DUNEDIN — Gov. Charlie Crist this week spared a major downtown project from his budget veto list, approving $1.3-million for the city's Gateway project.
On Wednesday, Crist cut just $1-million in projects from the state's $66.2-billion spending plan.
"I all along believed that we had demonstrated that as a completely defendable economic redevelopment project," Mayor Bob Hackworth said of the Gateway project. "That's an investment. It's not spending."
The $30-million mixed-use project planned between Skinner Boulevard and Main Street will include offices, homes and stores.
Because of the economic slowdown, Ohio-based developer Pizzuti Solutions asked that the project be built in two phases. The plan is for Pizzuti to close on half of the city-owned 4.1 acres for $1.2-million by September.
The other half would be acquired by the fall of 2011 for $1.65-million.
The state money will go toward streetscape improvements and enhancing the east entrance of downtown, said Robert Ironsmith, director of economic development. It will also go toward extending Milwaukee Avenue through Main Street to Skinner Boulevard.
Tamara El-Khoury can be reached at (727) 445-4181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.