Dr. Woody Brown
Tampa Bay Times
Dec. 22, 2017
Largo is looking pretty good for being almost 113 years old. We’re a little older and a little wiser, but we’re certainly not your grandmother’s Largo anymore.
The city is committed to community revitalization, and we know that means that we have to be focused on redevelopment for the long haul. Downtown areas and residential neighborhoods that are facing challenging issues require us, as a community, to take a long-term view of economic recovery and reinvestment. We need every tool in the toolbox that we can get to accomplish this important work. We must continue working strategically and methodically on our redevelopment goals and objectives.
This past year, we saw exciting changes in the city’s community redevelopment area. Deteriorated apartments on West Bay Drive were demolished to make way for new investment. The construction of a new, 29-unit apartment building was completed on Ridge Road and will serve the burgeoning Medical Arts District, and our Community Redevelopment Agency inherited a weed-filled lot from the Florida Department of Transportation and transformed it into a beautiful pocket park.
CRAs are a planning and financing tool created by local governments to revitalize targeted areas that have been neglected or forgotten. Cities use this tool to breathe new life into communities through projects such as roadway and infrastructure improvements, building renovations, and business development and property improvement grants. The money for improvements is funded through tax increment funding, not state or federal dollars. Tax increment financing is an existing property tax revenue, not an additional tax. When a property’s value in the CRA increases incrementally as a result of private and public investment, tax increment funds are reinvested into that specific CRA — right back where the property taxes were originally generated.