UPDATE: Fellsmere council adds 837 acres to redevelopment area

By Debbie Carson, Online Editor

FELLSMERE — The Fellsmere City Council unanimously supported growing the city’s redevelopment area by more than 800 acres Thursday night – more than doubling the targeted area.

“It allows us to tackle the heart of the city,” said Rochelle Lawandales, the city’s planning consultant during her report to the council.

The property is adjacent to the city’s existing redevelopment area and includes land both north and south of County Road 512. According to a study commissioned by the council, the property have been identified as “blighted” and are affected by poverty and the lack of jobs, substandard and dilapidated buildings, and unpaved roads.  

For these reasons, the city council is considering adding the sites to the redevelopment area, which would allow it to reinvest tax dollars to improve it.

“Does this mean this is terrible?” Lawandales asked rhetorically. “No,” but it gives the city a way to solve some of the problems within the area by establishing strategies for improvement and identifying funding sources, “so we can conting the upswing.”

City Manager Jason Nunemaker told the council that it in the time the city has been working on its original community redevelopment area, there have been improvements.

“Already, we’ve seen success stories in the CRA,” he said.

The added areas fill in the space between the north and south portions of the redevelopment area’s “Village Center” and incorporates 157 acres to the north and east of Hall-Carter-James, the 80-acre Garafalo property, Sunrise Villas, the Dairy Queen and gas station near Interstate 95 and other parcels.

Though the discussion was part of a public hearing, no one from the public addressed the council about the proposed expansion.

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