Bartow Economic Development Council, Inc. members: Brian Hinton, Bartow Community Healthcare Foundation, Inc.; Ken Riley, Eastside Positive Action Committee; Dawn Decaminada, Polk County Board of County Commissioners; James F. Clements, Bartow City Commission; Philip Minden, BayCare Bartow Regional Medical Center; Rob Clancey, Polk State College; Laura Simpson, Main Street Bartow; Doug Conner, Clear Springs Land Company; Drew Crawford, Boswell & Dunlap, LLP; and Jeff Clark, Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce.


Community leaders representing ten major stakeholders in Bartow attended the inaugural meeting of the Bartow Economic Development Council, Inc. (BEDC) this morning at Bartow City Hall. The new non-profit corporation will function as an collaborative body dedicated to the economic development of the greater Bartow area.

The new entity began as an initiative presented to the Bartow City Commission in early 2012 that was the result of a project by the Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. It envisioned establishment of an economic development body, and the development of an economic development plan focused specifically on Bartow.

Since then, economic conditions and the City’s financial position have continued to improve. A number of tools have been developed and implemented by the City to facilitate the success of a focused economic development initiative. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce has recently reorganized its structure and redirected its resources toward its own core mission of economic development.

A proposed composition for the BEDC was developed in the fall of 2015, and was subsequently approved by both the Bartow City Commission and the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce Board.

The BEDC is comprised of a 12-seat Board of Directors. Ten of the seats have been assigned to representatives of area economic development stakeholders: Bartow Chamber of Commerce, Bartow Community Healthcare Foundation, Bartow Community Redevelopment Agency, BayCare Bartow Regional Medical Center, City of Bartow, Clear Springs Land Company, Eastside Positive Action Committee, Main Street Bartow, Polk County Board of County Commissioners and Polk State College. The remaining two seats have been left open for future appointments to the Board.

Although the City and Bartow Community Redevelopment Agency have appropriated funds to facilitate the initial efforts of the BEDC, the entity will address future revenue generation and expenditure needs as one of its first priorities.


Coming up for CHAMBER MEMBERS!

Crickette Fun Thursday2


By Sharon Casey

     I know that most of you have heard of the Crickette Club of Bartow. But what do you really know? Did you know that the word "crickette" means fair play? Or what the letters represent? Let me share that with you.
     Crickette - Community, Respect, Integrity, Caring, Kinship, Excellence, Timeless, Teamwork, Enthusiam.  Very meaningful words that represent a group of awesome women.
     In 1941 a group of business women established the Crickette Club of Bartow. They wanted a club that was all their own. Their club, their rules.
     Crickettes are business women who have an interest in Bartow's civic affairs and who give their primary support to Bartow area Girl Scouting as well as other local community charities. The Crickette Club is most known for the giant yard sale that is held in August and the Halloween Parade and Carnival that is held on the Thursday before Halloween.
    The parade begins downtown at 4:00 p.m. and ends at Mosaic Park, where the carnival will be in full spin. The Crickettes work many, many hours to make this a wonderful event. It's not easy, but because of their dedication to this community, they strive to make the Parade and Carnival the very best that it can be. Every year it is great, but every year the Crickettes push themselves to make it even better. 
     There is something for children and adults of all ages at the Carnival. Rides, food, games and a costume contest for the children. The costume contest is free and a trophy is awarded to each category according to age; and if the costume is store bought or homemade.
     And, let's not forget one of the most popular events - the Cakewalk. Oh my goodness. Many, many homemade cakes for the winners. The dedication of the women in this Club is amazing.
     We have Crickettes with longevity. The Club has been in existence for 75 years. Meromay Davis has been in the Club for 68 years. We have many Crickettes that have been in for more than 40 years. I have only been a Crickette for about eight years. I love it. I have met wonderful women and have made life long friends. These women not only support the community, but each other. And, lucky for me, they let you continue to be a Crickette even after you retire. You are grandfathered in. I feel very fortunate.
     If you would like more information about becoming a member of the Crickette Club of Bartow or would like information about entering a float in the parade, please visit
     And, all Chamber members are invited to the June Fun Thursday at the Girl Scout House on June 9, 2016 at 5:15 p.m. to help them celebrate their 75th Anniversary. See you then!


Follow these links for more information:

Main Street Bartow, Inc.

City of Bartow Parks and Recreation Dept.

Polk County History Center

Lots to do on Bartow’s Main Street every month

Movies on the Lawn
Come watch a free movie on the lawn on the last Friday of every month. The movie begins shortly after dark on the corner of Main and Wilson at the grassy lot. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and bug spray and enjoy a popular movie outdoors with the family – there’s nothing like it! Usually one of the service clubs will have snacks available for purchase, or bring your own. See you at dark-thirty!

Farmer’s Market
Each Wednesday, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., come to Fort Blount Park and find fresh vegetables plus other great item at the Main Street Farmer’s Market.

Friday, Friday, Friday
Friday Fest Street Party fun continues on May 20. Live entertainment is featured.

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday
Every second Saturday, find collectibles and treasures at the Downtown Antique Fair on East Main Street from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Main Street Bartow’s Uptown Community Yard Sale is on the third Saturday of each month on the corner of Wilson and Main. Look for bargains or sell your treasures from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

For more information on any Main Street Bartow events, call the office at (863) 519-0508. If you know someone who would like to receive the newsletter call or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Main Street Bartow is located at 180 South Central Ave.