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City Administration

Posted on: January 21, 2022

City’s Development Services enhances CRA team

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The City of Lake Wales Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), part of Development Services promotes Darrell Starling, CRA Project Manager and Cheryl Baksh, CRA Specialist.

“Both Darrell and Cheryl have been a key element in the CRA’s success,” said Director of Development Services Mark J. Bennett. “Their promotions are well deserved, and they have potential for greater success in their new positions,” Bennett noted.

Starling now oversees the initiatives of the CRA, which includes: managing capital projects, designing budget strategies, and presenting annual reports. He is instrumental in the coordination of the city’s affordable housing program.

Baksh assists with the development of capital projects and tracks the economic impact of redevelopment activities. She oversees special projects and partners with the Lake Wales Main Street.

“Our efforts partnering with the Keystone Challenge Fund, Polk County Housing and Neighborhood Development and South State Bank, formerly CenterState Bank have resulted in four new-affordable homes for qualified low-to-moderate-income families,” said Starling.

The viable partnerships and development of new homes in the Northwest Neighborhood has been the perfect springboard to capture the interest from other developers. “I’m excited for us to expand more CRA projects to the Northwest Neighborhood,” said Starling.

Currently, two more housing projects are in the works. “Helping provide a resource to people is very rewarding,” said Baksh.     

Starling and Baksh also are working to revitalize the Lincoln Avenue Business District. They are hosting a CRA Business Development Series, which features seminars and workshops. “We want to connect current and future business owners with developers and banks,” said Starling.

Both Starling and Baksh are working towards becoming certified redevelopment professionals through the Florida Redevelopment Association’s Redevelopment Academy Program.

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