The Hernando County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) took a significant step towards designating a South Brooksville Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) during their meeting on July 25th. In a unanimous decision, the BOCC approved an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Brooksville, paving the way for the South Brooksville CRA Finding of Necessity Study.
Such a study is a legally mandated step in the joint effort to create the South Brooksville CRA. Because portions of the CRA study area are within Brooksville City limits and portions are in unincorporated Hernando County, both the County and the City must sign an interlocal agreement to conduct the study. The City of Brooksville will serve as the lead agency for the Project and handle the procurement of all services for the Project.
Under Florida law (Chapter 163, Part III), local governments can designate areas as community redevelopment areas when certain conditions exist. Conditions that can support the creation of a Community Redevelopment Area may include factors like inadequate or substandard structures, a shortage of affordable housing, inadequate infrastructure, insufficient roadways, and inadequate parking. In order to document that those conditions exist, the local government is required to survey a proposed redevelopment area and prepare a Finding of Necessity. The Finding of Necessity allows the local government to provide the tools needed to support the redevelopment of the targeted area.
The general purpose of a Community Redevelopment Area is to stimulate economic development and provide funding for community improvement projects. CRAs, which are locally funded, can also be used to reduce or prevent crime, provide affordable housing, improve infrastructure, and revitalize tourist areas.
As part of the agreement, Inspire Placemaking Collective Inc. will be the prime contractor to conduct the study. Inspire proposes to conduct the study in three major components: Data Collection, Analysis and Report Generation, and Submission of Findings to the Brooksville City Council and the BOCC. The process will consist of stakeholder interviews with persons or small groups identified by City/County representatives, an evaluation to determine if there are sufficient conditions of slum and blight present to meet Florida Statutes, data analysis, boundary confirmation, and the release of a final report. Inspire will be compensated $49,000 to conduct the study. Once a notice to proceed is issued to the company, the project will be completed within four months.
The initiation of this study is the result of months of effort by the Tax Redevelopment Advisory Committee (TRAC), spearheaded by county resident Connie Green. Green expressed her gratitude to the commissioners for their hard work and cooperation, emphasizing the significance of community support for TRAC’s endeavors.
With the approval of the Interlocal Agreement, the vision of establishing the South Brooksville Community Redevelopment Area moves one step closer to reality. Residents and stakeholders eagerly await the study’s results, hopeful for the potential economic growth, improved infrastructure, and overall transformation this designation could bring to the South Brooksville community.