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first_img Reply Why does the legislature want to kill CRA’sWay back in 1969, the Florida Legislature passed the  Community Redevelopment Act. The new law was designed to prevent and eliminate slum and blighted areas by designating tax dollars from the neediest communities to go back into those areas. In 1993, Apopka created its own Community Redevelopment Agency for parts of South Apopka, but until recently it was mostly a project in mothballs.The Florida Economic Consortium on Violence and Crime (FEC) sponsored a lunch meeting on Wednesday at the Fran Carlton Center in Apopka to discuss the role of CRA’s. It was attended by Apopka residents, community leaders, and elected officials but mostly by people associated with local CRA’s like Apopka and Eatonville. The content focused on how to run a successful CRA, but the biggest takeaway was the alarming fact that the Florida Legislature has a bill in play that would halt any new CRA’s and take a hard look at the existing ones.House Speaker Richard Corcoran seems intent on ending CRA’s.“We have a bill on CRAs out there that puts a moratorium on any new ones,” he said. “And then we will see what we can do with the existing ones. We’re going to fight on all fronts.”Rod Love is the Chairman of the FEC.  According to Love, his role is to advocate and execute economic development initiatives statewide that impact across all spectrums of the community, business development, job training, affordable housing, social justice, and education.  More importantly and in concurrence with the message and mission of creating sustainable “urban” communities. He doesn’t want to see CRA’s taken down by Tallahassee.“CRA’s can be an extremely effective tool in combating the carnage taking place in urban communities by constructing partnerships that have a scientific understanding and direct knowledge of “slum and blight”.Greg Jackson is a local attorney and one of the three speakers at the event. He believes the scrutiny in the Legislature may be well deserved by some CRA’s.“I believe that various CRA’s have lost focus on the true intent and purpose for their existence. They became excited to see funds coming into areas that historically were a drain on taxpayers, and they thought “hey we are on to something.” In that excitement several, not all, forgot that CRA’s were established to address the “slum” and “blight” that contributes greatly to poor living conditions, as well as poor health and sanitation. The problem for CRA’s is that many legislators did not forget why they were started and neither did members of the community.”He does, however, hold out hope that CNA’s can right the ship and be a benefit to the communities that need them most.“My sincere belief is that CRA’s can get back on track and regain the confidence of the community and legislators by prioritizing their use of funds. For instance, for every three business or commercial based projects, there must be one project geared towards affordable housing, health or community policing initiatives. That is what I have been working so hard to get across, working with groups like FEC, which knows the true intent of Chapter 163, Part III, and is dedicated to working with CRA’s, developers and elected officials to improve our underserved communities within the constructs of the Community Redevelopment Act.”Both Love and Jackson have advice for the Apopka CRA, but they also are pleased to see it moving forward.“Unfortunately the Apopka CRA has been inactive for several years, which has been a detriment to “slum and blighted” communities due to the legislative lifespan of CRA’s continuing to run toward its expiration,” said Love. “In fairness to the present CRA board, I believe there is hope in making up for lost time by making prudent decisions that will be immediately impacting. I truly believe there are CRA board members that are sincere in wanting to live up to the legislative intent of CRA’s which is to impact “slum and blight”.Jackson wants to see the Apopka CRA update its plan, but also has a warning for the future of CRA’s.“It is good to see that it is active once again,” he said. “Because the CRA Plan is over two decades old, I believe it is fair to say it needs to be updated to be sure it meets the needs of the community within the CRA boundaries. One thing I hope does not happen is for the Apopka CRA to go down the path of other CRA’s that have become too “business-focused,” forgetting their true intent to address “slum” and “blighted” conditions. To neglect the intent and purpose of the Community Redevelopment Agency Act will surely attract the attention of the folks in Tallahassee who can literally eliminate CRA’s. Because there are some talented people working with the Apopka CRA, and active citizens like Rod Love, I believe that we will see a good mix of economic development projects with affordable housing programs, as well as initiatives to improve health and safety in the affected community. If not, I expect the full court press by the legislature, Florida Auditor General, grand juries and watchdog groups to kill CRA’s to continue.” TAGSCommunity Redevelopment AgencyCRAFlorida Economic Consortium on Violence and CrimeFRC Previous articleCONA President updates City CouncilNext articleOrange County Sheriff Demings sounds the alarm Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR A real CRAzy initiative would be for Apopka’s CRA board to change the Apopka downtown roofs and add turban tops to make them look like Moscow’s Red Square, to please all of our new Russian lovin’ Trump administration. Why Rubio could even come to town for a visit and request one of our old Apopka streets be renamed in honor of a Russian, just like his current proposed legislation to rename one of our Washington DC streets to a Russian man’s name…….LOL, and you thought I was CRAzy! Reply Reply Mama Mia Mama Mia Where did the COA get the money that was used in the past to put terra cotta colored rooftops along the downtown businesses, plus the decorative street lights along the business areas, and the new sidewalks, plus the biggie, the beautiful big palms that line the main entrances into the city, also new water lines? Was that CRA money, because if it was, it was well spent, as it made the city look SO NICE! You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here The Anatomy of Fear Can anyone show me ONE CRA that complies with FS 163? Didn’t think so!. Please enter your name here Mama Mia Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 March 2, 2017 at 5:34 pm Richard Corcoran is shaking up Tallahassee, and even the governor. I have read that he tends to act in partisan-like ways, but so far, I haven’t heard of anything that he has done that has outraged me. I think he is trying to stop waste, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. If he wants to stop CRAs, I believe he probably has a valid reason for wanting to do that.center_img March 4, 2017 at 2:43 pm Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Mama Mia Reply Correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding that part of the CRA boundary is on the north side of 441, but you never heard of that. I only found out when I looked at the map of the CRA area. All I ever heard was south Apopka, south Apopka, south Apopka…….. March 2, 2017 at 6:48 pm Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Please enter your comment! 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