CRA to explore taking on ‘environmental services’ in downtown district
The Community Redevelopment Agency could take over all general maintenance in the South Cape district, effectively replacing a lot of the core level services provided by the city.
CRA board members directed their staff on Tuesday night to prepare a request for proposal, and could be performing some of these general maintenance functions as early as mid January.
Essentially, the city would still be in charge of capital improvement projects – including roads and sewers – while the CRA would take over tasks such as pressure washing and landscaping, among others.
“There’s a lot of stuff here, but the idea is we take over the maintenance of the downtown,” said CRA Executive Director John Jacobsen.
The idea stemmed from a trip to Ybor City in Tampa, during which CRA Board member Rich Greer visited with Ybor City’s “YES Team”, which stands for Ybor Environmental Services.
Greer thought the work and ideology of this group – provided by a private contractor – kept Ybor City clean, well organized, and inviting.
Greer said that time was of the essence if a similar project were to be brought to the Cape, and that the board shouldn’t get bogged down with too many heavy details.
“Time is of the essence. We need to get this up and running as fast as possible,” Greer said.
The board did express some concerns about moving too fast, that an incomplete RFP would open the door to more confusion in the long run.
There was also some concern about the CRA taking on financial responsibility that currently lies with the city.
But the overriding theme of the discussion focused instead on being “proactive” in the CRA when it came to blight, and that the sooner this project got off the ground, the better.
“We’re not talking about anything having a detrimental effect on the city … we need to get this rolling,” Rich Greer added. “There’s not going to be any mistakes made here, we can always make adjustments as we go.”