The Lakeland Vision process has Vision Partners and Vision Collaborators working on many strategies and moving toward the benchmarks called for in the Vision Document. The items below are successes since Lakeland Vision’s inception in 1998 that probably would not have been initiated if the Lakeland community had not committed to the Vision process.
MENTORING ALLIANCE – The Lakeland Chamber, after selecting this strategy at a retreat, formed an alliance with Polk County Schools and placed over 850 new mentors in the Metro Lakeland area schools in the first year. It is estimated that 5 students in every classroom could benefit from a mentor.The Mentoring Alliance received a three year grant totaling $231,000 from United Way of Central Florida to recruit, train, place, and recognize mentors and evaluate the success of children who are mentored. Based on its success, the Alliance became a countywide effort operated by the Polk County School Board’s Community Involvement Department.
ANNEXATION – At the urging of the Chamber of Commerce, after selecting this strategy at a retreat, the City began an aggressive annexation drive. Since November 2000 the City of Lakeland annexed eight areas into the City via voter referendum. Three additional large tracts of land were incorporated into the City through voluntary annexation soon thereafter, and annexation efforts continued.
PARTNER WITH PRESIDENTS’ COUNCIL OF NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS – An alliance was formed between Lakeland Vision, the Lakeland area neighborhood associations, and the City’s Neighborhood Services Division. The alliance worked very hard to bring all neighborhood associations together around the entire county. An associate conference was held in 2000, and annually since, with many municipalities, plus our County neighborhood associations participating. Over 500 people participated in training programs at each conference. This Alliance was the foundation for the current Neighborhood Association Coalition who received our Spirit of the Vision award.
ADOPT-A-LAKE WORKING IN ALLIANCE WITH VISION PARTNERS – The City of Lakeland worked with an infrastructure sub committee of Lakeland Vision to bring neighborhood association, civic groups, churches, businesses, etc. together to join in on the adopt-a-lake effort to continue to help and support improving the quality of our lakes. They researched and planned a litter education and prevention program for the City. The program, called Citizen Litter Patrol, is now operated by Lakeland Clean and Beautiful in partnership with Lakeland Police Department.
TREE ALLIANCE – The Tree Alliance (Imperial Polk Shade Tree Society) was formed with the mission of protecting our metro Lakeland image and environment by planting and conserving trees. They have conducted tree plantings throughout the City, advocated successfully for a tree ordinance (2003), established a memorial tree program, and have begun an advocacy campaign to revise the tree ordinance.