November 4, 2019

7:00 PM

CRA Board Members Present:

Shirley Groover Bryant, Presiding Officer

Tambra Varnadore, Chair

Jonathan Davis, Vice Chair

Tamara Cornwell

Harold Smith

Brian Williams


Staff Present:

Mark Barnebey, City Attorney

Jeff Burton, CRA Director

Jim Freeman, City Clerk

Mohammed Rayan, Public Works Deputy Director

Scott Tyler, Chief of Police

Amber LaRowe, Assistant City Clerk


Mayor Bryant called the meeting to order at 7:51 p.m.




Motion:     Mr. Davis moved, Mrs. Varnadore seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to approve the November 4, 2019 CRA Board Agenda.



Betty Rhodes, resident, commented on Mr. Smith being removed from managing the Multi-Cultural Festival.


Due to the Multi-Cultural Festival being an Agenda item (3.A. below), Ms. Rhodes was asked to hold her comments until this as to speak when the item comes up.


Junior Salazar, started to comment on City Commission items. Due to this being a CRA Meeting, he agreed to hold his comments until the City Commission meeting is reconvened.


Motion:           Mr. Smith motioned, Mrs. Varnadore seconded, and the motion failed 2-3 to let Mr. Salazar continue speaking. Mr. Davis, Mrs. Cornwell, and Mr. Williams voted no due to the comments Mr. Salazar has are more related to the City Commission instead of the CRA Board. [Mr. Salazar agreed to hold his comments].



A.    Contract for 2020 Multicultural Festival

B.     Resolution 2019-04 Connor Park Grant Budget

C.     Blalock Walters Legal Invoices

D.    Minutes: September 9 and October 7


Motion:           Mrs. Cornwell moved, Mrs. Varnadore seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to approve item 3.D. of the November 4, 2019 CRA Board Consent Agenda as recommended by staff.




3.A. Contract for 2020 Multi-Cultural Festival Discussion:

Mr. Burton informed the Board that a contract is being propose to hire Ginuwine to play at the 2020 Multi-Cultural Festival.


Mr. Smith stated that he would like to go back to picking the musical entertainment for this event because he knows what the community wants to hear.


Betty Rhodes, comments on the Multi-Cultural Festival and how she is not in favor of the act proposed. She does not appreciate this type of music. She would like Mr. Smith to be the one to pick the music as, in her opinion, he has done a great job every year.


Mr. Smith thanked Ms. Rhodes for her comments and stated that he will talk to the Board members and get them to allow him to pick the musical entertainment for the 2021 Festival.


Mr. Burton discussed the process for acquiring music for the event, the time involved and the cost.


Nicole Velasquez, resident, asked if there could be a citizen advisory board to pick music and participate in the overall theme for these type of events since it is for the community as a whole. She also commented on her perception of a lack of the City/CRA effort to reach the community about events and meetings. She opined a social media presence and televised meetings could help.


Mr. Burton stated that there is a CRA Advisory Board and this event goes in front of theme for approval.


Motion:           Mrs. Cornwell moved, Mr. Smith seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to approve item 3.A. 2020 Multi-Cultural Festival entertainment agreement.


3.B. Resolution 2019-04 Connor Park Grant Budget Discussion:

Mr. Burton stated that this Resolution will align the budget in accordance with the grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) for quality improvements at Connor Park. At the time of the agreement with SWFWMD the total cost for the project was $1.4M with SWFWMD funding $700K.


Motion:     Mr. Williams moved, Mrs. Cornwell seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to approve item 3.B. Resolution 2019-04.


3.C. Blalock Walters Legal Bills Discussion:

Mr. Burton stated that two invoices attached tonight should not be in the CRA budget; CSX and 7th Street Extension. He asked for approval of the remaining invoices.


Mr. Smith asked to speak with Chief Tyler and Mr. Freeman regarding the purchase of the CSX property adjacent to the new Police Department Building site.


Motion:           Mrs. Cornwell moved, Mr. Davis seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to approve all legal invoices attached that are not related to the 7th Street Extension or CSX Property.



This is a formal public hearing for the EPA application.


