it as the vibrant urban hub of the community where people live, work, and play. 2. Revise codes to provide incentives for redevelopment and infill in existing developed areas, rather than on open lands. "
15 3. Facilitate the planning and development of existing DRIs (Developments of Regional Impact) and coordinate strategic infrastructure investments to meet the needs of these areas. 4. Develop a multi-use trail system that connects Lakeland s parks, lakes, and natural areas. 5. Inventory critical natural resource areas and restrict development in those areas. 6. Encourage the development of higher density, mixed use nodes throughout Lakeland that preserve green space and are connected to transit and trail networks. ) + The topic Parks and Recreation has been divided into two subtopics: Parks and Recreation., ) Lakeland builds, supports, and maintains a network of community and regional parks and trails that are clean, accessible, and provide a variety of active and passive programming. 1. Ensure proper funding and community support to maintain parks and to keep them available to the public. 2. Establish a dog park in Lakeland. 3. Improve existing parks and develop new parks to ensure that all residents have easy access to high quality parks. 4. Extend park hours to include weekends and holidays. - ).! Affordable public athletic and recreation facilities and programs throughout all sectors of the city for residents of all ages support a healthy, active Lakeland. 1. Seek additional funding (including dedicated funding sources) to support existing and new recreational facilities and programs. 2. Promote joint land acquisitions and recreational investments between public governmental agencies (e.g., a joint agreement for facility use with the city and the public school district). 3. Expand current recreational programs and better communicate recreational opportunities to the public. #
16 4. Work with the Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department to ensure that all citizens have access to affordable facilities and programs. 5 ) The topic Social Initiatives has been divided into the following five subtopics: Social Programs, Health, Homeless, Family, and Seniors., ). # 0 A collaborative climate among community organizations fosters more effective outreach and educational programs that prevent risky behaviors and better treat and serve special needs. 1. Identify steps to address deficiencies in service provision (e.g., substance abuse, disabled citizens, prison rehabilitation, housing for mentally disabled, at-risk youth, etc.). 2. Establish a task force of public and non-profit leaders to form a coordinated strategy for social programs and reduce duplication of services. 3. Develop a comprehensive list of available services and communicate local resource availability to Lakeland residents. - )!" Lakeland is a healthy community that features education initiatives that promote healthy lifestyles and prevention, improved hospitals and medical facilities, and increased access to quality health care for people of all ages and income levels. 1. Expand and improve existing mental health services. 2. Establish a program to improve accessibility and affordability of health care for all Lakeland citizens. 3. Conduct a public education campaign to encourage healthy lifestyle choices (e.g., exercise, nutrition, preventative care, etc.). 4. Conduct an evaluation of Lakeland s current health care systems to identify ways to use funding more efficiently, and provide more health care opportunities to the under-insured. $
17 / ) 0 Lakeland s homeless population is dramatically reduced through outreach shelters and housing programs that provide comprehensive support services including child care, education, and job placement. 1. Establish a task force of public and non-profit leaders to formulate a coordinated strategy to reduce homelessness. 2. Establish a one-stop outreach center that provides a full range of services to the homeless. 1 )& 0 ( Lakeland sustains strong and healthy families by providing ready access to support services, including quality affordable childcare, assistance for families in need, and resources for teen parents. 1. Establish a one-stop outreach center in all neighborhood areas that provides support services for families. 2. Ensure that high quality, affordable and accessible childcare is available to all families. 7 ) Lakeland seniors experience a high quality of life in a variety of living situations, are involved in the community, and have good access to services including senior centers, health care, continuing education, and public transportation. 1. Consult with seniors to identify their needs and wants in terms of expanded services. 2. Increase programs to enable frail elderly to remain in their own homes with adequate safety provisions. 3. Enhance public transportation options for seniors who don t drive, including expanded Handi-Bus routes and increased reliability of transport services. 4. Develop funding sources to offer more services to Lakeland s elderly. 5. Encourage and enable senior citizens to volunteer and participate in community programs. %
18 ) The topic Transportation has been divided into the following three subtopics: Public Transit, Walking and Biking, and Roadways and Traffic Movement., ) 6.! Public transportation improvements in Lakeland provide convenient, modern, safe, and efficient alternatives to driving that enhance livability and improve connections throughout the region. 1. Encourage regional rail service connecting Lakeland to Tampa, Orlando and, if possible, points beyond. 2. Secure local, state, and federal funding for expanded transit services demonstrating economic benefits to the community. 3. Expand bus service with improved schedules, extended hours, routes, and equipment. 4. Educate the public on the benefit of public transportation as an alternative to the use of private vehicles for daily or special event trips. 5. Pursue land use and development patterns that support public transportation. - )$ # # Lakeland citizens walk and bike throughout their city using a comprehensive, expansive, and well-connected network of sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails that integrate safely with roadways. 1. Develop a system of safe, clearly marked, and well-connected bike lanes, trails, and shared roadways. 2. Expand, connect, and improve the safety of a citywide sidewalk and bike network that is integrated with public parking and public transit. 3. Encourage local businesses to offer incentives for employees and/or customers who use alternate transportation such as walking and biking. 4. Develop a map of bike lanes and multi-use trails and promote activities such as car-free days to encourage more biking and walking. / ) 3 ( 22. ' 0! Excellent street conditions, traffic management, and a highly connected road system help to increase roadway capacity and improve overall mobility throughout Lakeland. &
19 1. Develop and implement fully integrated ATMS (Automated Traffic Management System) to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow. 2. Assess Lakeland streets, complete needed improvements, and conduct targeted upgrades of key roads. 3. Increase capacity of roadways to improve connections throughout Lakeland, promote more efficient cross-town travel, and maximize the use of acquired rights-of-way. '
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