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Possible shakeup with Community Redevelopment Agency in Delray Beach brings concerns from residents

'We will once again be left out. We won't have a voice,' pastor says
Posted at 2:55 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 18:12:44-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — City leaders in Delray Beach are set to decide if their Community Redevelopment Agency will change.

The CRA board currently has seven members with two appointed community seats.

However, the city commission will soon vote on removing those two appointed seats, causing some residents to worry that this could impact future decisions.

Angie Gray is one of the two appointed members of the Delray Beach CRA.

Angie Gray, Delray Beach CRA board member
Angie Gray explains how she felt after learning her seat on the Delray Beach CRA was in jeopardy.

The upcoming vote that could remove her seat was a surprise that she said brought hurt and disappointment.

Gray has been on the CRA board for three years, and she doesn't understand the desire to change it.

"We are finally getting some work done in the northwest, southwest neighborhood," Gray said.

Commissioner Ryan Boylston said he originally campaigned to make the CRA board independent, but the city cannot legally implement that decision.

The city attorney said out of 220 CRA boards in the state, more than 50 percent are run with the commission as the board members.

Delray Beach Commissioner Ryan Boylston
Delray Beach Commissioner Ryan Boylston explains why reducing the size of the CRA will benefit the city.

"There really isn't an example of this hybrid approach, and that is because it does create issues," Boylston said.

He said becoming a five-member board could help them work more cohesively with city and CRA staff.

"This actually consolidates all the decision-making behind the people that you elected," Boylston said.

Pastor Howard Barr
Pastor Howard Barr shares his concerns about the possibility of the Delray Beach CRA losing two appointed community seats.

Pastor Howard Barr said removing the two community members from the board would remove direct contact with the community.

"We will once again be left out. We won't have a voice," Barr said.

He said he worries that the commissioners would ignore the northwest and southwest neighborhoods if they are the only ones on the CRA board.

"This area doesn't hear from the commissioners unless there is a desire or need or an emergency," Barr said.

The city commission will meet Tuesday where they will give their final vote on switching the CRA board from seven members or five.