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!

BCHF Fun Thursday flier


The Just Say No parade and Rally is set for Wednesday, May 11, with the parade beginning at 9:30 a.m. on First Avenue and Main Street. The parade travels East on Main Street, then turns south on Broadway Avenue, and then continues on to Bartow High School for a Pep Rally for all local fifth graders. Please come out and watch  the parade and cheer on our fifth graders to “Say No To Drugs.” Following the parade at the Just Say No Rally, winners of the essay, poster and banner competitions will be announced with prizes and trophies awarded. Don't miss this exciting event. ALL LOCAL DOWNTOWN MERCHANTS ARE ASKED TO TAKE A MOMENT TO CHEER THE KIDS ON THEIR WAY TO THE RALLY! Sponsors include: Bartow Rotary Club and Bartow Community Healthcare Foundation, Inc.


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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 DATE FOR APRIL IS CHANGED TO APRIL 29TH.) 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 April 15, and 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.