Alachua Co. and Gainesville city leaders make agreement on CRA debate

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)- Gainesville's Community Redevelopment Agencies, or CRA’s, are run only by the city.

After some discussion here, a bill in Tallahassee that would have given Alachua County more representation, will now be withdrawn.

County leaders are looking for a seat on Gainesville's CRA board.

It's a board supporting economic development projects and million-dollar developments, like Depot Park.

Right now, no county leaders are on the board.

This is why State Representative Chuck Clemons had introduced a bill that would allow county leaders to represent.

"We need to wait to see what happens to this bill. I hope it passes or if it passes anyway, even if we approve a motion asking not to, we're still gonna have to wait to see,” said County Commissioner Mike Byerly.

Byerly says he personally doesn't want his own seat on the board, but says it's still necessary because the county doesn't have a voice.

City leaders had wanted Clemons to pull the bill and say all county leaders need to have consensus.

“We came here to do the things that most of you have asked for, we're negotiating with jello with a certain degree cause you have not been clear with what you want,” City Commissioner Harvey Ward said.

After more than four hours of deliberation, the county agreed to pull their support of the bill.

The city and county agreeing to determine the future of CRA representation through an interlocal agreement and not through the bill.

An agreement made with some opposition.

"An even board is not a good thing. I also think having a board that could change from year to year is not good either. I think we should just pick something and go with it,” City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said.

Even with the hesitation, the city and county are moving forward.

"We'll get to work on this quickly so we can bring some resolution to this as soon as possible," Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe said.

The county and city will still discuss a potential for a local agreement allowing the county to have up to equal representation on the CRA board next year.