WHAT IS A COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY (CRA)?
In 1969, Florida enacted legislation enabling local governments to create community redevelopment areas and community redevelopment agencies (CRAs) to oversee redevelopment activities in these areas. Under Florida law (Chapter 163, Part III), local governments are able to designate areas as Community Redevelopment Areas when certain conditions exist that meet the statutory definition of slum and blight. Examples of conditions that can support the creation of a Community Redevelopment Area include 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 and appoint a board to oversee the activities of the Agency. As of 2016, there are 217 CRAs operating in Florida.
HOW REDEVELOPMENT WORKS
Community redevelopment, under the direction of a CRA, is publicly financed rebuilding of an older urban area distressed by social, physical, environmental, or economic conditions that discourage private investment. Redevelopment agencies are the most effective ways to revitalize these areas. The goal of the Ocala CRA is to transform underutilized properties into productive assets to improve the community. The CRA leverages its funds in an effort to stimulate private investment to reverse deteriorating trends. The result is the revitalization of business districts and neighborhoods that would not otherwise have occurred.
OCALA COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
The City Council members serve as the CRA Board. It is important to note that although the City Council members sit as the CRA Board, the CRA Board is legally a separate entity than the City Council. For a current listing of the Board chair, vice-chair, and members, please see below:
- CRA Board Chair Matthew Wardell
- CRA Board Vice Chair Mary Sue Rich
- CRA Board Member Jay Musleh
- CRA Board Member Brent Malever
- CRA Board Member Justin Grabelle
The CRA Board meets prior to City Council meetings, as needed. The City Council meets the first and third Tuesday of the month at 4:00 pm at City Hall in the Council Chambers on the second floor.
Each CRA subarea has an Advisory Committee that makes recommendations to the CRA Board on projects and programs. The Boards and Commissions page can be found here.
Information on upcoming and previous CRA Board and CRA Advisory Committee meetings can be found here.
Staff of the Growth Management Department administer the projects and programs of the Ocala CRA. Contact information and other information relevant to the administration of the CRA is provided in the table below:
|Registered Agent's Name||Mr. Gus Gianikas|
|Registered Office Address||
City of Ocala Growth Management Department, 201 SE 3rd St, Second Floor, Ocala, FL 34471
|Local Governing Authority||City of Ocala|
|Date Established||June 22, 1999|
|Creation Documents||City Resolution 99-101|
|Statutory Authority||Chapter 163, Part III, Florida Statutes|
|Governing Body||City of Ocala|
|Authority to Issue Bonds||Yes|
|Revenue Source||Tax Increment Financing|
CREATION OF THE OCALA CRA AND SUBAREAS
The Ocala Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) was established in 1988 after a finding of necessity was adopted by the City Council for the Downtown Redevelopment Area. The original purpose of the CRA was to create a redevelopment framework in which the Downtown district would evolve into a more dynamic mixed-use area with a variety of activities including dining, entertainment, retail, cultural, office, financial, residential, and governmental uses. The Ocala CRA now contains four (4) subareas as defined below.
- Downtown Redevelopment Area was designated as part of the community redevelopment area pursuant to Resolution No. 88-52 adopted May 24, 1988.
- North Magnolia Redevelopment Area was designated as part of the community redevelopment area pursuant to Resolution No. 2000-07 adopted November 2, 1999.
- West Ocala Redevelopment Area was designated as part of the community redevelopment area pursuant to Resolution No. 2016-10 adopted November 17, 2015.
- East Ocala Redevelopment Area was designated as part of the community redevelopment area pursuant to Resolution No. 2016-32 adopted May 17, 2016.
Each of the four subareas of the Ocala CRA have their own separate trust fund. The money collected within the boundaries of each subarea is deposited into the associated trust fund. Expenditure of trust fund money must be done within the subarea from where it was generated.
Location and Boundaries of Ocala CRA Sub-areas
OCALA CRA COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
The Community Redevelopment Agency is responsible for developing and implementing the Community Redevelopment Plan that addresses the unique needs of each subarea. The redevelopment plan provides guidelines and strategies for removing physical and economic blight and provide a vision, goals and timetables for generating growth and new opportunities. Redevelopment plans are created with political, business, and community participation. The plans are the roadmap for spurring growth and improving the quality of life and general welfare of the people who live and work in and around redevelopment areas.
In addition to the overall goals for redevelopment in the area, the plan identifies the types of projects planned for the area. Examples of traditional projects include streetscapes and roadway improvements, grants for building renovations, parking facilities, and parks. The redevelopment plan is a living document that can be updated to meet the changing needs within the Community Redevelopment Area. In order to find the redevelopment plans and other documents for each subarea, please visit the subarea pages below.
CRA Annual Report
In addition to the required annual CAFR report to the State of Florida, many CRAs publish an annual report for business owners and citizens, highlighting key facts and accomplishments of the CRA.
Board members are subject to the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, adopted by the state legislature, which contains standards of ethical conduct and disclosures.