CRESTVIEW The Community Redevelopment Agency says it welcomes assistance from the county Economic Development Council as the agency evaluates goals for its final 11 years of existence.


CRESTVIEW The Community Redevelopment Agency says it welcomes assistance from the county Economic Development Council as the agency evaluates goals for its final 11 years of existence.



Projects compatible with the agency's working plan include a community garden, more public parking, downtown marketing and a linear park linking the Main Street district with Twin Hills Park.



EDC Vice President Kay Rasmussen, who has called the plan "excellent," cited several proposed ideas that would be compatible with the CRA plan's parameters.



Among potential projects are a downtown amphitheatre, vacant land marketing, vehicular traffic improvements and single-family housing between commercial properties.



The latter is city planning consultant Jack Dorman's recommendation.



"You know what time downtown closes," Dorman said. "If we're going to have a viable, workable downtown, I would strongly encourage you to create a new zoning district for downtown that provides for residential as well as commercial uses."



During the CRA's Monday meeting, Rasmussen recommended the board schedule a workshop and brainstorming session to review its plan and identify projects covered under its scope.



She also proposed a training session for all county CRA boards with Florida Redevelopment Association representative Carol Westmorland, who has agreed to come to Okaloosa County in the spring.



Crestview CRA board members also comprise the City Council, with Council President Robyn Helt as board chairwoman.



Like many state-approved special taxing districts, the designation expires after a set period. The Crestview CRA district is a 30-year program established in 1995.



Wanted: Main Street and Community Redevelopment director



Main Street Crestview Association President Ellis Conner is still in talks with the Community Redevelopment Agency board about the need for a full-time program director.



Main Street has been without a director for two years, which hinders its ability to attract grant money for district improvements, Conner said. A full-time program director is a mandate for Florida Main Street membership.



A director for the CRA and Main Street programs would earn a CRA-funded $40,000 salary, under the proposal.



The board says it will consider the proposal following a workshop to review its master plan and evaluate proposed district projects.



Board chairwoman Robyn Helt says a professional director would offer technical expertise the five board members don't have.



"I'm all for a Main Street manager," board member Mickey Rytman, a former Main Street president, says. "I'd like to find some way to fund this position."



"There is definitely a need for it," board member Shannon Hayes says.



Email News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes, follow him on Twitter or call 850-682-6524.