You’ve probably heard of development grants, activities, and events sponsored by the “Downtown CRA” or the “DDB,” but you may not know what they are.
A CRA is a “community redevelopment agency,” and it is a tool urban planners and local governments use across the country to help redevelop struggling or blighted urban areas. They were first created in the late 1940s and were established in Florida in 1969.
Orlando’s CRA was created in 1980 and includes 1,664 acres downtown. (Two other districts were also created — one along Conroy Road and another along Republic Drive.)
“CRAs provide a variety of elements that are needed for redevelopment — a governing or management element, financing, short and long-term planning, and processes that enable stakeholders to participate,” Dr. Christopher Hawkins, professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida Downtown Campus, wrote. “[The Downtown CRA] has provided a useful framework for guiding the city’s investments.”
The seven members of the Orlando City Council serve as members of the CRA, which is typical in other places. There is also a CRA Advisory Board that provides advice on redevelopment activities.
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