Colorado Springs recognized for efforts to catalyze investment in Opportunity Zones
City named in Colorado’s national honor by Forbes OZ 20
Colorado Springs is one of three Colorado communities that has helped earn the state national recognition as one of the Forbes top 10 communities and 10 funds committed to achieving equitable economic growth in underserved and overlooked communities in Opportunity Zones. The Forbes OZ 20: Top Opportunity Zone Catalysts also recognized Montrose and Pagosa Springs as catalysts to Colorado’s national honor.
“Because of the noteworthy work in our region to revitalize some of our more underserved communities, once again Colorado Springs is getting some welcome attention. Our community is honored to receive this recognition under the state of Colorado for the impactful work of our many partners that has taken place to create awareness and to encourage the private sector in maximizing investment within each Opportunity Zone to catalyze projects that fulfill community goals including job creation, economic and fiscal growth,” said Mayor John Suthers. “These efforts have helped leverage public and private investment to gain the most benefit from these zone designations.”
Eight federal Opportunity Zones were put in place in the Pikes Peak region in 2018 which were made possible through the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. With the intent to promote private investment in low income communities, Opportunity Zones offer federal tax incentives for investment in designated geographic areas through deferral, reduction, and elimination of capital gains taxes.
To encourage investment in Opportunity Zones, the Colorado Springs region has designated “Opportunity Zone Captains” who represent each of the eight zones and have a fast-track program for expedited permits for qualifying projects. Over the last two years, regional partners have helped educate community members, investors, and business owners on Opportunity Zones and leverage existing programs and incentives to spur additional investment in OZs. An estimated $75 million in Opportunity Zone funding for Opportunity Zone is being raised for projects in the region.
“It’s an exciting time to work on Colorado Springs economic development projects, as we continue attracting new investment into our region. The recognition from Forbes confirms that our collaborative community efforts in education and marketing Opportunity Zones have been effective,” said Dirk Draper, president and CEO of the Chamber & EDC. “We’re proud to be honored alongside Montrose and Pagosa Springs.”
Fifty-one communities and 62 funds submitted applications to Forbes OZ 20 to put their Opportunity Zone strategies through a rigorous selection process. Because of the collaborative work at all levels, from elected officials, regional partners and organizations, investors and many others, recognition and visible changes are taking place in the 126 Opportunity Zones across the state of Colorado.
Key Opportunity Zone collaborators in the Pikes Peak region include El Paso County, the City of Fountain, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership, the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), local economic development partners, organizations, stakeholders, and interested individuals.
For more information about Opportunity Zones and the eight zones for the Pikes Peak region visit www.ColoradoSpringsOpportunityZones.com.