Quick Future of Downtown Lakeland Follow-Up

I wanted to come right back and flesh out some more of my thoughts from yesterday’s post about the future of Downtown Lakeland and Howard Wiggs’ recent vision meeting.

Commissioner Wiggs and I spoke for a few minutes today and are planning to talk again in the near future regarding his thoughts for downtown and ways downtown can be improved. He was very forthright and engaging in our conversation.

There was a misperception on my part and others regarding the nature of his meeting on Wednesday. He said today that he is not interested in controlling the vision or discussion of downtown’s future. The purpose of the Wednesday meeting was to generate ideas that can be brought to the City Commission or LDDA or a formal task force to restart the dreaming process for Downtown Lakeland.

This was also confirmed during the City Commission agenda study this morning, which @DixieCRA covered adeptly. The commissioners and city manager agreed that there was some momentum for downtown visioning and that it’s important to open up the process.

The most recent plan for downtown was developed in 2009, so there’s lots of room for updating and re-imagining. Wiggs said during the meeting, according to @DixieCRA, that he liked the idea of LDDA in partnership with the city leading the way. Mayor Fields also emphasized having public meetings to keep everything in the open.

So, it sounds like the ball is rolling on a new Downtown Lakeland strategic planning process. This should be a good thing for the city, and I’m encouraged after seeing the recap of the commission meeting and speaking with Commissioner Wiggs. His initiative and that of those he invited to the lunch was key in the broader discussion.

Update: Had a question on Facebook about the 2009 plan. It’s still posted online. You can access it here: http://www.plandowntownlakeland.com/theplan.html

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