In Monday's print and digital editions we wrote about a valuable seminar unfolding today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center.
This is not your average seminar aimed at self-help, improvement, etc. It instead offers all of that plus combines the bigger picture -- namely, the future economic well-being of the Tri-State via the use of what are known as Opportunity Zones.
Sizable sectors of Boyd and Greenup counties have been designated new business investment Opportunity Zones by the federal government, meaning those who invest in, start up or expand business operations in the zones will be eligible for significant federal tax breaks. The opportunity zones include downtown Ashland, EastPark Industrial Center, Greenup and much of Greenup County's waterfront. The designations are less than a year old and hold the potential for significant enhancement of business and commerce.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury certified 144 Opportunity Zones in 84 Kentucky counties under a program in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The program aims to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. The designation offers significant federal tax breaks and deferrals to entities and individuals investing in Opportunity Funds, which support development projects within one or more zones. The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is overseeing the state’s program.
What's cool about all this is the fact that the Kentucky Opportunity Zone Initiative provides for a unique opportunity for regions that have not experienced the same economic development success as others. Hence, this could be a huge asset to Eastern Kentucky if the offer is utilized. There truly is the potential to secure major investments in these opportunity zones.
Today's forum is hosted by the Ashland Alliance. It will feature a session about Opportunity Zones and public-private partnerships (P3s), a networking lunch and an introduction to Angel Investing. The Tri-State Angel Investment Group is made up of local investors with a vision to bring jobs to the area and better the community.
This is an important opportunity for our business community and anyone looking to invest in these regions. If you are interested, we definitely encourage you to check it out. Job growth means better quality of life, and the Opportunity Zones, to us, seems like a great opportunity to further the region's job and business prospects.