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Tuesday, December 07, 2021
<p>The bridge over 13th Street, nicknamed the DNA bridge, is empty early Thursday morning.</p>

The bridge over 13th Street, nicknamed the DNA bridge, is empty early Thursday morning.

After overhauling how it affects change in Gainesville, the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency will meet to talk about what it will do in the community.

At 3 p.m. today, the agency, which builds community areas and creates grants to help businesses, will meet to review development projects it is working on at the City Hall Auditorium, at 200 E. University Ave.

The meeting will review the status of current projects, like Heartwood, an affordable housing project, and improvements to South Main Street, said City Commissioner David Arreola. The agency will also discuss residential paint vouchers program, which helps put money toward painting residential houses.

The project update comes after the city and Alachua County commissions agreed to combine the agency’s four districts into one on Feb 11. Those districts are College Park and University Heights; 5th Avenue and Pleasant Street; Eastside; and Downtown.

Mayor Lauren Poe said he wants to see the districts combined so that the CRA can help bring development to Eastside.

“How do we bring life back to communities that have seen historic neglect and disadvancement by the private sector?” Poe said. “You remove those barriers and suddenly you can see a focus on dollars and investment.”

The decision came after discussions between the city and county. The city voted on the combination on Nov. 1 but needed county approval to restructure because it provides two thirds of the agency’s funding.

The combination of the four districts allows money to be allocated to whichever district needs it. Previously, money raised in one district could only be used in that district.

Due to the previous system, areas that raised the least amount were not able to develop as much, such as Eastside, Ward said. This caused an area with a lot of need to have little funding.

“Our current model keeps one of the four existing districts essentially stagnant,” he said.

Eastside only generates and receives 8 percent of revenue, compared to the College Park and University Heights district which receives 55 percent of revenue, Ward said.

“Communities across the nation face the problem of reinvigoration and re-establishing neighborhoods, long abandoned by private investment,” Ward said.

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The bridge over 13th Street, nicknamed the DNA bridge, is empty early Thursday morning.

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