History of the El Cajon Redevelopment Agency
Since 1948, every California city and county has had the authority to establish a redevelopment program. Both the State of California and its residents recognized that municipalities were beginning to experience financial and social impacts from deteriorating urban areas, and felt that these problems could be addressed at the local level. The first redevelopment projects were affordable housing for military personnel returning from World War II. As the benefits of local agency control over the removal of blight became apparent, redevelopment as a tool for commercial and industrial development was instituted.
Redevelopment Initiated in El Cajon
In 1971, the City Council established the El Cajon Redevelopment Agency, and appointed the City Council the governing body of the Agency. During that year, the City Council also adopted the Central Business District Redevelopment Project Area to stimulate redevelopment efforts in Downtown El Cajon. The 50-acre redevelopment project generally included those properties adjacent to the existing Civic Center complex. The Agency’s first redevelopment venture involved a joint partnership with the County of San Diego and Grossmont Community College District to develop City Hall, the East County Regional Center, and the East County Performing Arts Center. It was the Agency’s hope that this public investment would stimulate corresponding private redevelopment activity in the downtown; the Redevelopment Agency’s effort, however, did not prove to be enough.
The 1987 Amendment
In 1986, the Agency commissioned a review of the Central Business District Redevelopment Project Area to identify methods in which the Agency could further stimulate private redevelopment activities. This review concluded that the existing 50-acre project area was too small in size, and that the revenue generated could not support a wider redevelopment effort. Further, this review identified other areas and needs in the community that could be addressed through redevelopment. In 1987, the Agency adopted the El Cajon Redevelopment Project Area that encompasses 1,548 acres of commercial, industrial, and residential properties. Since adopting the 1987 amendment, the Agency has actively pursued new redevelopment projects in conjunction with the private sector. These projects are funded through tax increment financing.
Dissolution of all Redevelopment Agencies
The El Cajon Redevelopment Agency (RDA) was dissolved as of February 1, 2012. While the Agency no longer exists, the Successor Agency (City of El Cajon) has assumed responsibility for administering enforceable obligations of the RDA, completing existing projects, and ultimately to wind down RDA operations over time.