The portfolio of the Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) now includes street beautification and maintenance, sidewalk enhancements and overseeing thoroughfares through this example of Florida in the 21st Century.
The Collier County Commission agreed October 25th to roll into the Immokalee CRA’s duties all the street landscaping, lighting and safety improvements carried out for over 20 years by the independent Immokalee Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU).
County lawmakers unanimously approved the move after drawing complete support from the MSTU’s citizens advisory committee and the CRA’s citizens advisory committee.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Immokalee,” said Penny Phillippi, executive director of the Immokalee CRA, explaining it gives the community yet another tool for comprehensive planning and execution of community enhancement projects.
“The MSTU came to the CRA and said, ‘we really want someone here on the ground, 40 hours a week, working with the CRA on beautification issues,” Penny told lawmakers.
To make it happen, the MSTU expanded its taxing district to make it contiguous with the CRA boundary and the county commission changed the MSTU ordinance to its responsibilities include stormwater control and sidewalk improvement in addition to street lighting and beautification.
The change in governmental structure means the CRA will hire a project manager to work as part of the CRA staff to coordinate work previously done remotely by Collier County staff in Naples. The new staff member will, in addition, be responsible for seeking and securing grants to augment the MSTU property tax revenue, will manage landscape and maintenance projects and will coordinate CRA improvement projects that affect Immokalee roads, streets and sidewalks.
Phillippi said combining the responsibilities of the Immokalee MSTU with the CRA is just one more step forward in a comprehensive effort to help Immokalee reach its full potential as a shining example of Florida in the 21st Century.