It’s official. Sunrise Beach will be one of 161 “opportunity zones” in Missouri, providing areas of the village and unincorporated areas in its census tract with additional incentives for investment in the community.

It’s official. Sunrise Beach will be one of 161 “opportunity zones” in Missouri, providing areas of the village and unincorporated areas in its census tract with additional incentives for investment in the community.

Sunrise Beach is the only opportunity zone in the tri-county Lake of the Ozarks region. The next closest zones are in northern Pulaski County, Lebanon, west central Dallas County and southwest Benton County.

These areas are considered low-income segments as determined by the state, areas with high poverty rates and slow job growth, according to a press release from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The zones were established by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. State and federal tax incentives for businesses that invest in these communities are the focus of this new development or re-development tool.

“We’ve already seen jobs coming back to Missouri as a result of strong conservative reforms. Now I’m proud to share that, because of tax reform, we have a new tool to bring businesses back to the areas that need it most. The communities that need quality jobs—areas with a lot of poverty and not a lot of opportunity--will get a leg up as they compete for jobs. I’m grateful to everyone who worked on this issue, and proud to announce these opportunity zones,” said Governor Eric Greitens.

Sunrise Beach Planner Roger Corbin said he hopes to use the new tool to help reinvigorate development of the Sunrise Market Center, anchored by Woods Supermarket, as well as boost investment elsewhere in town.

Most of the village is included as an opportunity zone with the selection of Census Tract 9512. This area does not include extreme eastern and southern portions of the village but does include most of the city and land to the west.

In addition to commercial development in the Village of Sunrise Beach, the investment incentive of this program could also help incentivize housing developments with the area of the zone, and given the low-income requirements for the program, that could be in the form of much-needed affordable housing in the Lake area.

The Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council issued a now well-publicized affordable housing study last year that showed a high need for workforce housing. The lack of housing in this income sector was also tied to economic development, showing a connection between affordable housing in creating and maintaining an available workforce to attract new business and growth in existing business.

“The Opportunity Zones program will help spur new investments in communities where they’re needed most. By bringing investment incentives to underserved areas, the program will help create more jobs, drive economic growth, and improve the quality of life for families across our state. The Opportunity Zones program is another example of how tax reform is directly benefitting Missourians, and turning the page on years of slow growth and stagnant wages. I’m proud to support this program, and I’ll keep working to advance pro-growth policies that will help more hardworking families get ahead,” said Senator Roy Blunt.

The program provides investors with a treasury-certified capital-gains tax deferral, based on their investment in the designated areas, according to information provided by the MDED. The designation allows investors to defer paying taxes on capital gains if they are invested in funds that invest in an Opportunity Zone with the amount of deferral increasing with the amount of time the investment stays in the Fund, up to 10 years.

The program seeks to revitalize and create jobs in areas that otherwise may not be considered by investors.

The number of zones in each state was limited and is based on the poverty rate of median family income of the census tract. In non-metropolitan areas of the state, eligible tracts must have a poverty rate of at least 20 percent or the tract’s median family income does not exceed 80 percent of the statewide median family income, with the exception of high out-migration rural counties.

Under the law, each state could nominate up to 25 percent of census tracks that met the eligibility requirements for the program, to be designated by the Secretary of the Treasury. In Missouri, the state could nominate up to 161 census tracks to be designated as Opportunity Zones.

To determine which zones were chosen, Missouri relied extensively on local input, the press release from the MDED explained. Local governments were asked to nominate areas for inclusion in the program by sending a written proposal to the department.

The communities prioritized their selections and provided DED with information about development plans, and descriptions of recent and future investments. In addition to local recommendations, the state considered the Opportunity Zone’s potential to address need and generate investment impact.

Other opportunity zones are located in Bolivar, Branson, Butler County, Cameron, Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Dallas County, Excelsior Springs, Hannibal, Independence, Jackson County, Jefferson City, Jennings, Joplin, Kansas City, Kennett, Kirksville, Laclede County, Lafayette County, Lebanon, Maryville, Mexico, Monett, Montgomery County, Neosho, New Madrid County, Newton County, Pemiscot County, Potosi, Pulaski County, Randolph County, Ripley County, Saline County, Sikeston, Springfield, St. Joseph, St. Louis, St. Louis County, Sugar Creek, Sullivan County, Warren County, Warrensburg, Warsaw, Wayne County and West Plains.