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Aundra Wallace

DIA plan could be finished by June

By David Chapman, Staff Writer

The next several weeks will be like cramming for a test for members of the Downtown Investment Authority.

That’s the analogy CEO Aundra Wallace used Wednesday when he talked about the needed steps to have a redevelopment plan ready to give City Council by the end of April.

The plan includes a Community Redevelopment Area update and a business development strategy, with the entire package needing council approval before the authority can truly be independent.

A group led by board member Melody Bishop has worked on the plan for months with the goal of presenting a plan the first quarter of this year.

Now, efforts will be ramped up with a series of special meetings over the next several weeks to hammer out details. It will have the help of an ad hoc group formed Wednesday that will be led by board member Mike Saylor.

The board is tentatively scheduled to have a special meeting next week to go over a Community Redevelopment Area update, followed by another special meeting in March to review the business plan.

If the schedule holds, Wallace also wants to work with the Office of General Counsel to begin drafting legislation for the plan.

April would mean more meetings, more needed approvals and the scheduling of an open forum so the public can weigh in on the plan.

“It’s aggressive,” Wallace said, later adding: “We only get one chance to get it right.”

A typical council cycle is about six weeks, making a possible final approval for June — but Bishop warned it shouldn’t be much longer than that because council will start working on the next year’s budget.

“We don’t want it to slip into budget time,” she said.

dchapman@baileypub.com

@writerchapman

(904) 356-2466

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