The City of Hinton is full of opportunity and potential. The view is akin to a scene from a postcard. The majestic mountains, the glistening rivers and the winding roads. The city itself is a picturesque small town. It is full of locally owned businesses and everyone knows each other. Locals, however, are not the only ones who know that opportunities are hiding around every corner. Hinton is a federal Opportunity Zone.
A Qualified Opportunity Zone, according to the IRS, is an area designated as an “economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.” In a nutshell, the purpose of an Opportunity Zone is to attract private investors to the area by offering tax incentives.
According to West Virginia Economic Development, the Governor identified multiple Opportunity Zones in 2018. The same report states that the Governor determined up to 25 percent “of the total number of eligible areas to be designated as Opportunity Zones.” The method of choosing eligible areas in each state relied on data from low-income census tracts.
Once an area has been designated as a Qualified Opportunity Zone, the next step is to find interested investors. Opportunity Appalachia is one organization that is striving to bring investors to these areas. According to the organization’s website, they are currently working on 16 projects throughout Central Appalachia. This area includes West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio.
The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority recently posted on their social media, “We’re proud to work with the WV Community Development Hub as the co-state lead for this project in West Virginia.” This statement was in regard to Opportunity Appalachia. Because the New River Gorge Spans into Summers County, this has the potential to include the area.
Hinton is only one of several Opportunity Zones in the state. There are also zones in Monroe and Greenbrier Counties as well as others. There is a map available of all designated zones on the West Virginia Development Office website. The map can be accessed through WestVirginia.gov/opportunity-zones. This site also offers sample letters of interest for fund managers and investors. Any potential investor may submit a letter of interest. These letters are to be sent to Patricia White at Patricia.J.White@wv.gov.
For more information on Opportunity Zones in West Virginia, visit WestVirginia.gov/opportunity-zones. To get more information on possible opportunities in Hinton, reach out to City Hall at 304-466-3255