The Lakeland Downtown Development Authority, or LDDA, was created by the "Lakeland Downtown Development Authority Act" enacted by the Florida State Legislature in 1977 and amended in 1978. The Lakeland City Commission adopted Ordinance 2046 on September 19, 1977 establishing the boundaries of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority Area, which were expanded in 1984.
Property owners within the area voted to make the area a Special Downtown Development Authority Tax District in 1978. The City Commission adopted Ordinance 2155 on November 19, 1979, designating the LDDA as the Community Redevelopment Agency for the City of Lakeland. A downtown Development plan was adopted by the City Commission in 1980, and in 1981 it issued a Development Order "for the Lakeland Downtown Revitalization Plan."
LDDA is charged with recommending projects, plans, and developers to the City Commission. It is empowered to option, buy, sell or lease real estate, and arrange financing to support and stimulate private projects authorized by the development plan with the approval of the City Commission. In the course of conducting these activities, staff members of LDDA took hundreds of photographs over more than 20 years documenting buildings, events, and activities in Downtown Lakeland. The photos in this collection reflect the work of LDDA, which with the help of city government and community organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Historic Lakeland, and the Historic Preservation Board, has revitalized Lakeland's downtown in the past twenty-five years.