At ABC Action News, we know it's the combination of all the communities that make Tampa Bay great to live in. That's why we've started a new series of reporting highlighting good things happening around town, discovering cool gems you may not know about, and uncovering the big news events impacting those areas.
On Friday, the Good Morning Tampa Bay team focused on Lakeland.
- The Florida Southern College Historic District is the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world
- It was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department in 2012
- A one-eyed, three-legged alligator named Blinky served as the city's unofficial mascot in the 70s
- People would pet the gator and some even tried to kiss his snout
- Blinky was killed by a crocodile twice his size in 1979 after he was moved from Lakeland for safety reasons
- The city's iconic swans are technically royal
- The city's swans disappeared in 1953 so a former resident living in the UK asked the Queen to donate a pair of royal swans to the city
- The Detroit Tigers and the City of Lakeland have the longest continuous relationship than any other major league team
- The Tigers came to Lakeland in 1934, only stopping for three years due to WWII
- The Dixieland historic district originated in 1907
- It was promoted as Lakeland's "Fashionable suburb," and the "Surest, safest, investment in Florida"
- The Terrace Hotel was the city's first high rise building and opened in 1924
- It's located at the site of the city's first hotel, the Tremont House which moved to a new location in 1911
- After falling in disrepair, the Terrace hotel was finally restored and reopened in 1999
- In 1945 the SS Lakeland Victory launched in Richmond, California
- The ship was produced by the united states during WWII and named in tribute to the city of Lakeland
- However, it's not known why it was named after Lakeland
We're highlighting local programs and businesses, road safety projects and more.
Spring training, minor league baseball, and the Detroit Tigers have been part of the Lakeland community since the 1960s.
So much so, you see signs everywhere welcoming you to “Tiger Town, USA.”
“Everyone in Michigan knows Lakeland,” Ron Myers, stadium operations manager, said. “They know where it is on the map.”
Lakeland has been the winter home of the Tigers for 85 years, and a must-go vacation spot for all tigers fans, especially visiting from the north.
There are only a few vendors around the world to whom Disney sells authentic park props. Two of those vendors operate out of the Lakeland Antique Mall, which sits just off I-4 at 3530 US Hwy 98 N.
Homecourt officially opened its doors in February and many are already calling it a slam dunk.
“The vibe is great. I’ve been super excited watching this restaurant getting ready to open for quite some time. It’s great to see Tracy back in the area and definitely, this is what Lakeland needs,” said Jamie Tokes.
Seven-time NBA All-Star and Auburndale native, Tracy McGrady invested $1 million in the restaurant and sports bar, located at Merchants Walk plaza in south Lakeland.
Every hurricane season we talk about the men and women who we call Hurricane Hunters.
The teams that fly high into the eye of a hurricane so we can better predict what the storm is going to do.
"We are on call around the clock, the two P-3's and the one high altitude jet, the G-IV and all of its crews, all their crews are on call for that entire six-month window to support the hurricane forecasts," says Commander Chris Sloane.
But what you may not have known, is that NOAA's team based in Lakeland does more than chase hurricanes.
Lake Parker Park has been around for decades, but some say this jewel is still being discovered by those who live in Lakeland. The park is a great spot for visitors from out of town too! It's conveniently located less than ten minutes from I-4.
Nestled along historic Lake Mirror, you can find one of Lakeland's top attractions.
Hollis Garden is the perfect place to relax and unwind as you explore more than 10,000 flowers, ornamental shrubs, and native trees.
The 1.2-acre botanical garden features a neo-classical architectural environment with patterned flower beds, public art, and fountains.
The Joinery is the newest hot spot in Lakeland to grab a bite, sample some cocktails and hangout with indoor and outdoor patio seating. It's the first food hall established in Lakeland.
If you're looking to head to Lakeland anytime soon, you have to take a stroll through the Lemon Street Promenade.
In the heart of downtown, you'll find the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition.
Every year, these sculptures are changed out from artists all over the Country.
The annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland will take place this year with safety precautions in place.
The event is the state's largest annual convention of any kind and the largest air show in the world. It will be held April 13 - 18.
Lakeland city officials are launching a program to try to make some intersections in the city safer.
It's a red-light detection program and it tries to predict when someone is going to run a light.
A traffic controller would then be able to extend the length of time the surrounding light stay red, in turn, this would prevent crashes.
The City of Lakeland has been creating new bike trails and expanding existing ones, according to Mary Crowe with Bicycling In Lakeland.
These efforts also include a new bicycle action safety plan that focuses on adding new safety measures in high-crash corridors.
“The concept and the mantra is law, not luck, so Xavier Hendrix, one of the most incredible kids I’ve ever met, he’s alive because of law. Southeastern University realized there was a blind spot in their care and they advanced the standard of care and gave every kid a heart screening," says Evan Ernst, the Executive Director of Who We Play For.
Right now the city is working around the clock to protect the birds because it’s nesting season.
The speed limit is set at 20 mph around Lake Morton, and it’s strictly enforced to keep the birds safe, so they don’t get hit by a car.