I just realized today, 20 years ago (Veterans Day) I purchased my first “real” (IBM Compatible) computer. It didn’t have a hard drive (the store told me I wouldn’t need one for awhile!), and I thought I was up to date on technology! (I had had several Commodores, a VIC 16 and a Commodore 64). I actually used it for at least 6 years when I jumped at least two generations of computers.
I had no idea of the tremendous changes yet to come. I believe cell phones had just come out and were still a novelty, Blackberry’s, GIS,digital cameras, digital music, GPS navigationsystems and similar items were still to come. Lakeland was just 9 years old as an incorporated city.
I can remember in the late nineties I went to a conference where a speaker observed that it was possible to build and operate a plane that would be completely computer operated form take-off to landing and it was feasible for small “computer” airplanes. This hasn’t happened yet and I don’t foresee it in the future. Also, when I was about ten years old, I remember seeing an ad with a car with the passengers playing cards etc. with the car controlled automatically. I never thought that in 2006 we would be driving cars the “same old way”!
Technology has completely changed the way cities operate, yet we still do many things, mow grass, fix streets, drive cars etc. basically the same way. In other areas, including communication, we would never have imagined the future of 2006 back in 1986.
The Board of Commissioners, Lakeland Boards and Commissions and city staff are always preparing for the future, especially now in our period of rapid growth. When we look back from 2026, I expect there will be many concepts we can’t even imagine now but we do our best to prepar for the future. Every structure, street and residential or commercial addition built today (and trees and natural resources saved) will impact our future and the BOC, Lakeland Boards and Commissions and city staff have the difficult task of forecasting and preparing for the future.
The City will soon be announcing the dates for Public Input Meetings on the Natural Resources Inventory. The Assistant Natural Resources Director Nick Bridgement and Natural Resources Director Eric Bridges have completed an AMAZING amount of work on this. I encourage all residents to attend one or both of the meetings to provide input. The Natural Resources Inventory will also be reviewed at Board of Commissioner and Municipal Planning Commissions meetings.
The Natural Resources Inventory, along with the Comprehensive Plan, Code revisions and a Park and Recreation Plan are only a few of the tools the City of Lakeland uses to forecast and prepare for the future. We especially value the comments, suggestions and input from Lakeland residents as we prepare the Lakeland community for future generations. (Times and dates for the Natural Resources Inventory public comment meetings will be announced in the near future.)