Welcome to the Land of OZ, Opportunity Zones that is! Announcing our MSU Regional Economic Innovation Co-Learning Plan Award

Recently through Project Rising Tide, Mary worked with the City of Adrian to apply for Michigan State University’s US Economic Development Administration Center for Regional Economic Innovation funding for a Co-Learning Plan award designed to generate new knowledge in a collaborative way focused on Opportunity Funds and Zones. We are proud to announce this was awarded in January of 2019! Now, we undertake the challenge of supporting economic activity in some of the most economically stressed areas…

A recent federal program offers help: Opportunity Zones. Through tax incentives more capital is made available for businesses willing to make the move to a low-income census tract as established by Congress in the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act. This innovative bi-partisan effort harnesses the investment returns of recovery to lift the very people and places the economy has largely left behind in the wake of the Great Recession. Within the City of Adrian, almost everything south of Beecher, west and south to US223, and to the rail line has been designated as an Opportunity Zone by Governor Rick Snyder in 2018.

Over the course of 2019, Mary will be working with the City and MSU as well as over 25 national, state and local partners ranging from government to investors to community development agencies and financial institutions to identify best practices and potential match investment for Adrian’s Zone. Our first action? To set up the Fund! Challenges will include: attracting and retaining global and local investors, directing social impacts and local governance. From this work, Mary and the City of Adrian will develop a toolkit of best practices for similar small and rural municipalities.

It is predicted that one directly induced job may be created from this effort beginning in 2020. However, the long term impacts and job creation developed through this Co-Learning process and following implementation is likely to benefit the City of Adrian with 100s of jobs and potentially 1000s, nationally, over the course of the next decade. This information will be presented at the National Coalition for Community Capital Conference and the Innovate Michigan! Summit in the summer months.