At the December 9th meeting the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board decided not to approve a $750,000 funding request from Loved by Jesus Family Church, which asked for funding for a business and job training incubator project within the Towne South Shopping Center.
Loved by Jesus Family Church presented the idea for the incubator center to the Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) back in August. In September, the church submitted a $750,000 funding request to the CRA to cover project startup costs, including design and construction. If approved, the funding would come from the Medium and Large Capital Project Master and Contingency Fund.
The Center would aim to serve teen and young adult job seekers. The 25,000 square foot space would be comprised of five different components, including a music recording and production studio, centers for vocational training and micro-business development, event space and low-cost leasing space for developing businesses. Potential community partners include the TCC Workforce Development Center and the FAMU Small Business Development Center.
The Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) met on Dec. 7 to discuss the project and “was supportive of the concept but wanted to ensure the project was poised for future success,” staff reports. The CAC recommended that the church obtain a market study to gauge the need for the services as well as their expected revenues. The CAC also recommended that the CRA provide $60,000 for project planning design as well as $15,000 for a market analysis, totaling $75,000.
At the CRA meeting, Board members expressed concerns about the $750,000 cost as well as the Towne South property.
“From a business standpoint, much like all other applications, in fact, every application that’s come before the CRA, the applicant is responsible for 75% of the cost. The City of Tallahassee and the CRA is the last stop, not the first stop,” said Mayor John Dailey.
Other Board members expressed concerns about starting the project on private property. Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox said she would be on board if it were a city-owned building.
The CRA Board did approve the CAC’s $75,000 funding recommendation 4-1, with Mayor John Dailey dissenting.