By Suzy Kridner
For Hometown News
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- A lot of work is in store for the City Commission, including its two newly elected members.
That work will include a Dec. 3 Strategic Planning Session on the 2012 Commission Goals and a Dec. 4 planning session to assist with transition from the existing Community Redevelopment Agency district that includes Canal Street and Flagler Avenue, to a proposed U.S. 1 CRA district.
At a recent meeting, County Judge Bryan A. Feigenbaum administered the oath of office to re-elected Mayor Adam Barringer, and new commissioners Jason McGuirk of Zone 3 and Kirk Jones of Zone 4.
Taking a first step toward a new CRA district, the commissioners approved a $35,000 contract to Kimley-Horn and Associates of Vero Beach for a blight study on U.S. 1, the first step in preparing a new CRA district.
City Manager Pam Brangaccio said the city received responses to a request for proposal from 13 firms and four of them presented their proposals.
She said the Kimley-Horn firm was chosen as they have worked with the city on other projects, including the airport master plan. The blight study is to be completed by spring 2013.
If the city approves the blight study, an additional $77,000 could be allocated for a future Redevelopment Master Plan update.
The cities of Edgewater and Orange City have two new CRA districts already under review by Volusia County, Ms. Brangaccio said.
In new districts, the county will cap the time frame of the districts and determine what amount of funding will go towards the CRAs, she said.
The commissioners met as the CRA board before the regular commission meeting and were told there are no promises from the county about future funding for CRA districts.
The city provided $539,276 as its share of CRA funds for this year and revenue allocated by the county was $1,125,959, including the Port Authority and the Mosquito Control District funds.
The existing district was created in 1985 and is to run until May 9, 2015, said Tony Otte, CRA director.
A proposed new district, such as the U.S.1 corridor, could receive a county contribution that would not exceed the city's contribution. Ms. Brangaccio said the finance department is doing a study to determine exactly how much existing CRA funding can be reallocated for new projects. More projects have been submitted than funds are available.
One resident at the CRA meeting was David Fernandez, who is seeking $60,000 for a façade grant for Trader's Sports Bar, 317 Flagler Ave. Improvements would include a new front door, new sign, metal awning, new windows and siding, and framing the building with neon lighting.
The staff recommended that $20,412 be approved contingent on funds being available.
Mr. Hernandez, who has been in business at Traders for 15 years, said he employs 17 people and had been working on the project since September, when he was hoping $60,000 was available.
Several of the commissioners said they have met with Mr. Hernandez. Commissioner Judy Reiker said she would like to grant an award of $20,412 and reevaluate it at the Dec. 11 meeting for a possible increase in funding.
The motion for the funding was unanimously approved.