Multiple organizations collaborate to obtain “Opportunity Zone” designation for Sullivan County

State of Missouri with Flag Background

Governor Eric Greitens and Senator Roy Blunt announced the locations of 161 “Opportunity Zones” in Missouri—low-income areas that will see added incentives for investment. The locations of the Opportunity Zones were determined by the state and made possible by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Two census tracts in Sullivan County were selected, comprising over half the County, and includes the area of the East Locust Creek Reservoir.

Chris May, Presiding Commissioner for Sullivan County, stated; “Commissioners Busick and Hepler and I worked closely with the Water Commission to develop the application that could have far-reaching impact on job creation, and we are pleased to have this as a tool as we all work to deliver as much of our state and federal dollars back to Sullivan County.”

Created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Opportunity Zones program provides investors with a Treasury-certified capital-gains tax deferral, based on their investment in the designated areas. The program seeks to revitalize and create jobs in areas that otherwise may not be considered by investors. The new capital gains deferral should act as another incentive for those who might be considering investing in the lake area.

Under the law, each state could nominate up to 25 percent of census tracks that met the eligibility requirements for the program, to be designated by the Secretary of the Treasury. In Missouri, the state could nominate up to 161 census tracks to be designated as Opportunity Zones.

Chairman Rick Gardner stated; “The East Locust Creek Reservoir is unique in so many ways and being entirely inside an opportunity zone will make it more attractive for investors and our region. While providing affordable, high-quality water is our primary mission, we’ve worked hard to make the reservoir an economic engine for the entire region.”

While the County Commissioners were aware of the opportunity, they worked closely with the Water Commission and their engineers, Allstate Consultants, to fill out the application that required information that Allstate Consultants had as a result of their partnership with the Green Hills Regional Planning Commission to support “The Regional Economic Blueprint”. The “Blueprint” is an effort to anticipate economic development opportunities as a result of the reservoir.

“At Green Hills Regional Planning Commission, we believe a long-term plentiful potable water supply is key to growing our existing businesses, recruiting new industry, and promoting small business,” said Executive Director Randy Railsback. “We were honored to partner with the Department of Economic Development on the “Blueprint,” a rural pilot to research and determine pathways for new jobs in our region and look forward to evaluating how Opportunity Zones will grow our rural region.