DeKalb One of The First Six Opportunity Zones
Article by Dave Kurtz | KPC News | August 17, 2019
A number of factors helped DeKalb County qualify as one of the state’s first six Rural Opportunity Zones, a local official said.
The selection of DeKalb County was announced this week by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
The designation aims to encourage business investment in the six selected counties, which were chosen from 46 potential sites.
DeKalb County’s site is a combination of two opportunity zones that take in portions of Auburn and Garrett. Many competing counties had only one zone, said Anton King, executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership.
The county’s combined zones take in:
• Auburn’s downtown and west-side commercial corridor;
• Garrett’s industrial park;
• the eastern half of Garrett’s downtown;
• rural land between Auburn and Garrett that has growth potential;
• and the north side of CR 11-A near exit 326 of Interstate 69.
King said it also may have helped that DeKalb County has formed a diverse task force for its opportunity zone. It includes mayors, planners and representatives of nonprofit agencis, schools, health care, business and financial institutions. Its 14 members include King.
“It’s a way to incentivize additional projects in our county,” King said about the opportunity zone project.
“From an investor standpoint, they could get involved in a variety of projects as they see fit,” he said. The opportunity zone designation allows investors the tax incentive to defer capital gains for up to 10 years.
For the community, King said, the opportunity zone designation helps create a prospectus of projects that are available in the opportunity zone.
Technical assistance to the county will be provided by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, in partnership with the Purdue Center for Regional Development/Extension Community Development.
The other selected counties are Crawford, Daviess, DeKalb, Knox, Newton and Switzerland.
Each site may receive support to include:
• guidance in establishing a task force;
• proprietary data products that profile types of properties in the area;
• assessment of key economic drivers;
• profiles 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;
• mapping of broadband services in the zone; and more.