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Monday, January 30, 2023

Applications are now open for the Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area (GCRA) Advisory Board.

City commissioners have removed borders between the four Gainesville community redevelopment agency districts in hopes of allocating resources and finances more effectively and promoting new economic development. 

The decision came after the Alachua County Commission moved to file a bill with Rep. Chuck Clemons that would remove city commissioners from the majority of the CRA board. 

Commissioner David Arreola said the motion would give county commissioners four of the seven seats on the governing panel.

“As commissioners we were caught off-guard,” Arreola said. “We have cordial relationships with the county. I remember supporting at least three of the county commissioners for their elections. So, this was betrayal of the highest order in my view.” 

Members of the advisory board will advise the commission on topics concerning community redevelopment. They will meet monthly to discuss and adopt new procedures which will be subject to approval by the City Commission. 

Commissioner Helen Warren said that while the merger will allow the city to view the districts as a whole, cooperation is still crucial. 

“Many of the previous failures came from a failure to communicate,” Warren said.

The City Commission is looking for candidates living or working in the Gainesville reinvestment area and as being ready and available to assume their advisory positions for the full two years.

Applicants should understand Gainesville’s redevelopment issues, such as previous failed attempts to improve underdeveloped areas, such as East Gainesville. 

The board will consist of 15 members, each appointed by the city commission. They will serve a term of two years before a successor is appointed to take their place. 

Applications are available on the city of Gainesville website, under ‘Boards & Commissions.’

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The application deadline is Sept. 16 at 5 p.m.

New member appointments will be Oct. 3. The first meeting will be held Oct. 8.

Arreola said he believes there is still much that needs to be done in Gainesville.

“The CRA’s goal is to directly address blighted areas in the city,” Arreola said. “So long as we have areas of blight in the city, the CRAs have a mission to go use their creativity and use people’s tax dollars specifically for reinvestment.”

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