Critics Still Targeting Winter Haven’s Lake Howard Trail Project

WINTER HAVEN | The bold, red-lettered signs are more sparse. City Commission meetings these days see no congregations of angry residents. The second phase of the Lake Howard Trail is coming soon, but groans have grown quieter.

“Is it a foregone conclusion? Maybe,” said Dennis Krueger, a Lake Howard homeowner who has been one of the loudest voices against the city’s proposed project.

He hasn’t completely given up hope the city won’t go through with building the 8-foot-wide asphalt trail scheduled on city right of way, right in front of his home, at 1335 Lake Howard Drive.

“Maybe someday they’ll have to come in and rip it out after a lawsuit,” Krueger added.

Residents have expressed concern about a number of issues with the trail, including how the increased pedestrian traffic will affect litter in the lake, how eliminating a parking lane on Lake Howard Drive will affect traffic safety, and how much money the city is going to actually spend to complete the project.

The rest of this article can be found here as it appeared on page B1 of The Ledger.

Winter Haven Apartment Complex is Seeking Refunds From The City

The Abbey Lane Apartments in Winter Haven. (Paul Crate/ The Ledger)

The Abbey Lane Apartments in Winter Haven. (Paul Crate/ The Ledger)

WINTER HAVEN | The owners of an apartment complex in southwest Winter Haven are suing the city, requesting tens of thousands of dollars in water bill refunds because of overbilling.

Although the suit was filed June 4 in Polk County Circuit Court, according to records acquired by The Ledger, city officials said Friday they had not received notification.

Abbey Lane Apartments consists of more than 100 low-income housing units near Lake Shipp at 100 Evergreen Place SW.

The owner, Abbey Lane Associates, says the city grossly overbilled it for water service to the office building.

According to the lawsuit, the overbilling occurred for 31 months from 2009 to 2012, possibly because of a faulty water meter. The suit says the city refuses to refund any of the money that was paid.

The office building for the apartment complex houses four faucets, one toilet and eight residential washing machines.

Prior to June 2009, water bills for the building were for between 10,000 and 19,000 gallons per month, the lawsuit says. Beginning June 4, 2009, things changed.

“During the period from or about June 4, 2009, to Jan. 4, 2012, (the city) billed Abbey Lane for incredible amounts of water consumption at the office building,” J. Frazier Carraway of Saxon Gilmore, Carraway & Gibbons law firm in Tampa contends.

The rest of this article can be found here as it originally appeared on page B1 of The Ledger.

Polk Aviation Alliance President Jamie Beckett Resigns

Jamie Beckett (The Ledger)

Jamie Beckett (The Ledger)

WINTER HAVEN | Jamie Beckett, the city of Winter Haven’s former “airport commissioner,” has resigned as CEO and president of the Polk Aviation Alliance, an organization he started.

His resignation letter, sent via email to the alliance board of directors Sunday evening, cited an inability to bring board members to work together and eliminate selfishness.

“At a recent meeting that included three board members other than myself, I was profoundly disappointed and quite embarrassed to find our member organizations and board members not only made no attempt to work collaboratively to support one another, they displayed a disquieting level of ego-centric turf protection,” Beckett wrote in the letter, “to the detriment of the process at hand and the players at the table.”

The rest of this article can be found here as it appeared on page B1 of The Ledger.