The Coastal Star

Letter to the Editor: CRA's interests are city's interests

    In a story in December’s Coastal Star regarding building heights in downtown Delray Beach, Mayor Cary Glickstein is quoted as saying the Community Redevelopment Agency’s support of a fifth-floor bonus program can be attributed to the CRA looking for “ways to increase their tax increment financing within its boundary to continue funding CRA initiatives.”
    I respectfully disagree, and while it may not have been his intent, that statement and his follow-up comments have the effect of suggesting that when the CRA makes decisions it has something other than the city’s best interests at heart.
    The CRA board’s discussion of the fifth-floor bonus program centered on the possibility of the city using it as an incentive to obtain desired uses such as quality office space that would attract higher paying jobs to the downtown, or a mobility fund that the city could use for parking, sidewalks, trolley operations, etc.  
    At no time during the discussions of the proposed changes to the land development regulations did the board talk about the potential impact on future CRA revenues. That has been the norm during my nearly 15 years as the CRA’s executive director.
    For example, when the board considered proposals for the redevelopment of the old library site, it selected the iPic project in response to public comments in favor of the theater — that it would provide activities for families and economic support for downtown businesses during the summertime. 
    In considering proposals for redevelopment along West Atlantic Avenue, the board endorsed Equity’s Uptown Atlantic project in large part due to community support and Equity’s commitment to local hiring.  
    It’s true that many of these projects will increase the tax base and the CRA will receive additional revenues. It’s also true that that CRA transfers much of its funding to the city to pay for public infrastructure improvements, police and maintenance operations in the downtown, sponsorship of city events, trolley operations, etc. 
    The CRA is a city agency whose board members are appointed by the City Commission. The CRA’s initiatives are the city’s initiatives.   
Diane Colonna
Executive Director/
Delray Beach CRA

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