May 31: City starts accepting TIF Grant Fund applications
ST. PETERSBURG – The city of St. Petersburg will begin accepting applications for Tax Increment Financing or TIF Grants designated for the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area May 31.
Applications will be processed and evaluated in the order they are received. Since this is the first year for the CRA competitive grant program, city administration is expecting a large number of applications and wants to fund as many projects as possible. Applicants are encouraged to prioritize the most important improvement needed for their property.
Last year, the city developed an innovative, 30-year revitalization plan for South St. Pete and TIF grant funding is an important component. The TIF Grant program is designed to help boost private investment by property owners and/or businesses in commercial and multifamily residential development in South St. Petersburg. The CRA is generally located between Fourth St. and 49th St., from Second Ave. N. to 30th Ave. S.
The CRA TIF funding amount anticipated for fiscal year 2017 totals about $470,000 and will be distributed to qualified applicants in two major areas – approximately $282,000 for Business and Workforce Development and about $188,000 for Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization. Most of this will be in the form of competitive grants.
There are five financial assistance programs for this initial, first year phase of the 30-year plan, including Affordable Multifamily Housing Development Tax Rebates – for developers of new and substantially renovated affordable multifamily housing in the CRA; and, Multifamily Residential Property Improvement Grants – which reimburses approved applicants for eligible substantial exterior and interior improvements on affordable or market-rate multifamily housing in the CRA.
Under Business Development, programs include Commercial Site Improvement Grants that reimburse commercial property owners who upgrade their building façades, landscaping, lighting, loading and service areas and other features of their sites visible from the public right-of-way. Commercial Building Interior and Tenant Improvement Grants provide matching grants to commercial property owners for interior upgrades, focusing on projects that remedy degraded building systems and extend the economic viability of the building.
The Commercial Revitalization Program offers grant funds to projects that enhance established business districts by redeveloping properties, decreasing vacancy rates, adding to the tax base, or creating jobs – improving the quality of life for surrounding neighborhoods through removal of blight and revitalizing vacant or underutilized properties.
A brief “CRA White Board” video illustrating the community redevelopment program and this grant funding process is available for viewing, at https://youtu.be/LLHiGXeTHCw.
The public is invited to stay involved in the community redevelopment process that began in July 2014 with public input meetings throughout the city. A 10-member Citizen Advisory Committee for the South St. Petersburg CRA meets six times each year. Upcoming meetings for the CRA Citizen Advisory group are July 12, August 9, October 4 and December 6, 2016, held on Tuesdays at City Hall.
In addition to CRA TIF-funded housing programs that are limited to multi-family properties (three or more units), the city offers various options to help improve single-family homes such as Rebates for Residential Rehabs, emergency and/or basic home repair loans, and accessibility improvements. And for low income, elderly or disabled residents, the Neighborhood Team offers help renovating single family homes, providing exterior painting, carpentry, access ramps, minor plumbing repairs and other eligible services.