4/24/2018 – Caldwell County tracts included in Gov. Cooper’s Opportunity Zone request

Posted on: April 26th, 2018 by admin


April 24, 2018


By Guy Lucas
(Lenoir) News-Topic


North Carolina has asked the federal government to include 252 census tracts, including four that cover a significant portion of Caldwell County, in a new program intended to spur business investment, Gov. Roy Cooper’s office announced.


The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1) created the Opportunity Zone program. It would provide a tax break for some business investments in areas chosen for the program, which is intended to target census tracts where the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater or where family income is less than 80 percent of the area’s median income.


The census tracts in Caldwell County recommended by the state are:


  • 301, 303 and 308, which together cover a large part of Lenoir, including all of downtown, and southeast Caldwell County. From the intersection of Main Street and U.S. 321 in the Valmead area, the western boundary of this area follows Creekway Drive to Morganton Boulevard and then follows Morganton Boulevard all the way to the Burke County line, and on the east the boundary follows U.S. 321 to McLean Drive, to Norwood Street and then to Connelly Springs Road, which it follows all the way to the county line.


  • 311, which takes in most of the area between N.C. 268 and Wilkesboro Boulevard (the Lower Creek area is part of census tract 305).


North Carolina evaluated more than 450 of the state’s more than 1,000 low-income census tracts before settling on the 252, based in part on local officials’ recommendations and local development goals.


The Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray recommended areas based on known investment projects under consideration and which areas had investment potential.


“We believe that this will help us further recruit and expand industry as well as encourage other supporting private investment, maybe even (new) housing, which is a high priority today,” Murray said. “We were quite diligent and insistent to recommend four census tracts that we believed had the greatest benefit as … (Opportunity Zones) based on current activity.”


Final certification from the federal government of areas chosen for the program is expected later this year, N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland said.


“We’re optimistic that the Opportunity Zones program will attract new investments for our most distressed rural and urban areas,” Copeland said in the press release. “These investments will lead to new jobs, development of more affordable housing, and other economic benefits.”


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