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Parts of Mason City, North Iowa nominated for 'opportunity zone'

Incentive is designed to encourage long-term, private investments in low-income areas by providing a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into funds that would be invested into these areas

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 9:43 PM
Updated: Jul 20, 2018 2:57 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - The State of Iowa is identifying 62 low-income areas that show potential for growth, and encouraging long-term investments to allow them to thrive. And one area of Mason City, as well as a portion of Worth County and part of Charles City are on that list.

It's part of a program called "Opportunity Zones", which was created through The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. According to Iowa Economic Development, the program is encouraging investors to invest in "long-term, private investments in low-income census tracts by providing a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds," which would then be invested in the zones.

The City of Mason City applied and found four Low-Income Community Census Tracts (LIC) that fit the program's requirements, which must have a poverty rate of 20% or greater and/or family income less than 80% of the area's median income in order to be eligible for consideration. However, due to the maximum limit that could be nominated, one area of Mason City was declared by the state for a zone, with boundaries consisting of roughly from 4th Street NW to the city's southern limit at 230th Street, and from Federal Avenue west to about Monroe Avenue.

Included in this area is the Southport Plaza. It was once a thriving part of Mason City, but now all that remains is the Driver's License Center and Tobacco Outlet.

Scot Kruckenberg's insurance agency is about a block south of Southport on Federal Avenue.

"In the last 30, 35, 40 years since I've been in Mason City, we've been on a little bit of a decline, both population wise, and it even seems that the job market has declined somewhat in this area."

He's utilized a program the City provided to businesses to revitalize the inside and outside of their buildings. With the creation of Opportunity Zones, it's something Kruckenberg is happy to hear.

"I think it's good to improve or to extend these type of zones, because the program that I was in on and that I applied for was simply the corridors, the busy ones that come in and out of Mason City."

During a Thursday morning phone call with the media, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst also commented on the program.

"We just think it'll be so much better, not only for the property tax base, but for employability opportunities or so many things that will come of these Opportunity Zones."

As for Kruckenberg, he hopes the program will lead to a more thriving economic area, like it once was.

"There's a larger chunk of Mason City that could use both private and state investment to greatly improve it, and to extend it the way they have is a benefit to all of us."

According to Mason City Director of Development Services Steven Van Steenhuyse, the IRS and other agencies are forming the rules. for the program, which started on a national scale by Economic Innovation Group.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 612001

Reported Deaths: 7756
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1269201801
Ramsey53281911
Dakota47414477
Anoka43426465
Washington27780296
Stearns22738227
St. Louis18329319
Scott17747139
Wright16603153
Olmsted13567103
Sherburne1217096
Carver1078349
Clay830492
Rice8283112
Blue Earth772444
Crow Wing691299
Kandiyohi672285
Chisago629355
Otter Tail591987
Benton587798
Goodhue487274
Douglas480381
Mower478634
Winona465452
Itasca463768
Isanti447267
McLeod435861
Morrison429262
Beltrami411563
Nobles410950
Steele401619
Polk391272
Becker389957
Lyon366154
Carlton357158
Freeborn353134
Pine338123
Nicollet335045
Mille Lacs315756
Brown309140
Le Sueur301028
Todd289233
Cass288933
Meeker267344
Waseca241723
Martin237433
Roseau212721
Wabasha20873
Hubbard198741
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Renville184246
Redwood178741
Houston176016
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Wadena165223
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Pennington154120
Kanabec148028
Sibley147410
Aitkin140037
Watonwan13629
Rock129719
Jackson123112
Pipestone117226
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Pope11416
Swift107718
Murray107610
Koochiching96819
Stevens92611
Clearwater89517
Marshall89017
Lake85020
Wilkin84213
Lac qui Parle76222
Big Stone6114
Grant5958
Lincoln5863
Mahnomen5669
Norman5509
Kittson49222
Unassigned48393
Red Lake4037
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Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
Buchanan197834
Page195722
Cedar194323
Hardin192544
Wright191240
Hamilton189251
Fayette188943
Harrison182873
Clayton173258
Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
Winnebago147031
Calhoun144813
Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
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Sac133320
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Louisa130749
Union129535
Franklin129223
Appanoose128749
Mitchell127343
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Humboldt126026
Guthrie125332
Palo Alto115224
Montgomery106938
Howard105522
Clarke102624
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Keokuk100432
Ida93735
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Greene80011
Osceola79517
Lucas78323
Worth7648
Taylor67112
Decatur6649
Fremont64910
Van Buren57318
Ringgold57124
Wayne56623
Audubon53613
Adams3504
Unassigned80
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