Latest News – April 26, 2003

The City Manager and staff is wrapping up the creation of the Town Planner Selection Committee. The Town Planner Selection Committee will consist of seven categories of individuals from the community that will provide a broad range of expertise and knowledge. Since the categories are now defined, individuals will be selected for each slot with final approval by the City Council. It is the desire of the City to create a completely apolitical Town Planner Selection Committee and it is our hope that in pursuing this goal, the City will not go overboard and select individuals who are totally unfamiliar with our city’s Revitalization direction.

On March 19th, City of Temple Terrace Community Redevelopment Director R. Matthew Shannon (Downtown Revitalization Project Manager) presented to the Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce on the current status of our Downtown Revitalization. There were about 100 people in attendance. Matt mentioned that one of the reasons it is imperative that we Revitalize our Downtown concerns the stagnation of assessed property values in Temple Terrace. Here are those values, which compare 2002/2003 to 2001/2002 assessed property values (as provided by City of Temple Terrace Finance Director Lee Huffstutler):

9% increase in Hillsborough County

8% increase in Tampa

7% increase in Plant City

1.6% increase in Temple Terrace–This is the lowest increase in property values in the past 6 years

It is our hope that the Downtown Revitalization, if done to the highest quality, will kindle a positive Revitalization energy. The Revitalization will be accomplished to the highest quality only if our City selects the best Town Planner from our list of fourteen. The best Town Planners will then attract the best Development Teams. Optimistically, the Revitalization energy from our downtown will spread outward from the Downtown Revitalization area (called a “halo effect”) to the three neighboring downtown areas as well as the adjacent residential—effectively pushing the blighted areas that border our city further away from the city core.

The updated Revitalization area property appraisals are expected at any time. The current real estate appraisals are taking longer than expected, as they are more complex than the previous appraisal of several years ago. The latest appraisal involves a variety of sub-consultants including a “furniture, fixture and equipment” (F.F.& E) appraiser, surveyor and land planner. In addition, the consultants have had difficulty gaining access to some of the property parcels and some of the appraisals have been disputed. The updated real estate appraisal cannot be completed until work by the sub-consultant is also completed. Once this very detailed appraisal is acquired, the CRA Director and the City Attorney will negotiate with the Bickimer brothers (owners of the old Publix at Terrace Plaza) in an attempt to avoid the more costly process of condemnation, eminent domain or a “quick take” of the property.

On April 22nd the City Council held a Special Workshop, the purpose of which was to get an update on the Revitalization and discuss a strategy for acquiring out-parcels. The highpoints of the meeting were:

a) Bringing the Downtown Revitalization property north of Chicago Avenue under City control was our City’s highest priority, property lying in the Downtown Revitalization area south of Chicago Avenue as well as the Doral Oaks Apartments complex is secondary but any opportunities will be studied closely. It is rumored that the owner of Doral Oaks is considering transforming his existing apartments into condominiums, thus the time for our City to acquire that parcel is before that process begins.

b) City of Temple Terrace Finance Director Lee Huffstutler stated even in the worst-case financial scenario, the Revitalization could still proceed by only utilizing existing C.I.T funds but this could retard other commitments for the funds.

c) General Obligation Bonds (G.O.) might be needed in the future, which require a public referendum. G.O. Bonds are a way of financing the cost of physical improvements to the City’s neighborhoods, streets, parks, beaches, public safety facilities, and other facilities. They are paid solely from property taxes.

Related posts:

  1. News (June 17th, 2003)
  2. Latest News (July 12th, 2003)
  3. Latest News (April 11, 2004):
  4. Latest News (December 21, 2003)
  5. Latest News (September 20, 2003):
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