Tampa Community Redevelopment Agency to vote on giving Straz Center $25 million Thursday

Tampa’s Community Redevelopment Agency will vote Thursday on giving the Straz Center $25 million.

Tampa’s City Council members, acting in their capacity as the Community Redevelopment Agency, will vote on whether they should approve the largest single-funding request in the group’s history.

The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts asked the city for $25 million as part of its $100 million expansion. The request, particularly its size and how that money would be used, has raised questions over the purpose of CRA funds.

The Redevelopment Agency was supposed to vote on the request during a September meeting, but Straz Center representatives asked for a continuance. The Straz representatives did not give a reason for requesting the continuance. However, Council member Luis Viera said he believes it was for better optics amid simmering dissent.

“I see this 30-day continuance as an effort by our friends at the Straz Center — we all support their mission — to try to be collaborative and try to get a 7-0 vote,” he said during the Sept. 9 CRA meeting.

To date, Viera has been the only CRA member to voice opposition to the the funding.

The Community Redevelopment Act of 1969 provided

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