Palm Beach Post
Dec. 29, 2017
Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs) have recently drawn increased attention following proposals in the Florida Legislature seeking to enact crippling limitations on these organizations. With CRAs under heavy scrutiny, it’s difficult to distinguish reality from the misinformation being spread.
Here’s the truth about CRAs:
- CRAs exist to serve the community. They are created to reinvigorate and breathe life into areas that have been blighted or neglected. CRAs don’t use any federal dollars but receive funding through a process called tax increment funding. And all revenue is reinvested into the area the CRA serves.
- CRAs are transparent. Public oversight is built into these organizations, including independent audits. There are five annual reports released by CRAs as required by law, and these reports disclose all CRA activities, finances and administration. In addition, board meetings are open to the public.
- CRAs are key components of job creation. In redeveloping neglected areas, CRAs help stimulate investment from major job-providers. Simple projects like streetscape renovations encourage redevelopment efforts from developers in decaying areas. They also provide incentives that spur small-business growth. This makes way for economic development that is sustained by the community.
- CRAs preserve community history. At the heart of redevelopment is reuse and preservation.