Opportunity Zone trainings for local community leaders offered by MSU Extension

Opportunity Zones are being billed as a potential major community investment vehicle, and these trainings explain the fundamentals for local governments.

A new tax incentive launched in 2017 looks to boost investment into low-income communities throughout Michigan that traditionally lack access to capital funds. These Opportunity Zones are designated census tracts experiencing economic distress and now private investors can avoid capital gains taxes by using funds as equity in these areas. There is an estimated $6 trillion in unrealized capital gains nationwide, and the hope is this program spurs investors, developers and community leaders to come together and invest in long-neglected communities.

There are roughly 8,700 Opportunity Zones in the U.S., and almost every county in Michigan has an Opportunity Zone, as determined by the state government. (To see a map of the designated census tracts, visit www.michigan.gov/opportunityzones). The program was enacted as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

To help local leaders prepare for potential Opportunity Zone investments, Michigan State University Extension is partnering with the National Charrette Institute at Michigan State University to offer a statewide training series titled “Opportunity Zones (OZ) – There’s no place like home!”

These half-day workshops geared toward the responsibilities facing local legislators will take place in April and May and are free thanks to a partnership with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Five in-person trainings will be held throughout the state in April and May with a two-hour online training offered in June.

After attending these training, community leaders will be able be able to explain the fundamentals of Opportunity Zones, how they were selected, understand what the potential community impacts are, and market OZs in their communities appropriately.

Appropriate for any size community, the workshop is ideal for elected officials, appointed officials, staff, and business representatives from communities with Opportunity Zones. To register, visit http://events.anr.msu.edu/OZ/

Dates and Locations

April 12; Lapeer - Lapeer County ISD, Room 146,690 N. Lake Pleasant Road, Attica, MI 48412

April 22; Fremont - Fremont Public Library Community Room - 104 E. Main Street, Fremont, MI 49412

May 8; Escanaba - Bay College, MTEC 2031 - 2000 N 30th Street, Escanaba, MI 49829

May 13; Grayling - Kirtland Community College, Community Room A & B - 4800 W. 4 Mile Road, Grayling, MI 49738

May 13; Mt. Pleasant - Mid-Michigan Community College, Room 186 - 2600 S Summerton Road, Mount Pleasant, MI 48858

June 12; Online Webinar (2-4pm) - Webinar link will be sent out in advance of the June 12 program.

All in-person trainings will be from 1 - 4 p.m.

Questions about this training series can be sent to Eric Walcott at 517-353-9106 or walcott3@msu.edu.


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