On a quiet Jacksonville City Council agenda Tuesday, the highlight, arguably, will be the passage of two bills to reboot the KingSoutel Community Redevelopment Area.
Though conservatives in the Florida House have said that CRAs are often slush funds for connected people, city leadership in both the executive and legislative branches draw a different picture of the KingSoutel CRA.
Formed in 2008, the CRA was bedeviled by the recession, and has seen what charitably could be described as a slow bounce back.
“The Kings Soutel CRA is progressing as the economy of the area has progressed (slowly). This is based on private capital investments within the boundary,” asserts the city’s Office of Economic Development. “With a 2008 base year set before the market crash, it was upside down the first couple of years with little to no return in the early years. The funding has accrued at a very slow pace over the past seven years due to the economy and lack of private capital investment.”
Hopes are that a recrafted CRA, expanding the boundary to include 1,100 linear feet of right of way on Norfolk Avenue, will drive the tax base.
The limited inflow to the CRA — roughly $500,000 per year — limits what can be done, says District Councilman Reggie Brown.
Wishlist items like sewer lines on U.S. 1 have to be deferred, Brown said, in favor of more manageable asks like crosswalks and traffic signals.
Will the reboot drive the desired result? That remains to be seen. But given no objection in Council committees, Jacksonville looks likely to find out.