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    City Mgt. Recommends Merging All Seven Existing Redevelopment Project Areas...And Adding New Territory To North & Central Project Areas

    (June 4, 2003) -- has learned that Melanie Fallon, City Hall's Director of Community Development, is recommending the merger of all seven of LB's existing Redevelopment Project Areas, and adding new territory to LB's North and Central Redevelopment Project Areas.

    The recommendations are contained in a memo, obtained by on request to city staff, due to be considered June 9 by the Redevelopment Agency Board (9:00 a.m., Council chambers). posts the memo verbatim in pdf form on a link below.

    In the memo, Ms. Fallon writes in part that the "benefits to be gained from a merger are substantial. The Redevelopment Agency Board could combine all project area revenues and spend them on the projects it considers most important for the City as whole."

    She also acknowledges:

    The ability to pool all revenues from all project areas is the heart of the controversy over the proposed merger. In every community, whether on a national, state or local level, there is competition for government resources. The City Council and the Redevelopment Agency should be allowed to pool Agency resources, balance the competing needs of the various neighborhoods and determine where those funds should best be spent. However, this is a very divisive issue. The divisiveness results from the public's lack of trust in staff, the Redevelopment Agency and the City Council to fairly distribute Agency funds. Citizens have expressed their fear that after a merger Agency funds will be redirected to support parochial political interests rather than the needs of the community. Staff recommends that a Redevelopment Strategy be prepared as part of an effort to rebuild public trust.

    The "Redevelopment Strategy" would include "guiding principles" in preparing the strategy, "best practices" of redevelopment agencies, post-merger allocation of resources, communication between officials and the public, and the solicitation of public views.

    Reaction is pending as we post.

    To view the city staff memo in pdf form, click June 9 Redevelopment Project Area Merger Memo.

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