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Woodstock aims to establish new economic development zone

Opportunity zones program established by U.S. Tax Cuts and Job Act

WOODSTOCK – New economic development opportunities soon could be available in the city of Woodstock.

The City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday to support an opportunity zone under a program established last year by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Under the program, investors can defer unrealized capital gains and invest those dollars into opportunity funds.

The program intends to spur private investment in distressed communities, according to federal documents.

Projects are limited to areas contained in designated zones, which are restricted to low-income urban and rural communities. Eligible Woodstock areas range from north of downtown to rural areas in the east, which include farmland in Bull Valley and unincorporated McHenry County, according to city documents.

Illinois can designate about 324 opportunity zones. Final rules for establishing the zones are in development by the U.S. Treasury Department. Gov. Bruce Rauner must submit eligible census tracts to the federal government by March 21, according to city documents.

Woodstock officials have submitted their interest in participating to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

“While the DCEO representative was not able to identify the specific criteria the governor will use to determine the census tracts for submission as opportunity zones, they did clarify their interest is in areas that provide the most potential and best benefit for the state,” Woodstock economic development director Garrett Anderson wrote in a memo to the council. “A resolution demonstrating the City Council’s support and commitment for the successful implementation of an opportunity zone would be beneficial.”

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