Long Term Goals For Hallandale Beach: The CRA Trust Fund Is Investing In The Community
September 21, 2023
Hallandale Beach is fortunate to be one of the few cities that were able to take advantage of creating a Community Redevelopment Area. In 1996, the City created the CRA through a finding of necessity establishing the area as slum and blight. The evaluation was performed, and we were granted a CRA for 30 years. In 2026 - 2027 the CRA will be either sunset or the boundaries will be modified significantly.
The words slum and blight conjure up visions of the tenement houses in New York or areas with vacant crumbling homes and businesses. In statute the criteria are far more encompassing. The list includes many items such as business and office vacancy levels, housing stock age and affordability, economic drivers, and many Infrastructure deficiencies.
Since their inception there have always been state and county assaults on CRA’s. Like many confrontations it is a battle over money. CRA’s actually locked in the Tax Base from a point in time. The increased Property Tax Revenues within the area from city, county and other districts are required to be put into the CRA Trust Fund. This Fund is to be utilized by the Community Redevelopment Agency to address the slums and blight.
For years our CRA only had a few million dollars to do various programs. This was due to the depressed property values. Goal one was to purchase land parcels that were vacant or blighted properties to create affordable housing. It has taken a long time, but these efforts are now showing in the community with many affordable units. Now the tax increment is over $15 Million Dollars.
The CRA Investments also include the creation of three parks in the most underserved areas. We created programs to help spur economic growth and job creation. These programs were always under the microscope from those that had philosophical differences in how money should be spent.
Fast forward to 2020 and all CRA were required to redraft their CRA Plan. Our Plan was redeveloped with three redefined goals of Affordable Housing, Infrastructure, and Public Safety Programs. Our CRA took bold measures to issue $20 Million Dollars in Bonds to design and build above ground improvements within the district. While property owners may not be seeing improvement now they are on their way.
The CRA executed a contract with Burkhardt for a Construction Manager at Risk CMAR process to design, develop and construct many improvements. The top projects throughout the district include: sidewalks, new lighting, tree plantings and an Art Trail. This past Monday we received an update on the status of the projects, many of which are at the 90 percent design phase and will be ready to go out for construction bidding.
CMAR is a process where each project is designed and then it goes out to bid for construction. The CMAR is required to cover the set bid costs no matter if they end up being over. The plans are now at the 90 percent design level. Within the next months many will be coming back for approval.
Sidewalks are a Quality-Of-Life Issue and many of our areas have no sidewalks, sidewalks on one side of the road and many are not connected. Each quadrant will be seeing improvements. The full list can be found on: https://cohbcra.org/ - Some projects are also being performed through the Broward County Penny Tax.
Streetlights are vital for Public Safety. Burkhardt and staff have been working with FPL for upfront costs. The focus areas are Foster Road, West Hallandale Beach Boulevard, and dim areas within the neighborhoods with the priority of those areas that have high crime incidents.
Trees are another project that will impact Quality-Of-Life and our Environment. Not only will they add beauty but reduce heat islands, reduce our Carbon Footprint, and help in Flood Mitigation. In October the CRA will be holding an additional Community Meeting in preparation for this project. They will be setting up Tree Giveaways for private property owners. We have a goal of planting over 13,000 trees within the City. The project also includes planting along the swales.
The Art Trail is also 90 percent designed. Staff and Burkhardt will be meeting to review some amendments to further enhance this exciting addition. The project will interconnect our parks with walking and biking paths. The path will include stops designated with special installations of trail markers, unique furnishing art and trail maps. Staff are working on pricing and the project will be coming back to the board.
There are other projects that include Foster Road and District 8, which I will be reviewing in next week's article.
The Final Budget Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, September 26th at 5:05 p.m. Both meetings are at City Hall located at 400 South Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, Florida 33009. Every resident is encouraged to come out to participate or watch the meeting live.
As always please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns, and ideas to make our City a better place. I am available at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or: email@example.com. On my Office number at: (954) 457-1318. Or on my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. You can always visit my Facebook and follow me at Mayor Joy Cooper. Wishing all our friends and neighbors that celebrate A Happy, Healthy New Year! L’Shana Tova!