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On Tuesday, the City Council took action to preserve more than $1 Billion Dollars of Redevelopment money for vital community and economic development projects in Long Beach.
In case you haven’t closely followed this issue, Governor Brown’s proposed budget calls for eliminating Redevelopment Agencies throughout California. The Governor deserves our support for making many tough choices in the new budget, especially his austerity measures to ensure that we live within our means. However, when it comes to Redevelopment, we have to do everything possible to keep RDA funding.
Redevelopment was created in California three decades ago to help cities combat blight and encourage economic development. By allowing cities to keep additional tax revenues created in project zones, Long Beach and other cities like San Diego, Anaheim, and Pasadena have been able to revitalize some of our most challenged neighborhoods. Redevelopment isn't perfect, but overall it is a great tool to combat blight.
Projects funded by Redevelopment include the new Seaside Park, K9 Corner Dog Park, Admiral Kidd Park, Dooley Magnet School, the Downtown Promenade, the Waterfront Boardwalk in Downtown and Fire Station 12 in North Long Beach. Also, in just the last four years, the RDA bought and tore down 11 liquor stores, 8 motels, 5 dilapidated industrial/warehouses, 3 adult entertainment stores, 4 scrap metal facilities and 4 fast food locations, all popular loitering spots with a high rate crime.
Without the Redevelopment Agency, many future projects would be on the chopping block including the new North Library, the Eastside Police Station, and expansions at Orizaba Park and McBride Park. The future of North Long Beach and Central Long Beach in particular is counting on these transformative projects.
Tuesday's Council action, and today's vote by the RDA Board, is our best effort from preventing the State from taking those funds. We hope that by committing those dollars, we are able to preserve every cent of RDA tax increment for Long Beach.
A special thanks to Amy Bodek, her Redevelopment team, and the Community PAC members for working so hard over the last couple weeks on this issue. A special thanks as well to Heather Mahood and everyone at the City Attorney's office for their work as well.
Go Long Beach!
PS: I will be in Sacramento on Monday with members of the Council State Legislative Committee. We will be meeting with our local representatives and encouraging them to support our Redevelopment Agency.
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