Building Community ... Together! Throughout Martin County’s seven Community Redevelopment Areas, residents and businesses are joining with the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to improve their communities. This process revitalizes our unique and significant neighborhoods while fostering a strong sense of community and place. Redevelopment in Martin County is truly remarkable. We are home to seven (7) CRAs located throughout the county. These distinct districts, Golden Gate, Hobe Sound, Indiantown, Jensen Beach, Old Palm City, Rio, and Pt. Salerno, each with a flavor all its own, are our centers of commerce, services, entertainment, social activity … the special places where we celebrate what makes Martin County exceptional.
The Martin County Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is revitalizing and restoring the neighborhoods and town centers of the Martin County CRA districts. We are dedicated to maintaining the unique character of our communities by encouraging sustainable economic investments, promoting walkability and livability, and working collaboratively with the Neighborhood Advisory Committees and Martin County Board of County Commissioners to advance the future health and success of our communities.
We envision economically and environmentally sound CRA districts with safe, healthy neighborhoods and vibrant town centers; a network of well-planned, interconnected parks, public open spaces, and complete streets; a full spectrum of high-quality housing that accommodates all walks of life; well-designed community infrastructure; and successful redevelopment that celebrates the distinctive identity and community character of each district and contributes to the overall sustainability of Martin County.
The mission of the Martin County Community Redevelopment Agency is to improve and revitalize neighborhoods as characterized by decent and affordable housing, a suitable living environment, a preserved natural environment, and economic opportunities for the citizens of Martin County while celebrating our historic neighborhoods.
What is a CRA?
A Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is a public entity that finances redevelopment within focused areas. These areas tend to be older neighborhoods where there is a need to reverse deterioration, create jobs, revitalize the business climate, increase property values and encourage active participation and investment by citizens.
Under Florida law (Chapter 163, Part III), local governments are able to designate areas as Community Redevelopment Areas when certain conditions exist. In order to be established, a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) follows the guidelines outlined in the Community Redevelopment Act (Chapter 163, Part III, Florida Statutes). The Act outlines the process for creating a CRA.
What does a CRA do?
First: Develop and adopt a Community Redevelopment Plan. The plan should address the unique needs of the targeted area and include overall goals as well as identify programs and projects.
Second: Establish a Redevelopment Trust Fund enabling the CRA to direct a percentage of property tax revenues to the target areas in order to implement the redevelopment plan.
Third: Carry out revitalization and redevelopment within designated communities, using the plan and employing the most appropriate use of resources consistent with the public interest.
History of Martin County CRA
The Martin County Community Redevelopment Agency was established following significant public outreach and planning dating back to the early 1990s. The County and its residents sought to create livable communities to include:
- Vibrant city, town and village centers that serve strong, surrounding neighborhoods
- Extensive system of local streets, sidewalks and bikeways
- Strategically located, high quality schools, libraries, and other public buildings
- Functional and attractive infrastructure
- Extensive system of parks, greenways and open spaces
The first Community Redevelopment Areas to be established were the Jensen Beach CRA and Port Salerno CRA in 1999, followed by the Rio and Hobe Sound Community Redevelopment Areas in 2000; and the Golden Gate, Old Palm City and Indiantown CRAs in 2002. Martin County's Community Redevelopment Agency was created by Ordinance 517 on June 24, 1997. The general provisions and definitions are included in Martin County's Code of Ordinances under Chapter 39.
How does it work?
Redevelopment projects in each of the seven areas are coordinated by the Martin County Community Redevelopment Agency and implemented by a team of partners that include County staff representing a variety of departments and citizens. Each Community Redevelopment Area is guided by a Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC). Neighborhood Advisory Committees are volunteer advisory committees comprised of residents, business owners and property owners appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. The NACs work with the residents, County staff and the CRA. NAC members provide advice and recommendations to the CRA regarding the implementation of projects adopted within the Community Redevelopment Plans; they are the conduit through which the community speaks.
The Martin County Board of County Commissioners delegated certain powers to a citizen appointed Community Redevelopment Agency in the adoption of Ordinance 1015. The Community Redevelopment Agency reviews the recommendations of the NACs, adopts redevelopment plans and budgets and provides direction to staff. The CRA Board is comprised of seven members, representing each CRA. The honorable members of the CRA were appointed by the Martin County Board of County Commissioners on December 13, 2016 by Resolution 16-12.13.
How is it funded?
CRA projects are largely funded by tax increment funds (TIF) from each respective area. When a redevelopment area is established, the current assessed value of the property within the project area is designated as the base year value. TIF is a mechanism which captures a percentage of any new tax revenue generated when a vacant or underutilized property is redeveloped. As the majority of redevelopment areas within Martin County were established between 2000 and 2001, the CRA receives a percentage of any tax revenue greater than the amount of revenue captured in those base years.
This percentage can range between 50% and 95%. In fiscal year 2017, the Board of County Commissioners allocated 75% of this increase as TIF funds to be used in the community redevelopment areas.
Generating TIF does not require an additional tax levy or a supplementary assessment on property owners. It is not an additional tax. TIF is one of the tools available to Martin County to leverage funds to promote private sector investment within the primary urban service boundary, and to generate revenues to finance projects.
Who are the staff?
The CRA is housed in the Office of Community Development. This team of four professionals, led by Community Development Manager Susan Kores, works across county government, directly with residents through the NACs and with private developers and other organizations to support these unique and special communities. We work diligently, continuously identifying and pursuing appropriate funding opportunities within state, federal and local agencies to support CRA initiatives; building public/private partnerships and overseeing projects.
We are building the dream, one community at a time!