What is a Community Redevelopment Area or District?
Under Florida law (Chapter 163, Part III), local governments are able to designate areas as Community Redevelopment Areas when certain conditions exist. Since all the monies used in financing CRA activities are locally generated, CRAs are not overseen by the state, but redevelopment plans must be consistent with local government comprehensive plans. Examples of conditions that can support the creation of a Polk County Community Redevelopment Area include, but are not limited to: the presence of substandard or inadequate structures, a shortage of affordable housing, inadequate infrastructure, insufficient roadways and inadequate parking. To document that the required conditions exist, the local government must survey the proposed redevelopment area and prepare a Finding of Necessity. If the Finding of Necessity determines that the required conditions exist, the local government may create a Community Redevelopment Area to provide the tools needed to foster and support redevelopment of the targeted area.
Purpose of the Community Redevelopment Agency and CRA Plan
The Community Redevelopment Agency is responsible for developing and implementing the Community Redevelopment Plan that addresses the unique needs or blighted conditions of the targeted area. The plan includes the overall goals for redevelopment in the area, as well as identifying the types of projects planned for the area utilizing any legal development or redevelopment tool authorized by F.S. Statutes Chapter 163.
Examples of traditional projects include: streetscapes and roadway improvements, building renovations, new building construction, flood control initiatives, water and sewer improvements, parking lots and garages, neighborhood parks, sidewalks and street tree plantings. The plan can also include redevelopment incentives such as grants and loans for such things as façade improvements, sprinkler system upgrades, signs and structural improvements. The redevelopment plan is a living document that can be updated to meet the changing needs within the Community Redevelopment Area; however, the boundaries of the area cannot be changed without starting the process from the beginning.
Unincorporated Polk County CRAs
The Polk County Board of County Commissioners has adopted a Community Redevelopment Plan to guide the redevelopment of the following areas in the county. These areas have been identified as areas which are appropriate for community redevelopment.