Look around your community -- are there any revitalization efforts underway? Do you see the benefits of redevelopment? How does this happen? The activities and programs within a community redevelopment area are guided by Florida Statutes (Chapter 163, Part III) and the concerted effort of a local community redevelopment agency to revitalize areas that need redevelopment. In the City of New Smyrna Beach, the City Commission acts as the community redevelopment agency.
- Retains and creates jobs.
- Increases business opportunities for residents, merchants, and investors.
- Efforts create unity and a sense of community among residents, as well as a wealth of culture and entertainment.
- Reduces crime rates within a community.
- Preserves and showcases the history of an area, protecting cultural heritage and renewing spirit and pride within the community.
- Supports the creation and rehabilitation of parks and recreation facilities that serve the needs of all residents.
- Develops a common vision and ensures the identity and long-term vitality of a city.
- Transforms streetscapes, improve communities, and encourage public interaction.
- Creates affordable housing and home ownership opportunities for area residents.
- Provides clean and safe environments through the redevelopment of stormwater management systems.
Creating a Community Redevelopment Area
The steps to create a community redevelopment area (CRA) are set out in Florida Statues (Chapter 163, Part III). First, city government sends out a notice for a public hearing to discuss whether there is a need. Next, the agency and trust fund are established. The city may designate one or more redevelopment areas, but each area or district maintains separate trust funds, expenditures, and budgets. Then a base year is established for calculating the "increment" and a community redevelopment plan is developed. This plan serves as the blueprint for all activities in the area. All expenditures must be in keeping with this plan, which addresses the unique needs of the community and provides a valuable opportunity for public-private partnerships.
The CRA is funded by "increment," or the difference between appraised property values from last year to this year in the area. The CRA trust fund receives this amount of money from each taxing entity yearly. The CRA, in accordance with the plan, leverages these funds with grants, donations, fees, and loans to reverse the declining property values in that area. They are able to provide continuity of planning, leadership, vision, and monetary incentives to make this happen. CRAs are unique -- they work closely with the private sector and direct investment into the community.