WHAT IS A COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICT?*
Community Redevelopment Districts (CRDs), also known as Community Redevelopment Areas (CRAs), are established by cities and counties to encourage redevelopment in areas where conditions such as substandard building structures, inadequate infrastructure such as roadways and drainage, or insufficient parking are limiting economic investment and development. Under Florida law (Chapter 163, Part III), local governments are able to designate areas as Community Redevelopment Areas when certain conditions exist.
The activities and programs offered within a Community Redevelopment Area are administered by the Community Redevelopment Agency. A CRA Board is created by the local government to direct the agency; this Board is usually comprised of local government officials. The Community Redevelopment Agency is responsible for developing and implementing a Community Redevelopment Plan that addresses the unique needs of the targeted area. The plan includes the overall goals for redevelopment in the area, as well as identifying the types of projects planned for the area. Such projects typically include transportation and drainage improvements, parking lots and parking garages, building construction or renovation, new neighborhood parks, sidewalks and landscaping, as well as grants or loans to residences and businesses for improvements that enhance economic development and quality of life within the District.
Tax increment financing is an important tool available to cities and counties to carry out these redevelopment activities. The dollar value of all real property in the Community Redevelopment Area is determined as of a fixed date, also known as the “frozen value.” Taxing authorities that contribute to the tax increment continue to receive property tax revenues based on the frozen value. However, any tax revenues from increases in real property value, referred to as “increment,” are deposited into the Community Redevelopment Agency Trust Fund and dedicated to improvements in the redevelopment area. Tax increment financing is thus tool to leverage public funds to promote private sector activity in the targeted area.
The major phases in the creation of a CRA are as follows:
The first step is to adopt the Finding of Necessity, a field study that formally identifies the blight conditions within the established boundaries of the area.
Next, a Community Redevelopment Plan must be developed and then adopted. The Plan should address the unique needs of the targeted area and include overall goals as well as identify programs and projects.
Once a Redevelopment Trust Fund is established, it enables the CRA Board to direct the increase in real property tax revenue to the targeted area’s needs.
Please follow the links at left to learn more about the Pinellas Park Community Redevelopment District.
*Adapted from the Florida Redevelopment Association, "CRA Basics," http://redevelopment.net/cra-resources/q-a-for-cras/