Business View Magazine September 2018

98 99 ideas as to how that might benefit us in the fu- ture, as well. So, it’s been an interesting transition. We are in the solar business and we’re hopeful that it’s going to be a tremendous benefit for us.” When asked about Bartow’s future,Wiegers says that he wants to see continued redevelopment of the city’s core area and more businesses coming into the community, so that residents don’t have to go elsewhere for their shopping and social needs. “We don’t even have a movie theater in Bartow and we don’t have a bowling alley,” he opines. “And a lot of times that’s one of the things we hear: ‘Why don’t we have it?’ My typical re- sponse is, ‘We don’t have enough people.’ Our daytime population is huge because of all the service sector employees associated with the government facilities in the City, but everybody goes home at night and from a planning perspec- tive, that’s what I want to see in five years – addi- tional businesses in the community, so we don’t have to drive to them.” Clark agrees. “For so long, we’ve lost a lot of our young people,” he states. “They go to college and they move off. If we’re going to grow and attract those people back here, we’ve got to get some more industry and increase our business commu- nity.And that’s what we’re beginning to see, now. I’m excited because there seems to be a lot of interest in Bartow that I haven’t ever seen before and I’ve lived here my whole life. I think Bartow is a very unique community; it has a hometown feel and I’d like to see it grow, but not so big that it’s out of con- trol. I think we’ve got the right mix here.We’ve got a strong community and we’ve got a lot of opportu- nity in the near future.” “We’ve got to keep the small town feeling, but we’ve got to add panache like the micro-brewery and one or two restaurants,”Clancey adds.“It’s all With its strategic central location, Polk delivers the connectivity, competitive costs and workforce talent your business needs to thrive. DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL ORLANDO POLK COUNTY TAMPA JACKSONVILLE MIAMI DEEPWATER SEAPORTS WITHIN 75 MILES 3 MILLION PEOPLE WITHIN 100 MILES 9 INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS WITHIN 60 MILES 2 300 + MILES OF RAIL IN POLK COUNTY REGIONAL ACCESS CFDC.ORG • (863) 937-4430 CONNECT TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES FLORIDA within REACH BARTOW, FLORIDA PREFERRED VENDORS n Orlando Utilities Commission The Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) is a municipal- ly-owned public utility providing water and electric service to the citizens of Orlando, Florida and portions of adjacent unincorporated areas of Orange County, as well as St. Cloud, Florida, in Osceola County. Established in 1923 by a special act of the Florida Legislature, OUC is the second largest municipal utility in Florida and the 14th largest municipal in the country. OUC provides electric, water, chilled water and/or lighting ser- vices to more than 240,000 customers. OUC owns and operates the Curtis H. Stanton Energy Center in east Orange County. The most diverse generating site in the state, natural gas, landfill methane gas, coal, and solar are on the 3,280 acre property, which can generate more than 1,800 megawatts of electricity. OUC also owns the Indian River Plant near Cocoa, a 40 percent ownership of Lakeland Electric’s McIntosh Unit 3 in Lakeland, and a six percent stake of the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant near Ft. Pierce. OUC also owns and operates seven water plants and a distribution network of more than 1,700 miles of pipe. n Central Florida Development Council    going to come together; people are going to want to live here, work here, and play here.We’re working on all of those aspects right now. To me that’s more important than having a big industry down the street.” Cox says, “What I would like to see in the next five years is a continuation of what we’ve been doing. The Chamber, the city, the CRA-we’ve been working very hard to get on the same page to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to the business community, an atmosphere where houses can be built and renovated to provide homes for families, but also the working environment that will be sustainable for years to come.The idea is that if you can provide the jobs, then the majority of people will decide to live here. Every time we get one or two families that decide, instead of commuting from Lakeland or Winter Haven to Bartow every day, to live here, that’s a good thing.We want to facilitate that by having a good relationship with businesses, investors, and developers and to make sure that when they come to any of us,we can give them the right information to smooth the process for redevel- opment.” “I want to do it all,” says Wiegers.“I want to see us continue increasing the opportunities to do everything–housing, redevelopment in our neigh- borhoods, trying to make the city a more attractive place.Over the years,we’ve gotten a good reputa- tion for dealing with people fairly and honestly, and it’s starting to pay dividends for us; it’s resulted in some good quality development here.There’s a good future for Bartow.As long as we can manage it and balance it, it’s going to result in a great return.”