Coral Springs has taken the first step toward creating a special district for improving its corporate park. It has also appointed members to a panel that will advise the city on ways to attract new businesses.
city officials approved on first reading an ordinance that creates the Corporate Park Business Improvement District, a taxing authority that will use the money that comes in from the special assessments to improve the facility. The ordinance will be formally adopted by the City commission at its meeting this month, but the creation of the district will take about 18 months.
The Corporate Park is spread over 442 acres and currently has 233 property owners as well as 244 businesses. The city will hire a consultant before the end of the calendar year to do a needs assessment. It will also finalize a methodology to tax the businesses within the facility.
“We want to reposition the Corporate Park,” said Ana Zeinieh, Coral Springs chief economic development manager. “It is an asset, and to use it as an asset, we got to be able to attract targeted industries and increase economic development within that area.”
The taxing agency will be governed by a board that will include businesses owners and property owners within the park. The board will maintain the facilities at the park and use the money generated from the special assessment to fund improvements at the facility. The board will also be in charge of marketing the park.
Zeinieh is currently meeting with property owners at the park to get their feedback on future improvements. Commissioner Joy Carter asked her if more than half of the businesses and property owners were in favor of the taxing agency. Zeinieh replied that while she was yet to meet 50 percent of the property owners, the larger property owners that she met were in support of the idea.
Mayor Skip Campbell said he, along with Zeinieh and Deputy City Manager Jennifer Bramley, had recently met representatives of a corporation and tried to convinced them to stay in the city. “We are getting a favorable response,” he said. “They are excited about what we are doing. With the addition of Lupin and Hoerbiger, the city is moving in the right direction.”
Carter, who had worked with the now-disbanded Economic Development Foundation, said the foundation has an early-warning committee that would speak to business owners who were thinking of moving out of the city. The panel was able to stop six businesses from leaving, she said. The city’s newly formed economic development advisory committee will be able to serve the same purpose and act as a retention tool, Zeinieh said.
Howard Melamed, a business owner within the Corporate Park, said he was in favor of the special district. “Our property values have been going down,” he said. “When corporate taxes go down, the burden gets shifted to the residents. It is extremely important that we have a vibrant commercial base in the city to keep our taxes stable.”
The eight members appointed to the city’s economic development advisory committee are Melamed, Karlene Facey, Maxine Gutman, Mark Stephens Mucci, Rosa Payan, Linda Siegel, Michael Singer and Bruce Weinberg. The ninth member will be appointed later.
Commissioner Dan Daley was appointed by fellow city officials as the City Commission liaison to the advisory committee. “The District has been a long time coming,” said Daley, who recently had a meeting with Bob Swindell, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance president and CEO. “We are certainly moving in the right direction.”
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