INDIANAPOLIS –The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, in partnership with the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD), Purdue Extension Community Development and Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), announced the selection of a second round of pilot communities to be part of the Rural Opportunity Zone Initiative (ROZI), an effort that provides technical assistance and capacity-building support to rural areas.

“With today’s announcement, more rural communities will have the necessary materials to attract capital to their designated areas,” Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said. “With our state’s housing agency now involved in the initiative, we are addressing a critically important piece of economic development and talent attraction on an individual economic level.”

The purpose ROZI is to build the capacity of Opportunity Zones located 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 Indiana U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

“We are eager to work with these six stakeholder groups to build dynamic and resilient communities through a strategic process which will result in a community-driven prospectus,” Denny Spinner, Executive Director of OCRA, said. “Having another agency from the Lt. Governor’s Family of Business, IHCDA join the partnership will improve the quality of technical assistance for the second round of the initiative.”

For the second iteration of ROZI, six spots were made available for communities to apply to through a competitive process. The following communities were selected to participate:

  • City of Connersville
  • City of Delphi
  • City of Princeton
  • Putnam County
  • Rush County
  • Starke County

In 2018, Governor Eric Holcomb nominated 156 Indiana Opportunity Zones with the guidance of an advisory group, with statewide representation. OCRA completed an initial assessment of the selected zones and identified 46 sites as rural opportunity zones. Last year, the PCRD and OCRA completed the first round of the initiative, which included the following counties: Daviess, DeKalb, Knox, Newton and Switzerland.

“Selected communities will receive focused technical assistance resulting in the completion of an investment prospectus which may be marketed to attract private investment,” Julie Rigrish PCRD Regional Director said.

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/additional-resources/opportunity-zones/.

Information provided.

Contact Aaron Kirchoff at aaron.kirchoff@greensburgdailynews.com

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