New London applies for new Opportunity Zone designation

New London — Mayor Michael Passero has nominated three city neighborhoods for inclusion in a new federal Opportunity Zone program, a designation that would provide tax incentives for private investments in low-income and underserved areas.

The program was created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur investment in low-income communities and provides federal tax incentives. Municipalities were able to nominate qualifying census tracts for the program — areas where the poverty rate is at least 20 percent of the median income that does not exceed 80 percent of the area median income.

New London is seeking designation of downtown, the Hodges Square and State Pier area and the Fort Trumbull area. The neighborhoods have poverty levels between 29 percent and 41 percent, and a median family income of less than 55 percent of the area average.

“New London is committed to spurring growth and development,” Passero said in a prepared statement.

“We have provided tax exemptions for downtown improvements, low-interest loans and grants for building façades and upgrades, and we actively compete and earn grants from both the federal and state governments to reclaim and redevelop brownfields,” he said. “We are on the right track to revitalize our city, but there is more we can do. This Opportunity Zone designation would allow us to attract more private developers, creating jobs and opportunities where we need them the most.”

The state was accepting application until March 16 and plans to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Treasury by April 20. 

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