Sarasota News Leader

06/28/2013

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OPINION LET US NOT GILD THE ALREADY GOLDEN CALF EDITORIAL It has a mouthful for a title and a multimillion-dollar public responsibility to both the City and County of Sarasota. It is the Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency Extension Study Committee, or DCRAESC. any great prospects for the future. But in 1986, the city and county crafted an historic pact called a community redevelopment agency (CRA) to fight "slum and blight" in the downtown area. Today Sarasota's vibrant downtown is a tesThis committee will be pivotal over the next timony to what millions in public money can seven months, because it will recommend a do for a private business district. Since 1986 future for $7 million in annual revenue now more than $85 million was lavished on downgoing to a tiny urban town, or an average of patch in downtown about $3 million per Sarasota. year. Eighty-five million dollars is a lot of Nearly 30 years ago, property tax money. So before the county About $20 million was Sarasota's downtown extends the downtown CRA, shuts it down used to provide more was on the skids. The or establishes a new one elsewhere, parking, $11.4 million historic area looked taxpayers deserve to know how wisely the went to "infrastructure anything but historic. improvements" and It looked old, rundown money was spent. and vacant, without $7.3 million went for

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