Feb. 6, 2018
As a resident of Gainesville, I have witnessed firsthand the encouraging impact and positive effects resulting from projects spearheaded by Gainesville’s community redevelopment agency (CRA). Newly renovated areas — such as Depot Park, Bo Diddley Plaza and the Helyx Bridge — have attracted significantly more residents, tourists and businesses in the past few years.
Unfortunately, projects like these may come to a halt if legislation proposed in the Florida House is allowed to pass. House Bill 17, currently under consideration, proposes terminating all existing CRAs over a specified period of time, and requiring legislative approval for any new future CRAs. If law, House Bill 17 would harm communities that struggle to improve sidewalks and parks and fulfill other basic urban needs, and could ultimately result in the elimination of a number of the existing CRAs in the state.
The Gainesville CRA currently has a variety of projects that aim to celebrate and change the pattern of disinvestment in some of Gainesville’s most significant urban core neighborhoods. A few noteworthy projects currently underway by the Gainesville CRA are More in Midtown, Destination South Main, the Power District Development Plan and the redevelopment of Cornerstone.
Each project is financed through a process called tax increment funding, which uses money created from property tax revenue increases within each redevelopment area to fund redevelopment work. There are no state or federal dollars used to fund CRAs, and each agency works closely with stakeholders and community members to assess the individual needs of their respective communities.