Newberry granted funding for redevelopment projects

NEWBERRY, Fla., (WCJB)--- After many years of failed negotiations, alachua county commissioners voted tonight to partner with the city of newberry to jointly fund redevelopment projects.

"For the city of Newberry this is a huge moment."

Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe was very happy as county commissioners voted 4 to 1 to officially grant Newberry community redevelopment agency funding.

" Alachua County Commission and the city of Newberry have an interlocal agreement to work together to design an area for redevelopment in Newberry," said Marihelen Wheeler, county commissioner.

This comes after two years of setbacks.

" I think one of the concerns is that you set a really big CRA area and the area of blight is very small and so you use the funds from the other areas and you don't necessarily use it on the area of blight, so the city of Newberry has made assurances that in our agreement that any money that is generated inside of the CRA will specifically be brought back to cure areas of blight and not spent in areas where there's no real blight needed," stated Marlowe.

The funding will start in 2020 and span over a 20 year span.

But how does the CRA funding work?

"Basically the way a CRA work is that you'll take the property value that begins in 2020 and every year that that property value increases a little bit, instead of Alachua Co. taking that increase into their general fund and the city of Newberry taking that increase into our general fund, we'll both take out increases and put it inside another pot," stated Marlowe.

Marlowe says that the funding will help redevelop areas in Newberry that aren't generating enough property taxes to maintain its upkeep.

"We will over the next 10-20 years see an increase in the attractiveness of our city because we now have the funding mechanism to do so," stated Marlowe.

Now that the CRA has been voted on, county commissioners will wait for the city of Newberry to create a plan on what they will use the CRA funding for, and then both entities will come together to discuss if it's the best use of the money and that all needs are met.