Rural Opportunity Zone Initiative now open for second round

INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 24, 2020) – The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, in partnership with the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD), announced today a second round of the Rural Opportunity Zone Initiative, which provides technical assistance and capacity-building support to rural areas with Opportunity Zones.

“The goal with this initiative is to equip the leadership in rural opportunity zones with necessary materials to attract capital to their designated areas,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “By maximizing their potential, these sites will be positioned to be competitive with opportunity zones from urban areas.”

In 2018, Gov. Eric Holcomb nominated 156 Indiana Opportunity Zones with the help of an advisory group from around the state. The Office of Community and Rural Affairs completed an initial assessment of the zones and determined 46 sites are rural opportunity zones. Last year, OCRA completed the first round of the Initiative which included the following counties: Crawford, Daviess, DeKalb, Knox, Newton and Switzerland.

“Up to six spots are available for communities to apply through a competitive process. Only rural opportunity zones locations are eligible to apply,” said Matt Crouch, Interim Executive Director of OCRA.”Once communities complete this process, their leadership walks away with resources and a complete prospectus to better them attract investment.”

The purpose of this initiative is to build the capacity of Opportunity Zones in rural Indiana to attract private, public and/or philanthropic sector investments that support locally driven priorities. This program is funded by a Rural Business Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Indiana.

“The PCRD team is pleased to join forces with OCRA on the second round of the Rural Opportunity Zones Initiative. This partnership ensures that communities taking part in this important effort will have an array of key resources available to guide and support their local Opportunity Zone planning efforts,” said Dr. Bo Beaulieu, Professor of Rural and Regional Development with Purdue University.

Selected communities will receive technical support resulting in the completion of a prospectus to attract investment. Additional support may include:

  • Guidance in establishing a task force;
  • Proprietary data products that profile types of properties in the area;
  • Assessment of key economic drivers;
  • Profile of existing businesses and companies in the zone and surrounding areas;
  • Transportation infrastructure and connectivity;
  • Discovering the area’s community/economic development assets;
  • Suitability analysis; and
  • Mapping of broadband services in the zone; and more.

The goal of the Opportunity Zone initiative is to encourage long-term private capital investment in low-income urban and rural communities. The program offers long-term federal tax deferral on capital gains for investments in designated zones, with additional tax exclusion from new capital gains achieved from those investments. For more information visit, in.gov/ocra/2725.htm

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