Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Extension of taxing method means more money to improve Dunedin's downtown

DUNEDIN — Downtown Dunedin's Main Street has evolved over the last two decades from a state road lined by a few faded buildings to a winding, walkable street featuring appealing restaurants and shops that attract residents and tourists.

That positive change will continue thanks to the Pinellas County Commission's approval of a city request for a 15-year extension of its Community Redevelopment Agency tax increment financing beyond 2018.

Under tax increment financing, any taxes collected on increased property values can be plowed into redevelopment of the downtown rather than going back to into local government coffers.

In Dunedin's case, that means roughly $4.3 million could be raised for beautification projects over the course of the 15-year extension, which expires in 2033.

"Having that steady revenue source ... has really served us well," said Dunedin economic development director Bob Ironsmith, adding that the money helps make downtown nice for residents and tourists, as well as setting the stage for growth.

"It creates a fertile environment for private investment to come in and do adaptive reuse on buildings," Ironsmith said. "We still have 20 acres of land downtown so there's a lot to be done."

First implemented in 1988, Ironsmith said, the city and county's combined CRA programs have already raised nearly $6 million for Dunedin through 2011. The transformation has been amazing.

In the 1980s, Main Street downtown was designated as State Road 580 and "had no ambience, no landscaping, benches, lighting," Ironsmith said. "It really just catered to moving traffic from point A to point B, and nothing else."

SR 580 was rerouted around downtown, removing high-speed traffic. Today, visitors to Main Street are greeted by brick sidewalks, decorative lighting, shaded benches and dozens of storefronts and restaurants.

The CRA funding has contributed to enhancements to the Pinellas Trail, downtown parking and the undergrounding of overhead utility lines.

City officials say their partnership with the county will help them implement revitalization efforts under the recently approved 2033 downtown master plan, parking study and downtown waterfront corridor study.

The first major initiative, Ironsmith said, will be the construction of two mixed-use parking structures with retail envisioned for the west and east ends of Main Street. Other key projects include marina improvements and a promenade linking downtown to the waterfront.

The extension of the program past 2018, Ironsmith said, is especially timely given the strain on city budgets everywhere.

"Each million dollars of new taxable value translates to $8,300 (in revenue). So the better the downtown does and the more taxable value goes up as the result of an additional project, the more money goes toward the CRA," Ironsmith said. "It's a big deal."

In 2025, Pinellas County will do a mid-term review and determine whether to honor the funding extension through 2033.

Keyonna Summers can be reached at, (727) 445-4153, or on Twitter @KeyonnaSummers. To write a letter to the editor, go to

Extension of taxing method means more money to improve Dunedin's downtown 07/26/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 26, 2012 7:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida State out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2011


    Florida State's first 0-2 start since 1989 has led to another low.

  2. From care center to purgatory to 'hellhole': How 11 frail elders died after Irma


    As she got ready to say goodbye to her mother at the Hollywood Hills nursing home, Rose Wyda's heart was sick. Hurricane Irma had been gone for nearly 48 hours, but the trail of shattered trees and broken, hissing power lines the storm left behind was still dangerously apparent. And the nursing home was part of the …

  3. Bucs' Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson kneel during national anthem


    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings, two days after President Donald Trump made critical remarks about NFL …

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Authorities ID man killed in Clearwater Beach boating crash; Girl, 4, still in critical condition


    An Altamonte Springs man died and a 4-year-old girl remains in critical condition Sunday morning after their personal watercraft collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m.

  5. 'If anyone can hear us … help.' Puerto Rico's mayors describe 'horror in the streets'


    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - In the northern Puerto Rican town of Vega Baja, the floodwaters reached more than 10 feet. Stranded residents screamed "save me, save me," using the lights in their cellphones to help rescue teams find them in the darkness, the town's mayor said.