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September 2011 | www.AtlanticAveMagazine.com 54SPECIAL FEATURE Q 7+( &20081,7< 5('(9(/230(17 $*(1&< BY ELIZABETH BORROWS BUILDING DELRAY BEACH ONE PROJECT AT A TIME Over the last 25 years Delray Beach has grown into a top destination for visitors, residents and businesses. As we stroll up and down the beautifully lit and well-kept downtown district, we pass by museums and parks, white sand beaches and top-quality hotels. Rarely do we wonder: How did Del- UD\ %HDFK EHFRPH ZKDW LW LV WRGD\" Delray Beach owes its revitalization to the collective efforts of many play- ers, from both the public and private sectors. And while no single entity can claim all the credit for the growth over the last two decades, its a fact that the Delray Beach Community Redevelop- ment Agency has played a critical role in the citys revitalization. Established by the city commission in 1985, the CRA is a public agency that works to foster and directly assist redevelopment efforts in Delray Beach in order to enhance the tax base and improve the quality of life within the city. Since its creation, the agency has participated in many initiatives that have put Delray Beach on the map as an entertainment destination. The CRA is one of four partner organizations that support the Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative, a QRQSURW RUJDQL]DWLRQ WKDW SUR - duces a variety of special events and marketing campaigns to promote the city. The DBMC initially used special events to attract people to the down- town and help local merchants build a solid customer base. Today, the Cooperative has expanded its efforts to market all of Delray Beachs assets, including the shops, restaurants, cultural attractions, and recreational activities and facilities. The CRA plays a crucial role in the DBMCs development of city events and other PDUNHWLQJ HQGHDYRUV 6D\V 6DUDK Martin, Executive Director of Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative, Not only does the CRA provide necessary funding for our marketing programs, they created the landscape in which ZH RSHUDWH Providing annual operating funds for the Delray Beach Market- ing Cooperative is just one way the CRA works to strengthen the local economy. Every year, the CRA invests in numerous projects and initiatives designed to strengthen many areas of the community. $ PDMRU IXQGHU RI EHDXWLFDWLRQ SURMHFWV DORQJ (DVW DQG :HVW $WODQWLF Avenue, Federal Highway and other downtown infrastructure improve- ments, the CRA has invested in many redevelopment projects that created a pedestrian-friendly downtown. In recent years, the CRA has invested several million dollars to construct and improve several public parking garages, surface lots and on-street parking spaces. The Downtown Roundabout, a free shuttle service, is also funded in part by the CRA. In addition to redevelopment projects, many CRA initiatives are de- signed to encourage economic devel- opment. For many years, the agency has offered several grant and incentive programs for local businesses. However six new incentive programs, created in 2010, are designed to more actively promote job creation, attract new businesses, and encourage busi-ness expansion in Delray Beach. The CRA also uses arts-based eco-nomic development initiatives to help attract visitors and businesses to the area. The citys major cultural institu- WLRQVWKH 'HOUD\ 3XEOLF /LEUDU\ WKH Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, and the Old School Square Cultural Arts &HQWHUDOVR UHFHLYH DQQXDO IXQGLQJ contributions from the CRA. Together, WKH QRQSURW RUJDQL]DWLRQV FUHDWH D valuable set of programming that has helped make Delray Beach a destina- tion for patrons of the cultural and visual arts, historic preservation, and education. One of the CRAs newest partner- ships is with the Creative City Collab- RUDWLYH D QRQSURW FUHDWHG E\ WKH &LW\ in 2006 and charged with implement- LQJ WKH &LW\V FXOWXUDO SODQ :LWK WKH support of the CRA, the Collaborative has transformed the retail space on WKH JURXQG RRU RI D SXEOLF SDUNLQJ garage into a chic, multidisciplinary arts venue known as the Arts Garage. The Collaborative is also working on plans for the future development of WKH $UWV :DUHKRXVH D &5$RZQHG property in the Pineapple Grove Arts District that is slated to become an incubator for world-class art. :H HPSOR\ GLIIHUHQW W\SHV RI redevelopment initiatives to ensure that were meeting the needs of the FRPPXQLW\ VDLG &5$ ([HFXWLYH 'LUHFWRU 'LDQH &RORQQD :HYH EHHQ this successful because we have a comprehensive strategy, and because weve learned to leverage our partner- VKLSV IRU EHWWHU UHVXOWV 6KH DGGV The CRA is responsible for another ZHOOORYHG ORFDO WUDGLWLRQWKH 'HOUD\ GreenMarket. Every Saturday in season, the market offers a variety of produce, baked goods, plants and RZHUV DQG RWKHU JRXUPHW IDUH IURP local vendors. The market will begin its sixteenth season on October 15th, from 9am-2pm on Southeast Fourth Avenue, just south of Atlantic Avenue. To learn more about the CRA, visit their website at www.delraycra.org RU FRQWDFW WKH &5$ RIFH DW  276-8640. A leader is best when people barely know he exists, ZKHQ KLV ZRUN LV GRQH KLV DLP IXOOOHG WKH\ ZLOO say: we did it ourselves. Lao Tszu {