CAEDA requests $10,000 from City Council for ‘Opportunity Zone’ funding

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The Casper Area Economic Development Alliance requested $10,000 from the City Council during Council’s Tuesday, March 12 work session.

CAEDA is also seeking $10,000 from both Natrona County and the Town of Mills to hire a contractor to do work related to economic “Opportunity Zones,” according to CAEDA Vice President of Business Development Medical and Finance Sabrina Foreman.

Foreman told the Council the Economic Joint Powers Board has already committed $20,000. She spoke only briefly during the work session, but CAEDA’s website explains the “Opportunity Zone” concept.

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“An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed designated census tract in which certain types of investments, made through Opportunity Funds, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment,” the website explains

“The U.S. Treasury completed the certification of Opportunity Zone designations on June 14, 2018, at which time the four tracts recommended to the Treasury by Gov. Mead were accepted and confirmed.” 

The website lists the four zones that received approval in Casper.

“The zones in Casper that were approved include the census tract south of Hwy 20/26 to west of Poplar St. to north of W. Yellowstone Hwy and Poison Spider Rd. and east of Robertson Rd,” the website reads. “The second tract is south of Yellowstone Hwy and Poison Spider Rd to east of Robertson Rd to north of the North Platte River.”

“The third zone touches the North Platte River on its north side, to the west of Poplar St, to north of CY Ave and east of SW Wyoming Blvd. The fourth zone is the easternmost zone which includes Casper’s downtown area from east of Poplar St to south of the North Platte River to west of S Beverly St. and north of E Yellowstone Hwy and Collins Dr.”

Some Council members expressed their support for CAEDA’s efforts.

“I’m supportive of this,” Councilman Ray Pacheco said during the work session. “It’s a good investment and a good opportunity.”

“Opportunity zones are an option to bring in new business,” Councilman Chris Walsh said. “I’m all for it.”

City Manager Carter Napier said that Council would need to pass a budget amendment in order to allocate the $10,000. That budget amendment could take place during the March 26 work session.