Mayor Bryant opened the public hearing.


Joe Marsh, Cardno, PowerPoint for Grower’s Hardware and Slick’s Garage. A copy of the PowerPoint is made a part of the minutes. Mr. Marsh stated that the Phase II environmental assessment has identified contamination at the former Grower’s Hardware and former Slick’s Garage sites. The CRA is applying for the EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grants to clean up the sites. The applicant can request up to $500,000 to address one brownfield site or multiple brownfield sites. Mr. Marsh identified what a brownfield site is and displayed a map indicating the location of both properties. The total hazardous funds budget applied for in the grant is $204,000 with federal funds being $170,000 with a cost share of $34,000 by CRA funds. Mr. Marsh stated that the application deadline is December 3, 2019 and a draft copy can be obtained by contacting Mr. Burton at the CRA.


Veronica Rodriguez, resident, commented on the use of these two parcels as parking lots. She would prefer to see something done for the public and the community in these buildings instead of just another parking lot. She opined that the area needs to be revitalized and help the surrounding businesses like the Palmetto Art Center. She encouraged the CRA Board to think of and plan for other uses instead of a parking lot.


Mr. Smith asked Mr. Burton to expand upon the use planned and the future use of this site. Mr. Burton explained that because the Riverside and 8th Property is being sold and developed, parking will be lost for the downtown area, specifically the boat ramp. It is in the best interest to find an alternative for the downtown users to park when that area is removed. He explained that not only will there be parking, but other things are planned for the site as well. Mr. Burton offered to meet with Ms. Rodriguez to discuss the plans for the site.


Mayor Bryant closed the public hearing after no further public comment.



Mr. Burton stated that the ad for the Riverside Property is with the Attorney to review and make changes. Once done, the ad will be placed in the newspaper to further the process along.



Mr. Burton spoke with the owner of the property today. A final agreement needs to be put in place; the original contract for housing fell through and the property is back on the market.



Mr. Burton discussed the storefront grant program for commercial properties in the historic district. There is no current criteria.


Mrs. Varnadore stated that the board should establish a criteria with a dollar amount. Mr. Burton stated that he will discuss with David Bishop at Ugarte and Associates who can put together information on historic programs and what they entail.


Mrs. Cornwell asked Mr. Burton to review the State of Florida Historic Department guidelines as well.



Mr. Burton asked the CRA Board to consider amending the program to include projects with an estimated value of real property improvements from $10M to $4M. The amendments are redlined in the attached. Included in the amendment is the Advisory Board Member Roberto Gonzalez stricken and the name Nicole Tremblay stricken from Staff.


Motion:     Mrs. Varnadore moved, Mr. Davis seconded, and the motion carried 4-1 to amend the Increment Revenue Incentive program minimum private investment from $10,000,000 to $4,000,000. And to remove the name Roberto Gonzalez and Nicole Tremblay. Mrs. Cornwell voted no.



Mr. Burton stated that the CRA has the opportunity to partner with Smart Growth America to bring an informative and timely training to the City and to begin a post complete street economic development discussion. This training session will be for the City leaders, staff, business owners, and residents alike.


Motion:     Mr. Davis moved, Mr. Smith seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to approve Smart Growth America Agreement for $30,000 and authorize the Mayor to sign.




Mr. Burton stated that he will be sending the Brownfield Site Rehabilitation Agreement (BSRA) out.


At the next meeting, Mr. Burton plans to bring forward a discussion regarding a contract for the Woman’s Club similar to that what was done with the Veterans for Foreign Wars (VFW) building to help preserve the facility.





Mrs. Cornwell—requested more information about incentives for residents that need help with their housing repairs. Mr. Burton will send information to the Board and put on the website information from the Florida Housing Coalition.


Mr. Williams—reminded the Board that the CRA and the Police Department have Facebook accounts.


Mr. Burton discussed a spreadsheet he passed out that shows a list of City owned property that the CRA is interested in buying. He put this out there for the Board to review for a discussion in the future.


Mayor Bryant adjourned the meeting at 9:20 p.m.


Minutes approved: January 6, 2020


Jim Freeman


James R. Freeman

City Clerk




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