Communication Builds Our Community

Wednesday Public Information Expo Will Explain CRA Expansion

Public Invited to Learn, Express Opinions at Wednesday Meeting

A proposal to add a huge swath of northern Lake Wales to the current Community Redevelopment District map will be the topic of a staffed public presentation at the Eagle Ridge Mall food court this Wednesday. The public is invited to stop by between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm to learn about the effects that would flow from the expansion and offer their opinions.

A large tract west of US 27 between Thompson Nursery Road, Chalet Suzanne Road and Mountain Lake Cutoff Road being evaluated for inclusion by the CRA. If added, the area could potentially generate millions of dollars in additional future revenue for the agency.

The city recently conducted a needs assessment to determine "blight," which is needed to justify the expansion of the area, which would also include the Eagle Ridge Mall.

The CRA is funded by the capture of a portion of the tax revenue as it rises above a "base" year. Much of the property proposed for inclusion is slated for future mixed-use development that may eventually include thousands of residences, as well as hotel, office, institutional, and warehouse uses.

The CRA "establishes special districts in the city with the goal of increasing property values through targeted revitalization efforts," said Eric Marshall, spokesman for the city. "Revenues collected from the increase in property values are used to fund the tools and resources needed for future redevelopment projects within the targeted area. More jobs and area establishments, such as restaurants and retail shops are a result of CRA activity."

Funds received by the CRA can only be used to improve infrastructure within the district, and any revenue captured by the CRA is less revenue reaching the general revenue coffers of the city and county.

According to City Manager James Slaton, the city commission, sitting as the CRA board, is expected to authorize no more than 50 percent of that revenue to be captured, since "that comes out of general funds, and we don't want to leave ourselves short."

A percentage of county revenue captured must be negotiated with the county commission.


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