Brooksville leaders say losing funding would be devastating to downtown development

Proposed House Bill to Abolish CRA
Posted at 6:13 PM, Oct 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-30 18:13:55-04

Some state officials want to get rid of Community Redevelopment Agencies that helps restore bad areas and increase property values, but Brooksville leaders and business owners think it would be a huge mistake. 

More than 220 Community Redevelopment Agencies across the state use a small percentage of property taxes to invest into “not so nice” areas in local communities. 

For Brookville, it’s gone into restoring the historic downtown  where buildings date back to the 1850’s. Since the CRA began in 1999, it’s increased property value in Brooksville by $5.6 million.

Ryan Malloy, Brooksville Mainstreet Executive Director said, "To take a funding stream away from a small town like this would be an absolute detriment to the momentum that has been building since the recession came though." 

Funding from the CRA in Brooksville helped lay bricks at crosswalks, add signs, and provide grants to business owners looking to restore old buildings.

Joseph Lowman said that’s why he brought his law firm to downtown."There’s no reason why we shouldn’t do it. We have strip malls everywhere, we have people that are moving outside of the city, let’s bring that back into the city and bring some character back into it." 

Brooksville council person Natalie Kahler believes the state government should not be making these kind of decisions for small communities. "People that are living in Brooksville know what is best for Brooksville."