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What are 'opportunity zones'? They could breath new life, bring jobs to MB area

Mayor Bethune announces ‘opportunity zones’ for Myrtle Beach

Mayor Brenda Bethune announces the 'opportunity zone' incentives for economically challenged areas of Myrtle Beach.
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Mayor Brenda Bethune announces the 'opportunity zone' incentives for economically challenged areas of Myrtle Beach.

A new website is helping to explain what opportunity zones are and how they can be taken advantage of.

In March, Myrtle Beach and Horry County officials announced six tracts that qualify for the national program that is aimed at spurring long-term redevelopment in distressed areas across the country by providing tax incentives.

Along the Grand Strand, areas in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Loris and Aynor qualify for the benefits. Developers in the zones can start new businesses, expand already existing businesses or start new projects.

To be distressed, an area must have a poverty rate of 20 percent or greater and a median family income of 80 percent or less of the area’s median family income based off of census information.

To qualify as severely distressed, an area must have a poverty rate of 30 percent or greater, a median income of 60 percent or less of the area’s median family income and an unemployment rate of at least 1.5 times the national average, based off census information.

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In Horry County, the median family income is $52,100, according to 2017 numbers on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website.

The website explains what opportunity zones are and how investors can take advantage of the program, specifying population, the number of hotel rooms in the city and total retail sales.

It continues, listing how properties within the program are zoned, and transportation including major highways, sidewalks, bike lanes, airports and public transportation.

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