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Mayoral appointment leads to opening on South St. Pete Citizen Advisory Committee

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

When St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman appointed attorney Leah McCrae to her new director of education and community engagement position, he inadvertently opened up a spot on the South St. Pete CRA Citizen Advisory Committee.

McCrae, who was one of the committee’s original nine members, relinquished her role as a citizen adviser to the South St. Pete CRA to avoid any conflicts of interest her new post might have caused.

South St. Pete’s CRA (community redevelopment area) was established by the city and county following a 2012 blight and poverty study that identified South St. Pete as one of the five most impoverished areas in Pinellas County. (North Greenwood, east Tarpon Springs, Highpoint and Lealman were also on that list.)

According to county documents, the plan to redevelop the South St. Pete CRA revolves around

“land assembly; disposition and development efforts; infrastructure and street-scaping improvements; small business assistance through mentoring programs, retention programs, and financial grants and loans; incentivizing affordable and market-rate housing development through financial grants and loans; support for workforce development and work readiness programs; and marketing and technical assistance.”

To pay for the community improvements, a funding method known as “tax increment financing” directs future increases in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County property tax revenues generated within the TIF district (the CRA) into a special redevelopment trust fund.

This increased revenue, known as the “increment,” is then used to fund eligible redevelopment projects within the boundaries of the TIF district/CRA.

The purpose of the Citizen Advisory Committee is to advise the Community Redevelopment Agency — the South St. Pete CRA’s governing body — on the community redevelopment plan and any amendments, issues and policies that may result from the South St. Petersburg CRA.

The committee has nine members. Three members are appointed by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners and six members are appointed by the mayor of St. Petersburg. This appointment will be the county’s.

Applicants must be residents, business and/or property owners or other stakeholders from within the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area.

For an exact map of the area, visit www.pinellascounty.org.

Applications must be received no later than next Friday, October 23. County commissioners will review all applications and make their selections at a future meeting.

To download an on-line application, visit www.pinellascounty.org.

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for SaintPetersblog.com, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for FloridaBarTab.com. He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail devon@floridapolitics.com, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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