Community redevelopment is an economic development strategy which many local governments are currently using successfully to eliminate and prevent conditions of blight in their communities.
Deteriorating neighborhoods, dwindling commercial activity and job opportunities, concentration and persistence of criminal activity, inappropriate or obsolete land uses, poor transportation routes and extraordinary consumption of public services are some of the characteristics of blighted areas. Left unchecked, these conditions often lead to reduced property values, impairment of sound growth, retardation of the provision of housing and loss of private investor confidence.
In recognition of the serious and growing problems existing in some communities which jeopardize the health, safety, morals and welfare of the residents of Florida, the State, through Chapter 163, Part III, F.S., enabled local governments to address their worst economic and social environments by creating Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRA’s).
In order to spark a renewed interest in a sector of the Town which was exhibiting blighting symptoms, the Town of Davie created the Davie Community Redevelopment Agency in 1988. Seven private citizens who live and work in Davie were appointed by the Town Council to serve as the Davie CRA Board. The CRA Board is staffed by a Redevelopment Administrator.
After a number of public meetings and two public hearings, the Redevelopment Plan was adopted by ordinance in December, 1987. The 347 acre section of land designated as the redevelopment area encompasses downtown Davie and the adjacent residential and commercial areas. In 1994 and 1997, the redevelopment area was expanded to include additional residential, commercial and industrial areas eastward to State Road 7/441. These expansions added 757 acres, thus making the total redevelopment area of 1,104 acres.
The Redevelopment Plan is the embodiment of the project concepts and implementation schemes which reflect the CRA’s vision of what the Redevelopment Area could look like some years in the future. The objective is for the CRA to create a hospitable environment in order to stimulate redevelopment by the private sector. The CRA Redevelopment Plan promotes strong residential neighborhoods, the creation of a vibrant downtown along Davie Road and an active industrial area which provides a variety of employment opportunities.
Some projects, such as infrastructure improvements (i.e. streets, parks and community centers, utilities), are generally publicly funded, while others are likely to be public/private joint ventures. Still others may be developed by the private sector alone. Examples of such programs are the funding of infrastructure improvements in all areas of the redevelopment area, the purchase of property for the construction of affordable housing and the Commercial Loan Subsidy Program to assist businesses in new construction, additions and improvements to existing structures.
Once the Redevelopment Plan was adopted, the Town Council established the Redevelopment Trust Fund to finance implementation of the Plan.
Although it is not a taxing authority itself, the Davie CRA is empowered by Chapter 163 of the Florida Statutes to receive Tax Increment Revenues generated by the properties within the Redevelopment Area. These revenues are to be used to fund the various projects and activities identified in the Redevelopment Plan or related to the achievement of the Plan’s goals and objectives.
This is how Tax Increment Financing works: a portion of the taxes collected by Broward County, the Central Broward Water Control District, the North Broward Hospital District, the South Broward Hospital District and the Town of Davie on properties within the redevelopment area are contributed to the Redevelopment Trust Fund by those taxing authorities based on a formula set forth in the statute. As improvements are made in the redevelopment area and property values increase “incrementally,” a larger amount of money is generated for the Redevelopment Trust Fund. These funds are then available to fund more improvements in the redevelopment area. In essence, money generated from that area is reinvested back into the same area.
Tax Increment Financing is a major source of revenue for Davie’s Redevelopment Trust Fund. However, the CRA has been successful in receiving federal and state grants for it Eastside neighborhood redevelopment efforts. The Town of Davie has also been extremely supportive in funding the Davie Road Beautification Project and other programs of the CRA. Redevelopment Revenue Bonds, program income and donations can also be other important sources of funding.