A Little Perspective
In the 1970s, Downtown Lakeland was dying. It was not an attractive location to either residents or business owners. As a result, in 1977, local leaders requested that the State Legislature create the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) as a way to redevelop the Downtown Area.
So what is the LDDA?
The LDDA is a special taxing district. Taxpayers in the district pay up to an additional 2 mill every year in property tax that can only be spent in the district. Six of the members elected by district are property owners and the seventh is a City Commissioner appointed by the Mayor.
What is the difference between the LDDA and the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency)?
The CRA is actually the City Commission. The CRA staff manages an appointed volunteer board that advised the CRA. The CRA does not levy an additional tax like the LDDA. The CRA is funded through tax increment that is redirected to the CRA instead of the city general fund.
How does the LDDA and the City work together?
The LDDA receives no operating funds from the City, but the City pays for public improvements and continues to maintain the Downtown area as they have historically.
So what does the LDDA do on a daily basis?
The LDDA advocates for Downtown and its investors. We lobby the City to make physical improvements according to a plan we devised cooperatively with the CRA. We also manage the Downtown Farmers Curb Market, the First Friday event, and MANY other events, as well as execute marketing campaigns to educate the public on why the Downtown Lakeland is a great place to live, work, and play.