Agreement Could Come Soon on Downtown Development in Tallahassee

Two commissioners spent Thursday morning negotiating a new plan for the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area.

City Commissioner Mark Mustian and County Commissioner Tony Grippa say they worked on a proposal where there is now an investment in downtown and not just a subsidy.

Both sides agree; if passed, this plan will be the best for the people.

The Downtown CRA has been a hard fight between the city and the county for months now. The county even filed a lawsuit to stop the city from moving forward with the CRA.

After hours of negotiations, there could be a compromise: a new plan.

Mark Mustian, Tallahassee City Commissioner, says, "It's a plan I hope both Commissions can agree upon."

Tony Grippa, Leon County Commissioner, says, "We have a plan that's an investment in Downtown and not a subsidy."

Parts of the new plans have the county ceasing all litigation. The city will contribute $13 million, while the county gives $15 million to the CRA trust fund, reflecting what the city has already paid into it.

There will be no more CRA districts or expansions without joint approval.

Also, there will be no city or county charter amendments in 2004 without joint approval.

Grippa says, "It's one where Leon County is with a Project Committee. Money can only go to new projects. The true winners here are the Tax payers in the Downtown area and outside the Downtown area."

Mustian says, "I hope in a few years, we look back and say we did the right thing."

The proposal is not official yet. It has to go before both commissions. That happens next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Commissioners say with the new plan, it means there will be incentives for businesses to move or set up downtown.

Commissioners say that downtown needs more convenient parking, which in turn will bring in more people.