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Redevelopment agency activation being considered by Imperial council

June 22, 2001|By ANTHONY LONGORIA, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — The Imperial City Council discussed activating a redevelopment agency during a special meeting here Thursday night.

Marshall Linn, chief executive officer of Orange-based Urban Futures, led the workshop regarding RDAs. Urban Futures is a consultant that assists cities in activating redevelopment agencies.

Councilman James Tucker asked Linn to explain the benefits and costs associated with RDA activation.

Linn said RDAs are a way cities can "influence the flow of abnormal property tax dollars."

City Manager Vincent Long described RDAs as "the most useful tool for economic development."

He said cities without an RDA have difficulty competing with cities with RDAs.

"It's like trying to play basketball without air in your basketball," Long said.

Urban Futures would charge the city $90,000 over two fiscal years.

An attempt at activating the city's Redevelopment Agency in the mid-1990s failed when residents voiced opposition, citing concern over the RDA's ability to condemn and acquire property.

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Council members said they will be more aggressive in their outreach to the community to gain support for the RDAs activation.

The first task the council will face is defining a redevelopment area. Council members said they intend on defining as large an area as legally possible.

Once the council has established a redevelopment area, letters will be sent to community members and a public hearing will be conducted.

The council directed city staff to gather more information and explore

"I think we need to take advantage of this as much as we can," Mayor Mark Gran said.

Long said administrative work for RDA activation could be complete as soon as January with an activation by June 2002.

Staff Writer Anthony Longoria can be reached at 337-3452.

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