Guide to Polk  

Drane Park

Most of Lakeland’s parks are open from dawn to 10 p.m. The exceptions are Lake Parker Recreation Area and Peterson Park, which are open from sunrise to sunset. For information, call 863-499-6090.
Relegated to one of the quiet recesses of Dixieland, Drane Park remains the peaceful rectangle it has always been.

Home to no more than a half-dozen canary-yellow park benches and a cluster of stodgy trees, the quiet outpost within Lakeland city limits serves as an extended front yard for the houses that surround it.

"It's always been more of a natural respite type park," said Pam Page, assistant director of Lakeland Parks and Recreation. "The reason it has been that was that the neighborhood was a historical neighborhood. It used to be a park you'd just walk through."

Once a flourishing melting pot for azaleas and other flora and fauna, these days Drane's serenity seems mostly unbroken, save for the occasional canine visitor, bounding after rogue tennis balls.

At least for now.

But joint plans in the works by the Department of Parks and Recreation and Florida Presbyterian Homes seek to modernize Drane in an effort to spruce the neighborhood. As younger families move into the community surrounding the park, the need to establish "cross-generational opportunities" ­— that is, offer enjoyment for people of all ages. The plans call for a playground and modern exer- cise equipment unavailable at any other city park, Page said.

"We wanted to maintain some of the history of the park," she said. "You could amble through, perhaps a gazebo-type thing, but we also wanted ... playground equipment because they want kids there."

Page said the two groups are hoping to gather public opinion for the project before moving forward.

Until then, Drane will stay the same. An obscure city sanctuary tucked beneath drooping Spanish moss and a neighborhood of historic homes.

[ Chase Purdy can be reached at or 863-802-7516 ]

Created: April 20, 2013 11:59 p.m.
Modified: April 20, 2013 11:59 p.m.
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