The Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) for the City of Grand Island was established by the Grand Island City Council on June 27, 1994. The Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) consists of a 5 member board appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. Members of the board are all volunteers. The CRA is charged with taking action in specified areas of the community to remove, prevent or inhibit physical deterioration (blighted and substandard conditions) that will result in lower property values and create disincentives to private investment.
The purpose of the CRA is to study and designate certain areas of the city in need of improvement and development, with approval from the Grand Island City Council. City Council has to make the blighted and substandard declaration prior to the CRA accepting redevelopment proposals or taking other action in an area. Once an area has been declared blighted and substandard the CRA has the authority to take actions to encourage redevelopment or development in those areas. Blighted and substandard is a legal term defined in Nebraska State Statutes (Nebraska Revised Statute 18-2103 – Terms, defined) . Statutes allow the City Council to declare up to 35% of the area in the municipal limits as blighted and substandard. Provisions are in place for Formerly Used Defense Sites, to allow a first class city to approve areas outside of the municipal boundary for redevelopment. As of October 2018, approximately 20% (approximately 3785 acres) of the property in the municipal limits was declared blighted and substandard.
The CRA has the authority to: borrow money, issue bonds, conduct public hearings, undertake investigations, surveys, appraisals, and ask for a levy of taxes. The City of Grand Island CRA has the ability to levy a tax of up to $0.026 per $100 of property valuation to all properties within the municipal limits. These funds can be spent to further the mission of the CRA on any activities the CRA is allowed to pursue according to statutes.
To encourage development within the community, the Community Redevelopment Authority has established funding for development through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Grant Programs: Façade Improvement Program and Life/Safety/Infrastructure Program. The CRA can also make grants for other purposes to organizations or agencies within the CRA areas.