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Purdue Center for
Regional Development

PCRD/OCRA Launch Rural Opportunities Zone Initiative in Indiana

Posted by Bo Beaulieu on August 21, 2019, in PCRD.

The Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD), in collaboration with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, has selected six Indiana sites to be part of a new program titled the Rural Opportunity Zones Initiative (ROZI). These six counties will receive technical assistance and capacity-building support for the purpose of developing and implementing a sound investment prospectus. This program is supported by a grant recently awarded to PCRD by USDA Rural Development.

"The goal with this initiative is to equip the leadership in rural opportunity zones with necessary materials to attract capital to their designated areas,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. "By maximizing their potential, these sites will be positioned to be competitive with opportunity zones from around the nation."

The purpose of this initiative is to build the capacity of Opportunity Zones in rural Indiana to attract private, public and/or philanthropic sector investments that support locally-driven priorities. This program is supported by a grant for the Indiana U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development recently awarded to PCRD.

The selected county sites are as follows:

  • Crawford
  • Daviess
  • DeKalb
  • Knox
  • Newton
  • Switzerland

Last year, Governor Eric Holcomb nominated 156 Indiana Opportunity Zones with the help of an advisory group from around the State. The Office of Community and Rural Affairs completed an initial assessment of the zones and identified 46 sites as eligible rural opportunity zones.

“We are excited to work in partnership with the Office of Community and Rural Affairs in helping local Opportunity Zone sites pursue plans that place them on a path of economic progress,” noted Bo Beaulieu, Director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development. “Our hope is that these communities will become the model of how to bring about positive changes in areas that have experienced economic distress over the past decade.”

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
  • Profile 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

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, www.in.gov/ocra/2725.htm or contact Bo Beaulieu, PCRD Director at ljb@purdue.edu or 765-494-7273.