PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) Update: 5/1/2019
Parkersburg and Wood County business leaders are promoting the benefits of the city's two Opportunity Zones.
They are highlighted in a marketing prospectus, the first of its kind in West Virginia.
The zones, awarded to Parkersburg in 2018, include tax incentives for businesses wanting to locate in the designated zones.
And the designations have brought some interest by firms interested in locating in the local area.
"We've had one call already from someone looking for somewhere with different colleges within a certain range. We have WVU-P, OVU, Marietta College, OU was within their driving distance," said Lindsey Piersol, Wood County Development Director.
"The groundwork was laid that we need to get busy and get ahead of this, and get information out there; not just to local developers and investors, but nationally," said Wendy Shriver, executive director of Downtown PKB.
The zones include the downtown business district and the area going east along Seventh Street to West Virginia route 47.
Parkersburg was among the first location in West Virginia to be awarded Opportunity Zones.
The tax cuts approved by Congress in late 2017 mean an opportunity for Parkersburg and Wood County.
The city and county development agencies now have "opportunity zones" on two major commercial areas of Parkersburg.
That means tax incentives for investment in business and real estate to redevelop parts of the city, including the downtown business district.
"I think the opportunity zone program is a great way to attract private investment that would not otherwise be looking for communities that are economically distressed," explained Development Director Rickie Yeager. "So I think it's a great effort by the Administration to help encourage investment in more rural areas or in urban areas that are struggling for one reason or another."
Also included in the program are Seventh Street and Murdoch Avenue and the city's industrial district.
Parkersburg is one of 55 opportunity zone sites throughout West Virginia.