NEWBERRY ‒ The City of Newberry Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) on Sept. 25 approved their Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget of $509,500, with 92 percent of that funding for projects within the CRA District.

Newberry Assistant City Manager and Chief Financial Officer Dallas Lee said that revenues increased by $160,000 to $480,840, with $80,000 coming from the City and the same amount from Alachua County. Lee also said that $40,000 in unused façade grant funds from last year will be rolled into this coming year’s budget.

Other budgetary line items include insurance and legal fees at $33,000 and training and memberships at $8,000, with no increase over last year’s amount. Façade grant amounts were increased by the Commission from $15,000 to $25,000 in the coming year’s budget. Contract/Professional Services have been set at $128,500, which includes the stormwater master plan, project design and downtown marketing. Costs for infrastructure are set at $315,000, which includes sidewalk improvements, streetlights, way-finding signs, utility extensions, capital grants and road design.

CRA Executive Director Bryan Thomas presented the establishment of a Newberry CRA Commercial Corridor Beautification Program to further enhance the aesthetics of the district. The program would initially focus on improving the intersection at Newberry Road and State Road 45, and eventually branch out in other directions.

While several suggestions were made as to how to proceed, Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe suggested that the Board start with business owners who want to work with the City. The consensus was to contact Domino’s Pizza management to discuss ways their corner property could be improved with landscaping.

Also suggested was that City Codes Enforcement contact the owners of the Circle K to get them to either demolish the building or improve the property.

Thomas said he would bring this back to the Board again after contacts were made with the business owners on that corner. No other action was taken by the Board at this meeting.

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