County commissioners voted 4-1 todayto commit $1 million to help build a visitor center at Florida Southern College for its collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings.
The funding will still depend, however, on developing an agreement between Polk County and the private Lakeland college to ensure the money is spent for a public purpose.
State Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, told commissioners he supports the project, whose plans have been circulated in recent months for support, and he pledged to get marketing money from state tourism funds.
Commission Chairman Sam Johnson, who had to step down from the chair to second the motion, said he had struggled with the request before realizing the historic significance of the Wright buildings and their potential to attract more tourism.
Commissioner Bob English, who moved to approve the money, said the complex will make Polk County more attractive culturally to the faculty that is expected to move to Lakeland in connection with the planned development of the USF Polytechnic campus east of town.
Commissioner Ed Smith, who said he was uncomfortable committing $1 million in tax money when it was still unclear how commissioners are going to deal with the expected $49 million deficit in next year’s county budget, though he says he thinks the visitor center is a worthwhile project.
County Manager Michael Herr has asked county employees to take pay cuts, furloughs and other cost saving measures. However it seems the county still has money to spend even though they are facing a budget shortfall. If they keep spending like this we are going to have problems similar to California.
County Commissioners just gave the approval on May 20th to buy 200 acres of land to create an Off Road park. Even though a private off road park was just opened in Lake Wales SEE LINK
Seems as if the county just likes spending tax payers money needlessly. It is yet another example of ever expanding government.
Portions of this article came from The Ledger