CRA board to vote on closing Frenchtown and Southside projects

CRA board to vote on closing Frenchtown and Southside projects
CRA board to vote on closing Frenchtown and Southside projects
Posted at 3:35 PM, Jul 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-13 13:49:03-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The board of the Community Redevelopment Agency will meet next week to vote on closing two projects in Frenchtown and the Southside.

The city's Southside has seen a drop in development lately, with Winn-Dixie and Walgreens closing. And now, a plan to improve the parking lots of these two shopping centers is up in the air.

The community redevelopment agency put aside $200,000 to fix up the lots at Towne South and the Southside Shopping Center. The funds were part of a 2015 CRA project, where the property owner was expected to match the funds to make the project happen. But after the designs came in, the project wound up costing more than planned and the owner wouldn't agree to matching the higher cost.

WTXL spoke to CRA Director Roxanne manning over the phone. She said there's still a desire to improve the lots, but it can't be done without the help of the property owner. She also mentioned the city's interest in putting a police station at the site of the current Towne South Center.

Over in Frenchtown, a $200,000 project to support affordable housing is also in limbo. Funding for any CRA project must be used in three years. This one started in 2015, and officials say there still isn't a program that can use the funds, so the money would go back to the general fund to pay for other projects.

That's the case with the Southside parking lots. The shelf life is up and now, $400,000 would be put back into what's called the "master project."

That would help pay for development that's already underway, including Care Point Health and Wellness Center across from Big Bend cares in the Southside.

The CRA director says the city and county are working together to develop initiatives for affordable housing and once one is approved, then the CRA can use "Newer money" to fund it.

The CRA board was scheduled to meet Thursday, but will now reconvene on Wednesday, July 19th.