Most of the prosperous communities of Florida’s heartland are more than ten miles to the south, or thirty miles north of the busy highway, but Lake Alfred is an exception, only five miles away. It has been growing steadily to the north to accommodate the demand for new, high quality residential areas near Interstate 4.
People who work in Tampa, north Lakeland, and southern Orlando are now able to live in new subdivisions on the southern rim of the Green Swamp, through which I-4 passes. They enjoy the benefits of life in a wonderful small town, and relish their access to the work and attractions of Central Florida.
Several Residential developments are springing up inside our city limits and along Lynchberg and Adams Barn Roads, now contained within the western portions of Lake Alfred, and on Old Polk City Road near I-4.
The older neighborhoods of Lake Alfred have been refashioned with a system of sidewalks, paths, and street lighting, to promote walking to nearby restaurants, shopping, and recreation areas. Lake Alfred’s crime rates have been the lowest in Polk County for over 10 years, and neighbors take pleasure in the trust that has grown between them. Housing values have risen consistently over the years, which is the clearest indication of the stability, attractiveness and safety of the City and its neighborhoods.
For years now, Lake Alfred and its leaders have stressed cooperation with neighboring cities, and promoting the small town experiences of Polk County and the Highlands Ridge. They recognize that many Floridians who live along the coasts, within an hour or two of Lake Alfred, want to travel the interior of Florida.
Lake Alfred has formed alliances and joined the trail of towns that coordinate their fairs, carnivals, and the art shows; promote the development of bed and breakfast lodging; emphasize shopping for antiques; and invite tourists to see the lakes and environmental treasures of Florida.
Many major attractions, including Fantasy of Flight, Bok Tower Gardens, and, of course, Walt Disney World, are only minutes away. Those seeking more information on Polk County attractions can visit ‘Outpost 27″ Visitors Center on Highway 27 and Interstate 4. The highly anticipated Legoland will be immediately south of Lake Alfred, bringing much interest to the surrounding communities.
Lake Alfred’s Downtown is its heart. It has been established south and west of City Hall Biggars Antiques, has expanded to the east to reclaim the historical center of the City with a cafe and general store. The west finds eat-in restaurants, the new Police, EMS Station and Library. It is the architecture, street lighting and landscaping that make the entire commercial center of Lake Alfred a place of beauty, activity and safety. The theme is that of an historical business district, so there are places for outdoor events, sidewalks shaded with trees, wide enough that restaurants overflow outside under awnings and umbrellas.
For many years, the Florida Department of Transportation has studied alternatives to the widening of U.S. 17-92 through the City. Lake Alfred City leaders felt that the improvements would “make or break” the revitalization and development of downtown, but slower growth in population and traffic over the intervening years have resulted in the highway improvements also moving slowly so the City thrives.
Lake Alfred has seen growth and positive change for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that the City built a new sewer treatment plant in 1992, and expanded its water capacity by committing to building a new treatment plant east of the City before the Year 2000. Sewer rates were a problem during the 1990′s, but an upturn in growth after the Year 2000 will rapidly moderate rates for everyone in the City. The key to the City’s attraction of a share of the growth coming to Polk County was, in fact, the capacity it had to provide sewer connections and high quality potable water.
Recently, the extensive Chain of Lakes has been reconnected with a refurbished canal between Lake Hartridge and Lake Rochelle and a new bridge on U.S. 17. The project came about as the result of a partnership between the Lake Region Boat Course (The Chain of Lakes), Lake Alfred, Winter Haven, Polk County and the Florida Department of Transportation. Lake Alfred now offers boating, fishing, and water sports.
As Orlando and Tampa balloon into twin metropolitan giants, a yearning grows for places between them with a more moderate pace, quiet living, and time for the kind of communication that is done face-to-face, in the course of a leisurely walk or a long dinner.
Lake Alfred is a place where families stroll and kids on blades and bikes are out in the cool air of late evening. A place where restaurants, shops and businesses enjoy serving others. A place where the quality of a community is measured not by size, speed or the stampede after the almighty dollar, but by the clear chiming of a church bell, the admiration for and care of the things others have built, the integrity of those who dedicate themselves to the future of the City; and the belief that the next generation deserves our best efforts.