JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) – The city of Jeffersonville is raking in new grant money for different projects around town, and the Mayor Mike Moore said it will translate to new business in the near future.

The city submitted an application to be designated as an "opportunity zone," and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb recently selected a section of downtown Jeffersonville for the federal program out of more than 600 eligible census tracts.

The goal, according to the governor’s office, is to revitalize low-income communities by providing tax incentives for businesses in designated opportunity zones. The program was created in 2017 and provides federal capital gains tax incentives to attract private investment in rural areas to create jobs.

“If you were an investor, and last year you made a million dollar profit, instead of having to pay the taxes on that, you can now reinvest that in opportunity zones," Moore said. "Those tax dollars are going back to work for the people of Jeffersonville.”

Moore said the determination of “low-income” or “rural” was based on the 2010 census. He said Jeffersonville has been experiencing an economic upswing for the last six years, so this will help add to the momentum.

“Now, with this designation of a opportunity zone, we went from a really good investment to a great investment,” Moore said.

Moore said one example of the opportunity zone already at work is with the Gateway Development. The 10-acre parcel of property off I-65 at the intersection of 10th and Spring Streets has been empty for years. Moore said with it being part of an opportunity zone now, the developer has added incentive to make moves on a big development.

“The plans are for a few new restaurants,” Moore  said about the property. “Some retail, maybe some office space and one, possibly two, hotels.”

Moore said the improvements to the roads on the property could start within the next 30 days. and the developer could break ground later this year.

Here is a map of the new opportunity zone:

Jeffersonville was also recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. For any sites that are potentially contaminated, the grant helps cover the costs of testing or cleanup. Moore said that lifts a big burden from potential investors and “is a way to get some momentum” behind projects.

Moore said, as an example, this EPA grant could help with cleanup projects for the Jeffboat property down the road.

“When we get these kinds of grants, it just gives us more ammunition to fire away and make something happen,” he said.

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