Sunday, November 17, 2013

Deerfield Beach's Sullivan Park

Kudos to the commissioners who voted to go ahead with the Sullivan Park renovations.  I have no idea why Mayor Robb would vote against improving this park which has a unique setting, a short walk from the Cove Shopping Center, also a short walk from the beach, right on the Intracoastal.  Ideal for boating, fishing and relaxing. 
Maybe she doesn’t realize that the money to fix it up will be CRA funds which must be used in the area; the CRA funds will be supplemented by a marine grant of over a million to improve the dock area which will have to be paid back if not used for this project.  This is a no brainer.  THE MONEY CAN’T BE USED IN THE REST OF THE CITY!  The funds are generated from increased property values in the CRA area and must be spent in the CRA area.

The City used CRA money to fix up everything else in the area first, (see the projects by clicking on the CRA area link below) and now this little gem of a park will have its day.  This park has long been a favorite of fisherfolk and kayakers but its rough condition was not conducive to picnickers or other kinds of recreation. 

Way, way back when, the Woman’s Club of Deerfield Beach donated money for the park’s upkeep and a classy brass plaque. For a while it was used often by residents, but the park has had minimal upkeep, the plaque was stolen and the park fell into disuse.  The Riverview Restaurant closed and became an overgrown eyesore. 

The city dropped the ball on this park as it had done on the Cove Shopping Center.  With CRA funding the shopping center is now a busy focus of activity, as the park will be when it is complete. 
Because of CRA funds it was possible to buy the Riverview property and because of the extra area the property added to Sullivan Park, it became possible to envision and create a marine based, attractive park (See link at the top).

The CRA Tax Increment Funds may only be used in the designated CRA area.  This is a link to the CRA area map: 

When the County started the CRA concept the then Deerfield Beach Commission chose this area because improvements there would increase the property taxes and those increases (tax income over and above the rate at the time the CRA was started) are income for the CRA.  Over time the tax increases (some of which would have gone to the County but stay in the City because of the CRA agreement) have funded the improvements you see at the beach area and east of Federal Highway. 
We have been able to use millions of dollars in the area that would have gone to the county because of this agreement which was made during the boom days; this kind of CRA is no longer allowed by the County.

As the CRA winds down over the next few years, the remaining income will be used mainly to pay off the bonds which were used for the major projects.  This was smart planning the city got the money up front and used the increased revenue from the result of the projects to pay off the bonds. 

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