Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo wants brownfields designation to redevelop chosen areas

In an effort to spur economic development, Largo is requesting that a large swath of the city be designated a brownfield redevelopment area.

Brownfield sites are typically abandoned, idle or underused industrial and commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by environmental contamination. The designation is primarily used as a tool by local governments to qualify for state and federal grants.

"It's an opportunity to have an area get re-energized and to encourage developers to come in, especially in the commercial areas," said Teresa Brydon, Largo's economic development manager. "It allows developers to come into an existing site, revitalize it and create an opportunity where we are not going into the green space and building out when we don't need to."

Largo is asking for the designation in the Clearwater/Largo Road and West Bay community redevelopment districts, the Missouri Avenue commercial corridor and a cluster of other city owned properties.

A third public hearing on the request is scheduled for July 1. If the Largo City Commission approves, then it would be passed to the Pinellas County Commission. County commissioners could approve the resolution at their Aug. 5 meeting.

"It's a good program to get the redevelopment areas to spark some interests," said Tom Morrissette, Largo/Mid-Pinellas Chamber of Commerce president. "No developers are knocking down doors. This just provides additional incentives to get property owners to clean up their property and get them ready."

Morrissette said Largo business owners in the proposed sites were pleased to know that they could opt out of the brownfields program if they choose to.

Being designated a brownfields redevelopment area doesn't mean that there is contamination. It's the perception of contamination that allows the designation.

"It's another tool in the toolbox," said Teri Hasbrouck, Pinellas County's business development manager for the brownfields program.

Hasbrouck noted that nearly all of Duval County is designated as a brownfield area. In addition, Clearwater and St. Petersburg have large areas that have been successful in attracting state and federal grants as a result of being declared brownfields.

Clearwater — the first state-designated brownfields area — has pulled in more than $4-million in state and federal grants. Some 70 private sector projects and 17 city-related projects have used brownfields grant funding in the city.

St. Petersburg's enterprise zone, which includes large portions of downtown and areas of Midtown, have been named brownfields.

"It's something we market and it catches the eyes of developers and businesses," said Dave Goodwin, St. Petersburg's economic development director. "A number of companies have taken advantage to remain, or expand in the city."

Some of the benefits for a company include a job creation tax credit. If 20 percent of a project is affordable housing, the developer could receive a sales tax refund for the materials used on the affordable housing component.

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174

Largo wants brownfields designation to redevelop chosen areas 06/28/08 [Last modified: Sunday, June 29, 2008 1:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.