Headlines 6-27-18

The Spring Lake residential district south of Sebring on Highway 98 finally has a backup water source. Last week, the District’s Board signed the papers to buy the water treatment plant portion of the old power and water plant on Heywood Taylor Boulevard near the racetrack west of Spring Lake. District officials say it’ll be a year or more before the plant can go online, but when it does, the community will have an answer to its water supply concerns.

The old Nan-Ces-O-Wee Hotel in Downtown Sebring may still get its new lease on life – Monday evening, the Sebring Downtown CRA Board threw a potential 90-day lifeline to the developer who bought the property, along with the Santa Rosa Hotel down the road. Board Chair David Leidel suggested a formal extension of the CRA committment to help fund the conversion of the building into apartment homes, based on the developer’s verbal statements that bank financing could be secured within a couple weeks. Other members were skeptical, but agreed to vote on the matter at the board’s July 9 meeting.

If your Google Maps voice tries to route you around your favorite shortcut over the next few weeks, maybe it’s got a friend in the Florida DOT. The state has issued road advisories for eight Highlands County road projects affecting traffic during the ramp-up to the Fourth of July holiday … some of the higher-trafficked areas include Highway 27 in Sebring south of Golfview, where trhere’s driveway reconstruction going on at the old Mexican restaurant location and adjacent property. There’s ditch work going on there as well. Crews are checking underground utilities along 27 Northbound between CR 17 and the Polk County line. Avon Park’s intersection of Main Street and Highway 27 is underway, and you can expect lane and shoulder closures there and a few blocks on either side of the intersection itself. Back in Sebring, lane closures will be an on-and-off process in front of Home Depot as ditch work continues, and SR 66 from the Highlands/Hardee County Line to west of 27 is being re-paved.

Up to our north in Lakeland, the had a scare yesterday as a ten-story assisted living center in the downtown area caught fire. Two residents and two employees were sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation and 150 others were evacuated after a fire started on the roof of the Lake Morton Plaza assisted living high-rise. Officials said they believed an air-conditioning unit was the source of the fire, but they are still investigating. As the first residents were evacuated, they were moved into a parking lot across the street until a Bank of America office opened its air-conditioned lobby to evacuees.