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Shotwell Street designated as Enterprise Zone

A portion of Shotwell Street was nominated as an Enterprise Zone during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The nominated area on Shotwell Street suffers from general distress and adverse conditions. According to reports, the economic conditions of the past 10 years have driven businesses from the central business district, making a considerable portion of the buildings in the area vacant, underutilized or dilapidated.

Naming the nominated area as an Enterprise Zone will enable City Council to offer certain incentives for businesses to move to that area. It also allows for the creation of jobs in that zone. The nominated area also extends into a residential subdivision; City Council is hoping that by naming this residential area as part of the Enterprise Zone will encourage someone to invest in the neighborhood.

“It allows us to offer a waiver of fees and limited tax incentives,” City Manager Chris Hobby said. “It also allows us to apply for a State Opportunity Zone.”

Hobby said this will give the City tools it currently doesn’t have to encourage people to move there.

Hobby said the nominated area meets all of the criteria and if not properly invested in, the blighted conditions will pose an on-going threat of further disinvestment, perpetuating a diminished tax base.

“The nominated area has shown a lack of building permits issued since tracking of building permits locations has been implemented,” reports said. “the nominated area, despite its fairly large area, has produced only five building permits in the past six months as compared to 323 citywide.”

Due to these findings, the nominated area will now be known as the “Shotwell Street Enterprise Zone Development Area.”

Hobby hopes this new zone will make folks consider taking a building that already exists in the area and make it vibrant again, all while creating jobs.

“The whole thing is designed to help people who are not employed get employed,” he said. “If you’re willing to invest and commit to job creation, we can wave fees.”

Hobby said the application for the Enterprise Zone should be on the City’s website next week.

He assures everyone the application will be straightforward and very simple.

“It’s a one-page application open to anyone who wants to invest their business there,” he ended.