Frequently Asked Questions
What is community redevelopment?
Community redevelopment is the publicly-financed rebuilding of an urban, residential or commercial area. Redevelopment is one of the most effective ways to breathe new life into deteriorated areas plagued by social, physical, environmental or economic conditions that act as a barrier to new investment by private enterprise. Through redevelopment, a target area will receive focused attention and financial investment to reverse deteriorating trends, create jobs, revitalize the business climate, rehabilitate and add to the housing stock, and gain active participation and investment by citizens which would not otherwise occur.
What brought about the change from being a CRA to a City Department?
There has been a state-wide discussion regarding the future of Florida’s Community Redevelopment Agencies over the past year and a half that has resulted in an uncertain future for all CRAs, including Gainesville’s. The City and County Commissions wished to create a solution that would address local issues and also insulate the GCRA from future state legislative mandates. The City and County were able to design the future of the GCRA in a mutually agreeable structure. Under the new structure, the GCRA will be able to focus on areas that need more robust programs and that historically did not have the funding to support it.
Explain how the CRA became a city department?
An agreement was negotiated and signed by the City of Gainesville and Alachua County Commissions in April of 2019. An ordinance regarding the CRA was brought to the City Commission for a first reading on August 15, 2019 and for a second reading on September 5, 2019, at which time it was adopted. The ordinance in effect dissolved the Community Redevelopment Agency and created the Community Reinvestment Area. The “new” GCRA is a city department and reports to the City Commission.
What is the GCRA staffing and leadership structure as a city department?
The GCRA office and staff will be relocated to the Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC) at the Cornerstone Campus on SE Hawthorne Road. The team will be led by the GCRA Director, who reports to the City Manager, with the Gainesville City Commission as the governing board.
What happened to the the four districts and advisory boards?
The four redevelopment areas are now a single district with the same external boundaries – the internal boundary lines have been dissolved. The GCRA has a new 15 member advisory board to represent the single district. Members of the new board were appointed at the October 3rd, 2019 City Commission meeting and meet on the third Tuesday of every month.
What projects will the CRA be continuing or cutting, and how will the projects be chosen? Will there be any new projects added?
Under the new structure, the four redevelopment plans will be consolidated into a single “Reinvestment Plan” that will guide the work of the agency for the next ten years. The plan consolidation will be done through a public process involving community workshops, stakeholder meetings, surveys, and other outreach. The GCRA is using the approved CRA 5-year workplan as a starting point. All initiatives that are currently under construction will be completed. Any projects in the early planning stages will be evaluated and prioritized based on the combined redevelopment plan. All economic development and community partnership programs are on hold and are being revised in order to better suit the needs of the community. Additionally, programs will be added that will encourage further economic growth. The GCRA will be collaborating with other City departments and organizations in order to maximize the reach and effects of all initiatives.
What is the new funding structure?
The GCRA will still use tax increment funding and those funds are restricted, meaning they can only be used for redevelopment purposes. The City and County have agreed upon a funding structure that is based on the 2019 revenues. The CRA budget will be set at approximately $70M over ten years, equaling about $7M per year (the exact contributions are on page 30 of the ordinance). Previously funds that were generated in one district could not be used in another – this will no longer be the case as there will be a single district.
What will happen to the office building on NW 5th Ave?
An offer is pending and is expected to be sold by early 2020. When the building was constructed in 2010, the intention was for the CRA to operate out of the upstairs space for 5-10 years and to lease the downstairs space to encourage commercial activity and contribute to the tax roll. Fifth Avenue was historically a commercial corridor and the goal was to encourage activity in the area.
The CRA owned a number of properties and had a number of debts and development agreements being paid over time. Who is taking responsibility for these?
CRA owned assets and liabilities have been transferred to the City. All of the CRA’s debts and development agreements are on schedule to be paid out prior to the end of the 10-year term. The City and County’s contributions to the GCRA each year going forward will remain restricted to GCRA usage, including repayment of CRA indebtedness.