In the meantime, what are local governments and municipalities doing to prepare for an acceleration of Opportunity Zone investments?
Under its guidance, 30 cities to date have drafted Investment Prospectuses, clearly outlining their preparations for OZ impact.
“We are helping cities highlight assets, partnerships and investible projects and businesses that will directly help the communities and families to whom the legislation was targeted,” says Aaron Thomas, Accelerator for America’s Director of Economic Development and Opportunity Zones.
Getty By having cities draw up Investment Prospectuses, Thomas explains, “We’re saying, ‘If you’re going to put capital into these communities, here are the communities that are ready, and these are the things the community actually wants to do.'
During the first quarter of 2019, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and his administration created an OZ Task Force that just held its first of many-planned regional summits to “align Opportunity Zone goals with state and local economic and cultural priorities,” According to a statement by Lt. Gov.
Boyd K. Rutherford.
Workforce development grants and technology investments are being put into place, and millions of dollars have been allocated by the State of Maryland to support various aspects of OZ revitalization, from affordable housing construction to demolition funding of dilapidated structures.
All of these examples should give communities and residents reason to be hopeful that good change is coming: that jobs will be created and that necessary investments will materialize.
And yet, some cities still aren’t on board with Opportunity Zones.
Says Aaron Thomas of Accelerator for America, “The potential downsides are precisely why it’s important that the people and organizations already living and working within Opportunity Zones lead the way in improving these communities.” When private capital and communities work closely together, the best outcomes are the likely result.