Downtown Lakeland intersection gets makeover – The Ledger


On Sunday, the geometric mural painted at the intersection of East Main Street at North Ingraham Avenue was given a more permanent boost of color about a year and eight months after it was originally created.

LAKELAND — In 2017, about 25 high school students spent a day turning bland into bright and beautiful but within three days, the luster was lost.

On Sunday, the geometric mural painted at the intersection of East Main Street at North Ingraham Avenue was given a more permanent boost of color about a year and eight months after it was originally created. 

Beginning about 5 a.m. and finishing close to 3 p.m., about 10 painters from Angco Striping of Longwood and Transpo Industries of Raleigh, North Carolina, refurbished the student-borne creation, originally created as an eye-catching entryway into downtown Lakeland’s Design District.

The original creation at the intersection was sponsored by the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and Boring Business Solutions, and in spring 2017 was formed by children and adults from Rochelle School of the Arts and Harrison School for the Arts. However, Angelo Rao, manager of traffic operations and parking services for the city of Lakeland, said it didn’t take long for automobile tire tracking and traffic to make the original colors lackluster.

So Sunday, workers from the two companies brought out paint rollers and arm strength to repaint the patterns and add a clear coating of ultraviolet protective spray and a higher quality of surface paint to keep the colors from so quickly fading again.

Rao said the original geometric artwork was funded through the CRA and cost between $8,000 and $10,000 to install, which included a workday-ending social event for the volunteer students. This year, Steve Mitchell, Angco Striping owner, donated manpower and paint to redo the project, so the only cost to the city was between $1,000 and $1,200 to maintain traffic while the project was completed.

Rao, who’s been with the city of Lakeland for four years, said the protective gloss will keep the artwork from becoming tarnished with tire marks and the new paint will provide more visibility of the intersection to motorists, better traction for tires and the project overall is “just cool and nice to see.” He said the city has plans to inspect other intersections for possible art installations and protective surfacing in the future.

“We can’t do this at every intersection; we have to be selective. It can be expensive,” he said. “If the problem with black marks is reduced, it will help us decide whether or not to expand something like this to other parts of the city.”

The intersection art project was part of a CRA 2017 initiative to create the Design District. The agency earmarked $2.2 million through 2021 to expand business opportunities in that area. An advisory board established a job creation incentive program and tax incentives were created to attract new businesses — many of those art-like businesses such as interior designers, furniture makers and fixtures manufacturers.

In a written release, Alis Drumgo, CRA project manager, said the Lakeland CRA began the intersection project two years ago to introduce art in public spaces and support an identity of the east Main Street business and arts district.

“Street murals and public art are a creative way to help neighborhoods foster a sense of identity and community pride,” he stated.

Mitchell said there was a reason for the particular colors being used. He said the green signified bicycle riding, the dark blue went with parking for the physically disabled, yellow was analogous to school crossings and red correlated to bus lanes and crosswalks.

The new paint is expected to stay vibrant for at least two and up to seven years.

Paul Catala can be reached at paul.catala@theledger.com or 863-802-7533. He can be reached at Twitter @pcat0226.

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