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Plant City Observer Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 2 months ago

Plant City ‘army’ tackles Walden Lake upkeep

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Early this morning, the City of Plant City deployed its ‘army’ to bring the Walden Lake Golf & Country Club up to code.
by: Breanne Williams Staff Writer

When commissioners announced they were “frustrated” at the state of the Walden Lake Golf & Country Club in a spontaneous outburst during last week’s commission meeting, they vowed to do “whatever it takes” to ensure the property remained within code.

This morning they put their money where their mouths are. More than 40 tractors, lawn mowers and other equipment, along with more than 40 employees, were sent to follow through on promises made to hold Today’s Bank, the owner of the former golf course and clubhouse, accountable. 

“We call it the 'army,' we’re using an army to bring the property back to code within a short amount of time,” Mayor Rick Lott said. 

Following the tense commission meeting on Aug. 13, the commissioners directed City Manager Bill McDaniel to let the bank know they’ve “had enough.” According to Lott, McDaniel warned bank officials they had not been keeping the property up to code by mowing all grass within 200 feet of a structure or roadway to a height of less than 10 inches and removing all the fallen tree debris within 200 feet of a structure or roadway. 

McDaniel gave the officials an “appropriate timeframe to bring the property back to code,” which expired yesterday. The bank had not successfully complied as of last night so, this morning, Plant City’s “army” gathered at the former clubhouse and began implementing a “well-organized plan,” according to Lott. 

Using city means to bring the property to code is no cheap affair. The cost of the entire endeavor will be placed as a lien against the property. 

“The goal from here is to bring the property within code and to hold the bank to keeping the property within code, and if they don’t, we’ll be back on the property to maintain it,” Lott said. “We’re not going to let it slip back again.”

If the bank does not step in and meet the requirements of code in the future, the liens will continue to stack up against the property as the city continues to use its resources to care for the mass quantity of land. The mayor has ensured the property will be in compliance one way or another.

The ball is now back in Today’s Bank’s court. 

Breanne Williams is a staff writer for the Plant City Times and Observer. She joined in 2017 and covers all things community related. In her free time, she enjoys spending the day at Disney and has a 20-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee in her left hand at all times....

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