CRA Debate May Be Cooling Down

The fight involves the downtown Community Redevelopment Area. The city wants it and the county does not. This heated debate may be cooling off.

A Community Redevelopment Area, or CRA, is meant to create opportunities and incentives to ensure that a particular area develops with businesses, jobs, culture and civic pride.

The county and the city agree on these points, and that's why both sides support the Frenchtown CRA. The disagreement is about a possible downtown CRA.

Commissioner Tony Grippa of the Leon County Commission, says, "As the County has always said, we're willing to invest in Downtown, but we will not subsidize it."

Mayor John Marks, City of Tallahassee, says, "It's not just important to Downtown, it's important to all the community including Leon County."

In recent days, the county commission has voted to pause a lawsuit filed against the city to stop it from moving forward with the downtown CRA. Instead, both sides are ready to get back to the negotiation table.

Mayor John Marks says, "To go back and settle this problem without litigation, I think that's the appropriate thing to do. I believe the citizens welcome this kind of move."

Tony Grippa says, "It's the tax payers money and we need to work together to revitalize Downtown."

Mayor Marks: "I just want us to sit down at the table and talk about it. I know part of the solution will include a Downtown CRA."

Tony Grippa: “It's going to take an equal mileage rate, a partnership and a cap on the growth captured Downtown."

Both sides are hoping to find common ground and not be split apart. The county says the lawsuit will be on hold for a three week break while both sides try to talk out the issue. Channel Six will continue to follow the progress.