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County Considers Millions in Financing for Downtown

Pinellas County Commissioners consider extending financing for Dunedin's downtown redevelopment district another 15 years past the original 30-year deadline, during a meeting July 10. The decision could mean millions for downtown.

Millions of dollars toward the future of downtown Dunedin hangs in the balance of what Pinellas County Commissioners have to say Tuesday morning.

They are considering whether to continue financing Dunedin's downtown redevelopment goals for an additional 15 years past the original 30-year expiration, which ends in 2018. 

Up until this point, the county has contributed $3 million (in tax increments) to Dunedin's downtown redevelopment efforts, and a county ordinance ensures the city receives an estimated $1.6 million in financing through 2018. 

Dunedin, however, recently revised its 30-year plan for downtown to include other improvements, such as:

  • Street enhancements on north Highland Avenue and Skinner Boulevard,
  • A parking garage
  • Redevelopment in the 
  • Utility improvements

The city commission approved the revised plan in May and also extended its own tax increment financing for the project in June. To move forward, the city needs the county to extend its financing also.

But this comes at a time when the county has budget challenges, also, Bob Ironsmith, director of economic development, said in regard to the decision during a June committee meeting. 

"We just happen to be first in line," he said.

If the county approves, it would mean a roughly $4.3 million toward downtown redevelopment over the 15 years. The revised ordinance would also allow for a progress review report at the 11-year mark.

If the county decides not to approve tax increment financing an additional 15 years, the county contribution would end in 2018.

The estimated cost for all the planned improvements is $22.9 million, according to city records.

County commissioners will discuss the topic during a regular public meeting Tuesday, July 10, 9:30 a.m., in the fifth-floor Assembly Room at the County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Clearwater. It is the first of two readings of an ordinance that could extend the timeframe for county tax increment financing for downtown Dunedin. 

The meeting will also televised live on Bright House, channel 622; Knology, channel 18; Verizon, channel 44; or online.

Jim Throne July 11, 2012 at 12:23 AM
More flat parking seems to be emerging in the downtown area (Optical, across from Dunedin Brewery, the church area). Has the city made an economic evaluation on purchasing these lots at fair market value v. building a multistory parking garage? Although the numbers vary widely, it is estimated that one parking garage space is about $12,000-$15,000. And one might guess that maintenance on a multistory garage would be somewhat higher than that for a on-level parking area.

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