In November of 2003, the first time in the city's 45-year history, the city of Imperial Beach's Redevelopment Agency (RDA) held a public hearing to create a Joint Powers Agency and announced the first-ever sale of $22.6 million in tax allocation bonds.
The suggested projects and programs, developed after a series of community and RDA workshops throughout 2004, will be funded with approximately $16 million dollars of the $22 million dollar bond fund proceeds. The remaining $4 million, in line with redevelopment law, has been set aside for affordable housing programs. The annual RDA bond payment will be approximately $1.2 million. Rosenow, Spevacek Group Inc. (RSG) was hired to facilitate the planning process, steering resources to implement productive economic endeavors in the community. RSG also assisted with identifying long-term strengths of the marketplace, a market analysis indicating demands for additional retail development in Imperial Beach over the next five years, goals for retention, and expansion of small and growing businesses as well as implementation strategies. This past October, the RDA unanimously voted to adopt an Economic Development Plan for the city of Imperial Beach. The first big step for the RDA was to adopt a five-year Implementation Plan and a 10-year Housing Strategy.
"The Economic Development Plan is the key to our community success," said Mayor Diane Rose. "We have spent a year getting the public's consensus and now we can move forward to implementation." The Palm Avenue corridor was given the highest priority among economic development projects with the redevelopment of the shopping center at Ninth and Palm considered a priority. Infrastructure and improvements were highlighted for Old Palm Avenue. There will also be a façade improvement program and future planning studies for other selected areas of the city.
Capital Improvements projects scheduled for 2005 are mostly infrastructure projects. The RDA approved $4.5 million dollars for street overlay, sidewalk construction, curb and gutter construction, handicap access ramp construction, cross gutter and storm drain construction. Park and recreation facility improvements received funding and an Alley Assessment District to pave all the city's unpaved alleys was also on the slate of future projects.
For housing projects, the focus remains rehabilitation of existing multi-family housing and exploring the possibility of providing affordable, limited equity co-op housing to allow for ownership interest by low and moderate-income residents. The city will explore other funding sources for the rehabilitation of single-family homes to promote home ownership for low and moderate-income residents.
"This is an exciting time for the City of Imperial Beach because residential renovations and business improvements have resulted in rising property tax revenues, allowing us to make enhancements that years ago we could only dream about completing," Rose said. "If this cycle continues, people will see much more economic development and capital improvements."