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2 Ways to "Show Your Love" for Apopka this week

Posted

Around Town

Opinion

By Suzanne Kidd

Apopkans often boast about how they LOVE their city, and why not? There is a lot to love! Rolling hills, lots of greenery, great schools, etc. And, above all, wonderful, warm neighbors always ready to lend a hand. But, as life teaches us, love is a two-way street, demanding giving as well as getting.

So, this week, while enjoying all Apopka has to offer, let's do two things to show our love FOR Apopka: 1. sign up to help build the new KaBoom! Playscape at Lake Avenue Park and 2. take action to guarantee Apopka's right to spend its CRA funds for projects that target dilapidated and neglected areas near downtown.

First up, KaBoom!

In only 10 days, on Saturday, April 8th, a fantastic playscape, designed by Apopka's children, will rise at Lake Avenue Park (Lake Avenue at Summit Street). It's a massive undertaking to build this playground in just ONE day! But that's what Rotary Club of Apopka, The Big Potato Foundation, The City of Apopka and the Independent Order of Foresters, which is funding the $90,000 cost, have worked tirelessly to make it happen for Apopka's kids. But, with 200 volunteers needed on build day, they're still 40 volunteers short!

So, how about it Apopka... will you step up and be one of the fabulous forty who sign-up to build? What a great way to Show Your Love for Apopka's kids! Click here for complete information and Sign-Up form: https://www.tfaforms.com/4600492

Now for our CRA.

We must take immediate action to ensure Apopka's CRA retains its ability to breathe new life into long-neglected areas. We must reach out, through call or email, to one or more of the eighteen members of the Florida House Ways & Means Committee in Tallahassee. It's not as scary as it sounds! We must insist in no uncertain terms that we, as Apopka citizens, DO NOT want CRAs eliminated, or prohibited from investing in new projects after October 1st of this year. And here's why.

A CRA is a Community Redevelopment Agency formed to target blight and neglect in a defined district by investing a portion of the property taxes generated in the district back into projects that promote economic development, affordable housing, and health and safety for the residents and businesses of that area.

Although Apopka formed our CRA in 1993, it has been largely inactive for years and is just now getting back into action. Our updated CRA Redevelopment Plan will soon be presented to City Council and, if approved, accumulated funds can begin to be spent on reimagining and reinvigorating our CRA area, which stretches roughly from Highland Manor west to Hawthorne Avenue, and Oak Street south to 10th Street.

House Bill CS/HB13, which the Ways & Means Committee is considering, will take away Apopka CRA's ability to spend the funds at the very moment it is finally positioned to invest in the revitalization that will benefit all of Apopka. We must not let that happen!

So, how about it Apopka....will you make the call, or email the Committee members? Go ahead, Show Your Love for a better Apopka for ALL! Click here to connect to the Committee's website http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?CommitteeId=2924. Click on a name for contact information or email form.

Tell them "hands off my CRA!"

Suzanne Kidd is a former 30-year public school educator and design professional. During her sixteen years as an Apopka resident, she has been an active participant in her homeowners' association and in Apopka civic affairs, attending City Council and Planning Commission meetings and serving on several City committees, most recently chairing the City's Visioning Steering Committee. She is currently involved with Habitat for Humanity in bringing affordable housing to Apopka.

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