Answer

Opportunity Zones are a new tool for developers to attract investors in certain areas on the City's northside. This tax credit encourages investors to invest in local property improvements versus having it sit in the stock market. The City and existing property owners don't have many tools to incentivize. Opportunity Zones adds another one to the box.

While at the Chamber, I held an educational session on Opportunity Zones on a trip to Madison. The session gave us best practices on how to successfully ensure we continue Opportunity Zones as a development tool, and began conversations with some local developers on shifting their investments to opportunities, particularly on further developing the Chamber building, which sits in an OZ.

The City needs to continue to educate potential investors, particularly locally, on the benefits of using opportunity zones versus typical investments. It’s a chance to change the community in which they live.

I do anticipate Opportunity Zones will be used to redevelop the tired housing we have in the student area of La Crosse. RiverPoint District holds tremendous potential for leveraging Opportunity Zones to once and for all get this development moving. 

The biggest barrier is understanding by investors on changing from investing in the stock market to investing in our local community. The City can assist with this education. It can also work with the La Crosse Area Development Corporation (LADCO) to actively promote our properties to outside investors, who are more prone to using opportunity zones.