‘Opportunity zones’ bring hope for growth in Augusta area

Shaun H. Ruff

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – New businesses, new housing, and more people. That’s what city leaders want to see in Augusta’s “Opportunity zones.” The Laney Walker and Harrisburg neighborhoods are opportunity zones meaning they can try to attract new businesses by offering them a tax credit.

These zones main focus is bringing in new businesses, keeping old ones and ultimately growing so more ‘Sold’ signs start popping up across our area.

“We have a need for some of the older neighborhoods to have some new development and then some complementary development,” said Carla Delaney, Director of Augusta’s Planning and Development Authority.

Delaney says its change she’s been seeing before she worked for the city.

“I know what it used to look like 10 years ago and how there were no businesses in some of these buildings and now some of these buildings have undergone what’s it called an up lift a facelift,” she said.

It’s all about making the old look like new with renovations, while the new businesses, homes and apartments join them. When a building or business qualifies they get a tax break for five years and slowly have to pay them by 10 years.

“Create that new job, get a tax credit for it and get a tax break for it so they get an opportunity to not only actually breakeven but turn a profit before they have to experience the increase in property tax,” said Delaney.

But there is still a lot of work to be done especially in the Laney Walker area where almost half of the homes and buildings there are empty. If your property or business does qualify in one of these zones you have to make sure to enroll every year, the tax benefits do not roll over in Augusta.

Copyright 2021 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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