Fellow Rotarian Gene Fultz could have visited the Rotary Club of Lake Wales on Nov. 5 to make up a meeting, but he was there as the guest speaker.
The club’s theme for November is government and Fultz, the mayor of Lake Wales, talked about his first six months in office during the meeting at Lake Wales Medical Center.
Fultz said the duties of the mayor have increased tremendously as a result of a change in the city charter.
The mayor believes in building relationships and forming partnerships. To illustrate that he showed several photos that are on what he called the “Wall of Fame” in his office at City Hall.
They show events he has attended, both in and out of Lake Wales, and people he has met. The mayor does attend many functions.
“I’m the face of Lake Wales,” he said.
Fultz said he is often asked what is the city going to do about the Grand Hotel. The mayor explained that the old building is owned by Ray Brown and not the city.
He said Brown “is very passionate” about the hotel and wants to see it work.
“It could be a focal point for the city,” the mayor said.
Fultz said he, Lake Wales City Manager Ken Fields and Jim Bell, executive director of the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, have “actively been seeking financial backers” for the restoration of the hotel.
The building can’t be imploded because it is within 1,000 yards of a federal building (the post office). Fultz said it would cost more than $2 million to take it down “by hand.”
Fultz said Bell, who has a lot of connections, has been introducing Fields to the “right people” in trying to promote Lake Wales.
“Some good things are coming down the pike,” said Fultz, adding that he couldn’t be specific because they haven’t been finalized.
Fultz, who is a member of the Lake Wales Breakfast Rotary Club, spoke about the trip he and some other members of that club made to Honduras last month.
They put down a concrete floor and also built a picnic table.
He said the Breakfast Club is planning another construction project that will involve putting in a well near a school.
The mayor said he was interviewed on TV there. He said he thought it was going to last 15 minutes and it lasted more than an hour and was broadcast all over Central America.