The first article described how redevelopment started and what redevelopment funds may be used for generally. This article will describe how redevelopment (if used properly) benefits communities and improves the lives of its community stakeholders.
Redevelopment provides workforce housing funds for subsidized apartments and homeownership opportunities reduce crime and code enforcement costs, improve infrastructure that will accommodate new industry, create jobs and expand opportunities for existing businesses to thrive.
Redevelopment funds are also often used to clean up environmentally-challenged property and/or blighted areas or attract new businesses. The core function of redevelopment agencies is to serve as the catalyst for community revitalization projects.
When redevelopment agencies make improvements to deteriorated areas, property values within those areas rise, resulting in an increase in property tax revenues. State law allows redevelopment agencies to use a small portion of this increase to repay debt they must incur in order to rehabilitate an area.
Redevelopment agencies use these funds to buy property, build public improvements and infrastructure, clean-up contaminated soil, and do other things necessary to improve conditions of the property. This in turn attracts private investment and creates a chain reaction where the ultimate economic output and benefits of the community are much larger than the original public investment. In short, every $1 of redevelopment agency spending creates about $13 in total economic activity!
Redevelopment agencies are local government entities usually controlled by the city council, county board of supervisors, or a separate appointed board (all accountable to the public). Because they are locally-governed, redevelopment agencies are in the best position to identify and prioritize local community needs and to work with private investors on local projects to meet those needs.
In the City of Taft, redevelopment funds have been or could be used for:
• Senior Affordable Housing
• Workforce housing and homeownership opportunities
• Improvements to public infrastructure
• Police Station and other public facilities
• Crime reduction and improved code enforcement
• Revitalize the Downtown Business District
• Neighborhood beautification such as upgrading facades and sidewalks
Bob Gorson is the City Manager of Taft. This is the second in a series about redevelopment. You can read the piece here.