Hopedale targeted as Opportunity Zone

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Harrison County Economic Director Nick Homrighausen (standing) appeared with County Commissioner, Dale Norris (not pictured) before Hopedale’s village council meeting on Wednesday evening. The news was that Hopedale was one out of over 300 tracts in Ohio nominated by Gov. John Kasich as an Opportunity Zone. The final decision is in the hands of the federal government.

By JD LONG

jim@harrisonnewsherald.com

HOPEDALE – The Hopedale village council received a visit from two Harrison County representatives Wednesday evening during their monthly meeting. Commissioner Dale Norris and Director of Economic Development Nick Homrighausen presented Hopedale with some potentially good news if the federal cards fall in their favor.

Homrighausen stated that after submitting all county zones to the state for recommendation to the federal government as economic opportunity zones, Hopedale was the only community within the county the governor of Ohio passed on to Washington for approval, according to Homrighausen. He explained that the Zone is part of a tax bill recently passed back in December.

“The recent federal tax reform package established the framework for the Opportunity Zone’s program with the goal of…private investment in communities that haven’t fully recovered from the…recession.”

Nick Homrighausen

He further explained that back in March the state released over 300 areas of Opportunity Zones.

“In these zones investors will be able to delay or avoid paying capital gains tax,” Homrighausen explained. “So, we’re talking major investment of plants [and] manufacturing.”

“Opportunity Zones will make it easier to close funding gaps for projects already on the drawing board,” he continued. He said it was also designed to “deepen the pool” for new ventures and startups, real estate development and manufacturing. He said that out of the more than 300 zones chosen were an eligible 1,300 in Ohio total.

Homrighausen stated that the criteria used were poverty rates and median household incomes with only 25 percent of the qualified tracts being nominated. 

“So it was very competitive,” Homrighausen told council. In general terms he talked of a foreign company that may now be enticed to invest in the Hopedale area instead of the more popular, or known areas of the country because of the income tax diversion.

“Investors who maintain their opportunity fund investments for five to seven years will be able to avoid paying taxes on a portion of those original gains,” he said. He also said that companies who last at least 10 years would be exempt from paying taxes on “any new gains from their Opportunity Zone investments.”

Homrighausen stated that it was just another tool in the toolbox for his local economic development efforts, and said the final approval is now in the hands of the federal government.

In other issues addressed, council member Ron Hawkins revealed some figures for their Ohio 151 paving projects which include: $1,200 for four catch basins; $1,226 for perforated pipe; $339 for solid pipe; $3,000 to $5,000 for curb estimation; stone at $2,000 with a total cost of $8,765.

Mayor Mike Pelegreen told council that emergency sirens donated to them last year from MarkWest just need a little tweaking from the company who is doing the electrical computer work on them.

Also, Pelegreen announced two were hired for summer village work, where they would begin in a staggered fashion upon hiring. Pelegreen stated the park would open May 1.

Also, clean up day is scheduled for May 5 at the Social Hall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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