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County approves creation of new CRA plan

Veronica Brezina



A map of the North Greenwood CRA. All images: Pinellas County records.

After years of planning and gathering public input, Pinellas County has approved the North Greenwood Community Redevelopment Area plan, designed to spur new private and public investments in the Clearwater neighborhood. 

This week, the county commissioners greenlighted the plans that will allow officials to formally establish the North Greenwood CRA, a residential and commercial area north of downtown Clearwater. 

The unanimous vote also approves the establishment of a redevelopment trust fund, which is estimated to collect $30 million over a 20-year period through the county’s tax increment financing (TIF) contribution rates. 

North Greenwood, which boasts a population of 6,619 residents, has historically been a primarily Black neighborhood. Today, 50% of the area consists of residential uses, with several commercial corridors and some light industrial use, according to county documents. 

The CRA encompasses 840 acres and is home to the North Greenwood Library, several schools, the North Greenwood Recreation Center, the Pinellas Trail and over a dozen churches. 

The North Greenwood CRA boundaries.

As a CRA, the area can tap into TIF funding that will go toward mobility and transit improvements, housing and economic development projects. 

“There’s no real downtown so this gives them the opportunity and ability to have that so that you are marrying the community’s businesses, small mom-and-pop shops that will integrate with larger business and help build this area but still keep that [local] feel,” Commissioner Rene Flowers said. 

Flowers was introduced to the proposed CRA plan in 2020 and said she was impressed with how community organizations and residents have openly communicated about the plans. 

The approved resolution and ordinance set the county’s TIF contribution rate at 95%. 

After 10 years, the county will assess the CRA performance and make a recommendation to the commissioners as to whether the county’s TIF contribution should be adjusted or ended, according to the 181-page planning document presented by Evan Johnson, the county’s planning manager. 

The recommended TIF expenditures over the 20-year period include: 

  • $13 million for affordable housing 
  • $9.5 million for economic development 
  • $4 million for CRA administration 
  • $2 million for mobility improvements 

The county’s first TIF contribution to the redevelopment trust fund will be $47,000 in fiscal year 2024, which may change based on the tax roll assessments in the area. 

“I have not heard one ounce of pushback for this,” Clearwater Councilwoman Kathleen Beckman said during the meeting.

“It [the TIF funds] will be spent wisely,” Beckman said, crediting the Clearwater Urban Leadership Coalition for backing the CRA plans. 

The commissioners’ approval of the ordinance and resolution was met with applause in the boardroom. 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Carl Lavender

    May 28, 2023at8:50 am

    Great news. Important news for the future development of the five challenged communities in Pinellas. Compliments to Gloria Campbell and Marilyn Thurman who stayed in the struggle. I would suggest a “ meeting of the minds” between the South St Pete CRA and the new North Greenwood CRA for a lessons learned conversation. The time value of money is very important to understand. Again, sincerest congratulations to the community leaders who will see their vision come to life. Peace.

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