The Westgate/Belvedere Homes Community Redevelopment Agency (“Westgate CRA”) is the only community redevelopment agency in unincorporated Palm Beach County. The Westgate area is rich in history. North and South Westgate Estates were developed in 1921 as the westernmost gateway to the City of West Palm Beach, and stands as one of the oldest subdivisions in the County. Under the authority of Florida Statutes Chapter163, Part III, the Westgate CRA, a dependent special district, serves in a quasi-independent capacity to promote and facilitate the revitalization, redevelopment, and economic
development of the Westgate area of unincorporated Palm Beach County.
The boundaries of the Westgate CRA district are Florida Mango Road to the east, Belvedere Road to the south, Military Trail to the west, and Okeechobee Boulevard to the north. The district is approximately 1,300 acres or 2 square miles.
The Westgate CRA was created in May of 1989 by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners via Resolution #89-6. The Agency is mandated to eliminate slum and blight and effectuate redevelopment within its boundaries pursuant to the goals and objectives of an approved Community Redevelopment Plan.
The CRA receives annual Tax Increment Financing (TIF) from Palm Beach County. When the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners created the CRA in 1989, it pledged an annual TIF from the General Fund and Fire Rescue MSTU to create the CRA’s Trust Fund in accordance with Florida Statute 163, Part III. All CRA’s are dependent special districts, which means they are dependent upon other taxing districts to make contributions to their trust fund.
A portion of each tax increment generated and received by the Westgate CRA is reinvested back in to the community from where it originated to further the Agency’s mission and encourage revitalization.
With the adoption of the amended Community Redevelopment Plan in 2017, the Westgate CRA shifted its focus from priority public infrastructure improvements to economic development and vertical redevelopment. The CRA established focus areas based on an analysis of existing conditions and the identification of opportunities, needs and challenges in the redevelopment area. Focus areas may overlap since many CRA activities are interrelated and serve a common purpose.
The projects and programs of the CRA are designed to solve underlying problems which have a blighting influence on the redevelopment area, satisfy basic needs of the resident and business community, or take advantage of opportunities for economic advancement and aesthetic improvement.
The Redevelopment Plan outlines strategies in its Redevelopment Work Program for the following Focus Areas:
- Economic Development & Redevelopment
- Market Positioning
- Community Engagement / Cultural Enhancement
- Public Infrastructure Improvements & Public Spaces
- Planning for Redevelopment
The Westgate Community Farm is one of the most successful, long-term community-benefiting programs developed by the CRA that improves food access and exposes non-residents to the Westgate area. The CRA
District is characterized by a high percentage of low-income, mobility- challenged households, suffering from limited access to healthy and affordable food choices.
Established in 2015, the Farm sits on an acre of CRA-owned land in an area identified by the USDA as a ‘food desert’. The Farm managers believe that healthy farms lead to healthier communities and are dedicated to
using regenerative and organic farming practices. Farm produce is available for sale to the community at a nominal cost during seasonal weekly Greenmarkets.
The Farm participates in the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which allows qualified residents to pay with food stamps (EBT) during Greenmarket days. The Farm is one of six partner farmers markets in South Florida, and one of only two markets in Palm Beach County that participates in Feeding Florida’s Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) Program which doubles SNAP benefits to purchase Florida-grown produce.
With an in-house garden manager, farm hand, and part-time community resident apprentice, the Farm serves as a gathering and educational place, offering mentorship, workshops, field trips, community work days, and volunteering opportunities.