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Sarasota News Leader January 10, 2014 Page 51 sidewalks, better lighting, improved land- money to offer enticements. Using one curscaping, paver crosswalks and other general rent example, the entire $58,000 DID budget improvements have been the DID's focus. available for new uses would not even cover putting new lights in Five Points Park. The CRA is ostensibly about encouraging public-private partnerships to spur more "If we don't expand and grow, then what we development and redevelopment. Whole have is $58,000 per year to spend," said Ritz. Foods and the new Sarasota Herald-Tribune "It doesn't even meet our contingency requirebuilding are two examples of successful CRA ments. There's no reason for this board to enticement initiatives. However, "ostensibly" meet, except on auto pilot." means about half the CRA income now goes to pay for operational expenses that otherwise "We're talking about expansion. Now we're would come from the regular city budget. The talking about six times what our present future of the CRA is in limbo, and it is set to [area] is," said member Dr. Mark Kauffman. expire in 2016. Its $7 million annual budget "If you add [the] Rosemary [District] and would be reabsorbed by the city and county other areas, the DID is not a city. Let the city raise taxes and do it. The idea of expanding if the CRA expires. to the CRA district is overwhelming to me." The DID board is not interested in taking over the CRA's role as public-private partnership Members Ron Soto and Eileen Hampshire incubator, in part because it has no public seemed to agree. Moran was quick to defuse Members of the Downtown Improvement District board and area residents gathered for a December demonstration of a proposed new lighting system for Five Points Park. File photo

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