Sarasota News Leader

06/28/2013

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MEMBERS OF A COMMITTEE APPOINTED BY THE CITY AND COUNTY COMMISSIONS BEGIN EXAMINING THE EXPENSES OF THE CITY'S COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY By Stan Zimmerman City Editor At first glance, it seems like the deal of the century. In 1986, the Sarasota City and County commissions agreed to create a community redevelopment agency (CRA) to fight "slum and blight" in downtown Sarasota. At that time, property in the geographically designated area was worth $2 billion. cent investment was directly responsible for downtown values tripling. A quarter of a century later, after they spent $76 million in CRA funds in the same area, the property was worth $6.8 billion. The $76 million represents about one-tenth of 1 percent of the $6.8 billion current value; yet, CRA supporters believe that that one-tenth of 1 per- The CRA is scheduled in end in 2016 after a 30-year existence. Should it continue or be modified or even expanded? To examine those questions, the City and County commissions created a nine-member board called the Downtown Community Redevelopment Agen- While that explanation is much too simple, it may hold enough truth to keep the CRA alive downtown. SHIFTING PRIORITIES A map shows the location of the downtown community redevelopment agency district in Sarasota. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

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