Submitted by Susan Hardee Steger

Undeveloped property located in the CRA
Undeveloped property located in the CRA

On June 17, the Fernandina Beach Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board (CRAAB) met for a “debriefing” after a work session with the City Commission and Carol Westmoreland, executive director of the Florida Redevelopment Association. Individuals attending the Monday afternoon meeting were board members Mike Zaffaroni (chair), Andrew Curtin, Lou Goldman, Debra Stephenson, Marla McDaniel, and representatives from the Nassau County Economic and Development Board; Steve Reich,executive director and David Emmons, director of business expansion.

Zaffaroni, opened the meeting and asked for comments on the workshop where Westmoreland educated board members and commissioners on the value of CRAs. Curtin said Westmoreland’s Wednesday CRA training session in Jacksonville and her board presentation in Fernandina resulted in a “clear understanding among everybody [commissioners and CRAAB] as to what CRA’s can and cannot do.” He sensed a “more positive attitude toward CRAs among some of the commissioners that were skeptical before.”

Responses from commissioners were more positive according to Zaffaroni.  “I think we saw Pelcian and Gass very involved in the conversation where in the past they seemed unsure.”

Dick Goodsell
Dick Goodsell

Discussion then moved to potential development opportunities in the CRA. Goldman asked that a representative from the city be identified who can “talk developer talk.” The representative could encourage future development and approach potential developers such as Dick Goodsell owner of undeveloped property on North Front Street.  In a prior interview with the Fernandina Observer, Goodsell expressed his concern over the “city’s total lack of consistency in pursuing waterfront development goals.”

Steve Reick, Executive Director of the Nassau County Economic Development then addressed the board. “I get paid by the city for bringing economic development here {to the city.] It is an approach that hasn’t been tried before. I would be willing to do that.”  CRAAB members supported the idea, but decided  to present the proposal at another time.

On the agenda for the regularly scheduled city commission meeting on June 18  is Item 8.1 that will attempt again to gain support from the commission to reset the base year and extend the CRA term to 40 years.  In the past, CRAAB members have expressed frustration with the commission’s failure to act on these recommendations because of their request for “more information.”

June 17, 2013 10:45 p.m.

Share this story!

Notify of
This site uses User Verification plugin to reduce spam. See how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x