MANATEE -- Nearly 30 people gathered Wednesday to hear more about Manatee County's new tool for community redevelopment.
Residents and business owners heard a presentation on how the Southwest County Improvement District, also known as the Southwest Tax Increment Financing District, will operate when it is officially launched in the fall.
The new district will stretch from Manatee Avenue on the north to the Sarasota County line on the south, and from Sarasota Bay on the west to U.S. 301 on the east.
There were questions about how to help neighbors work together on district projects, how to prevent revitalization from ruining historic communities and what sort of improvements TIF money can be used to do.
The revitalized area will benefit all, said Dick Knowles, co-owner of Ezra Restaurant, 5629 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, where the workshop was held.
Phyllis Dobbins, owner of Mr. Cheesecake, 1128 30th Ave., said the meeting was "a start."
"We need to sit down and make a plan," she said. "Too many places need the money.
"I would love to see them start at Mr. Cheesecake," she added about her family-owned business, which specializes in fancy cheesecakes and desserts.
Officials plan to dissolve the county's two community redevelopment areas Sept. 30 and launch the new TIF district Oct. 1.
The district is expected to generate more than $400,000 for improvements in its first year. The money comes as property values increase after blighted areas are revitalized.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.