YCEA helps get the word out about York City's opportunity zones

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Blanda Nace, York City's chief opportunity development officer, speaks during an opportunity zone town hall at the York City Council chambers Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. The meeting was geared toward educating residents about the city's federally designated opportunity zones. Bill Kalina photo

The York County Economic Alliance is advertising York City's five federally designated opportunity zones with a new website. 

The city unveiled the website at a town hall dedicated to opportunity zones on Wednesday. It outlines the city's five opportunity zones, covers the perks of the zones and provides information for potential investors. 

"Their help is in promotion and outreach," said Blanda Nace, the city's chief opportunity development officer and former YCEA employee. "If a business approaches them and says they want to locate to York, they can help the direct investments."

The YCEA is not being paid by the city, Nace added.

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York City's opportunity zones.

Opportunity zones were born with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The designated census tracts in the low-income city neighborhoods allow investors to receive tax breaks and also allow grant applicants — whether the city itself or individuals — to get priority consideration.

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich has made opportunity zones a priority for his administration. The city is home to the only opportunity zones in the county.

"This is the biggest opportunity since Community Development Block Grants were created," Helfrich said, adding there has to be a balance between bringing in money from wealthy investors and generating money within the city.

All of the slides from the Wednesday presentation can be found here. 

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.