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Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday designated 25 areas in North Dakota, including several in Burleigh and Morton counties, as Opportunity Zones as part of a federal community development incentive program.

Opportunity Zones were established by Congress’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They give tax incentives for investors, should they choose, to pool money in Opportunity Funds to invest in projects in the designated areas.

Governors were allowed to choose zones in their state. The 25 census tracts designated by Burgum as Opportunity Zones include rural, tribal and metropolitan populations in Barnes, Benson, Burleigh, Cass, Dickey, Emmons, Grand Forks, McKenzie, Morton, Rolette, Sioux, Stutsman, Walsh, Ward and Wells counties.

In Morton County, the application was for 800 square miles in western Morton County and includes the communities of New Salem, Glen Ullin, Almont and Hebron. In Burleigh County, the areas chosen were the area bordered by Washington Street to the west, Ninth Street to the east, Boulevard Avenue to the north and Main Avenue to the south; an area bordered by Ninth Street to the west, 26th Street to the east, Boulevard Avenue to the north and Main Avenue to the south; and an area bordered by Ninth Street and 26th street to the west and east and south of Main Street to University Drive.

A team, including the Governor’s Office, Department of Commerce, Bank of North Dakota, Housing Finance Agency and Indian Affairs Commission, reviewed 59 applications submitted. The U.S. Treasury Department will finalize approval of the designated census tracts and administer the Opportunity Zone Program.

Opportunity Zones are defined as low-income census tracts where the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater or family income is less than 80 percent of the area’s median income.

“Driving private capital to areas where we need it is important,” Burgum said.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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