Charles Lake

City Commission
Title: Commissioner
Lake Charles 8x10

Term Expires: April 2027 - Seat 2

Charles Lake, (he prefers to be called Charlie), a born and bred New Yorker, moved here in 2008 and quickly became a Floridian. He retired from a 50-year career in the magazine publishing business in NYC, where his jobs included Assistant Art Director on 3 monthly publications; Director of Production Operations; Production Director of Woman's Day magazine, 3 other monthly publications, and 18 Special Interest Magazines. 


He was also very involved in Industry Associations and one in particular, the Association of Publication Production Managers, in which he was a member for over 40 years. There were close to 400 members, and he served as President two times, the only one to do so in its 65-year history, and also served as Chairman of the Program Committee eight times. He designed the logo in 1963 and it was never changed in more than 40 years. 


Over the years he was the recipient of many awards, among them, the Fellowship Award from the New York Club of Printing House Craftsman; the Gold Key award from the New York Technical College International Graphic Arts Society; the Production Executive Hall of Fame award and the James E. West Award from the Boy Scouts of America and the APPM Production Person of the Year in 1989. Ironically this was an award he initiated 15 years earlier and was the 7th and last one to receive it. During his career, he served on many committees and gave numerous educational presentations. One of his proudest and most difficult was the one at the United Nations International Center with a group of students from all over the world.


Following his “retirement” in 2000, he immediately went to work at Michaels Arts & Crafts in Hightstown NJ. Then in 2002 he moved to Glassboro, New Jersey, and went to work at Michaels Arts & Crafts and Home Depot. At the same time, he volunteered with the Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity where he was the team leader on the construction of five houses in a thirteen-house community, served on the Board of Directors, and designed and maintained their first website.


In 2004 while visiting his brother in Auburndale, he decided to tour the local area and after a couple more visits, in 2008 he decided that Florida and Lake Alfred would be his future home. 


He has a son and daughter, 4 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren all of whom live in NJ. Here in Florida, he has a brother, four nieces (two in Lake Alfred), and a nephew in Brandon.



In 2009, a year after moving to Lake Alfred, he applied for and was accepted to serve on the Planning Board. He also became a member of the Friends of the Library and designed their website to follow the construction of the new library. Following that he became a member of the Chamber of Commerce and volunteered throughout the city wherever needed.


In 2011 he ran for a seat on the City Commission and, although he lost by a slim margin, he continued to serve the community.


In mid-2012, following the resignation of the sitting Mayor, he was appointed to the City Commission to fill the seat for the remainder of the term. When the term ended in 2013, he ran for re-election was unopposed, and was sworn in to serve a full 4-year term which ended in 2017. After serving two years as Vice Mayor, he was nominated and chosen to serve as Mayor during the Centennial year 2015-2016 and reappointed for 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019. As a commitment to the citizens, he initiated “Monday Morning with the Mayor”. This was an opportunity to get closer to the citizens and find out what is on their minds and update them on what is going on in the city. He also invited candidates for local public office to come to the meetings and allow anyone to ask questions one on one. This was very popular.


During his first term as Mayor, he held a plaque recognition at Gardner Park and invited the Gardner Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren. As he made his presentation about the plaque, he pointed out that the house the Gardner’s lived in was right at the corner across from the assisted living facility. The house, which was built in 1915, was for sale along with the real estate office that belonged to Frank Gardner. He immediately spoke to the city manager and had the city purchase the historic properties to preserve them from possible destruction. The house is currently being renovated to bring it back to be as close to the original as possible. When this is finished in the next year or two, it will be open to the public as a venue for weddings, meetings, and parties. Eventually, all the rooms will be furnished with antique furniture to replicate what it was like back in the days when the Gardner’s lived here.



On a community level, he served as President of the Board of Directors at the Polk Training Center where he designed their logo and the website; was a member of the Friends of the Library (LAFOL) and designed and maintained their website; a member of the Chamber of Commerce and designed the logo and designed and maintains their website; volunteered with East Polk County Habitat for Humanity and helped build the first and second Habitat house in Lake Alfred and three others in Winter Haven; designed and maintained the website for the Veterans Memorial; designed and maintained the website for the Lake Alfred Public Library; is a Board member of the Historical Society (currently President) designed the logo, designed maintains their website; taught computer/tablet/phone classes for Senior Citizens at the library. He is also a member of the First Baptist Church of Lake Alfred where he served on the Property and Space Committee. Served as President of the Magnolia Ridge Homeowners Association two times. He is very much into volunteerism and has a strong community spirit.



On a County level, he served as Chairman of the Transportation Disadvantaged Local Coordinating Board for 5 years; represented the city on the Transportation Planning Organization serving as Vice Chair and Chair; served on the Energy and Environment Committee and now the Urban Administration Committee at the Florida League of Cities; served as Lake Alfred representative on the Polk County Regional Water Cooperative from its inception. He was also instrumental in getting FDOT to install a sign to help solve the wrong-way problem at Pomelo and Lake Shore Way. His ongoing campaign is to get more traffic lights in the city, especially at the Cummings Street school crossings and Haines Blvd at Shinn Blvd.


After a two-year hiatus, he has once again been elected to the City Commission unopposed for another four-year term.



Charlie believes that you should use your past experience to make the future better. He also has a strong sense of paying it forward. “I always told anyone who worked with me that when I taught them something they were obligated to teach someone else.” Based on the Facebook feedback from his many “students” they have paid it forward and continue to do so.”


His adopted motto is “making a difference – it's what I do”.


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