Members of five of the Mid-City area’s seven Community Advisory Committees voted unanimously last week to consolidate their commercial corridors into one large redevelopment project to help speed the recovery of riot-damaged neighborhoods.
The two other committees had already approved the proposal in a previous meeting.
In consolidating, Community Redevelopment Agency officials said Tuesday, the seven project areas stand a better chance of gaining support through bonds from financial markets, which will make funds available more quickly to start development activities.
The idea to consolidate presented itself a month ago, said redevelopment agency project manager Edward Saulet, when planners realized that some of the land tracts encompassed by the seven individual corridors were too small to attract backing from financial institutions.
This is the first time the agency has attempted a redevelopment effort encompassing non-contiguous zones, Saulet said. Most of the seven commercial corridors, which run along the main streets of the Mid-City area, are separated by residental tracts that will not be included in the project, he said.
Although all seven committees had already chosen to set up redevelopment zones individually, the prospect of consolidating had several advisory committee members thinking twice about having to prioritize some of their pet projects, as well as having to work together as one project area committee.
“Representation doesn’t always guarantee what it’s set out to (guarantee),” warned one resident.
Still, the idea of speeding up their projects, as well as the knowledge that remaining separate and at risk for funding could put an end to the area’s revitalization efforts, spurred the committee members to choose consolidation.
Kim Pfoser, the redevelopment agency’s principal planner for the area, said the next step will be to draft a preliminary redevelopment plan, which is expected to go before the City Planning Commission by late August.