As a way to leverage tax incremental financing dollars the Bayshore/Gateway Redevelopment Agency formed an innovative partnership with the Bayshore Beautification MSTU. The Bayshore Beautification MSTU is a municipal service taxing unit that was created in 1997 and administered under the Collier County Board of Commissioner’s Alternative Modes Transportation Department. The MSTU and CRA began its partnership funding a scope of work to identify a preferred design concept for improvements to a section of roadway known as Bayshore Drive South. The MSTU was still being administered under Collier County and projects funded by the MSTU were required to go through many levels of County staff review making implementation slow and tedious.
In a collaborative effort to join forces and augment the cost of improvements the MSTU and CRA lobbied the Collier County Board of Commissioners to move the administrative duties of the MSTU from under the Collier County Board of Commissioners to under the Bayshore/Gateway Triangle CRA. The Collier County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to transfer the administrative duties of the Bayshore Beautification MSTU to the CRA, which ultimately fast tracked the MSTU’s project approval process.
The Bayshore/Gateway Triangle Redevelopment Plan identifies critical projects and sets-forth our vision, goals, objectives, and policies. When the CRA partnered with the Bayshore Beautification MSTU their only planning tool was the 1997 Ordinance that established the MSTU and it lacked any vision. The CRA hosted a goal session workshop for the MSTU Advisory Board Members to assist them in establishing their own goals. This consequently resulted in the two agencies having the tools needed to identify their common goals and objectives and effectively leverage their funds.
Our first collaborative funding partnership involved the development of a scope of work to solicit quotes for a preferred design concept and an estimated cost of construction for improvements to a section of roadway along Bayshore Drive South. This rural stretch of roadway that has no sidewalks, no pedestrian level lighting, no buffering or landscaping and minimal vehicle lighting was identified as a priority by both agencies. It comprises 8/10th of a mile straightaway that entices drivers to speed along its unobstructed corridor. It is heavily traveled by families with small children who live in close proximity and walking distance to a nearby elementary school and High School students wait for buses on the road during the early morning hours before the sun rises.
The CRA and MSTU contributed equally in the cost of a conceptual design and the CRA staff provided the oversight and project management of the consultants. The result was a design concept plan that reflects the community’s vision through a participatory process inclusive of neighborhood meetings and public workshops. The concept was completed in May of 2009 and inclusive of construction cost estimates with different levels of enhancements.
In June of 2009 the MSTU and CRA partnered to solicit a professional Engineering, Surveying and Landscape and Architecture team to prepare the construction plans based on the design concept selected by the residents and secure all necessary permits required to proceed to construction.
The CRA and MSTU are currently reviewing other potential projects and look forward to continuing to efficiently leverage our funds to implement projects that meet our common goals and objective.
Although this is not the first CRA and MSTU to collaboratively fund projects it is the first innovative merger of the two agencies under one management umbrella enabling them to work together and wisely leverage funds to expedite projects.
- Impact on the Community
The CRA and MSTU are funding crucial street improvement projects in an area of low income residents where the main mode of transportation is walking and bicycling. By leveraging our funds we can continue to move forward with the construction of multi-purpose pathways that will serve as a critical link to an existing bicycle and pedestrian network along the portion of Bayshore Drive lying north of Thomasson Drive that continues north to U.S. 41 and the City of Naples.
Working collaboratively the CRA and MSTU can expedite the construction of identified improvements by leveraging tax incremental financing and municipal service taxing dollars.
- Problem Solving
The CRA and MSTU Advisory Boards comprise of a diverse group of professionals who engage in joint communication and brainstorming sessions to address the needs of the community and its residents.