New federal program seeks to encourage economic development in Nevada low-income neighborhoods

Some worry it could price people out of areas

A new program has been enacted to encourage investment in low-income communities around Nevada. 

The Opportunity Zones program is part of the 2017 federal tax reform package. Being part of an opportunity zone provides a tax incentive for investors to reinvest long term into these communities. 

The incentive allows taxpayers to defer paying federal tax on capital gains from the sale of the property if it's within an opportunity zone. Funds can be used to finance commercial and industrial real estate, housing, infrastructure and existing or start-up businesses.  

Gov. Brian Sandoval announced the selection of 61 zones on April 23 and once approved by the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, the designation lasts until Dec. 31, 2026.

The average family income in these zones is approximately $37,000, just 60 percent of the median statewide family income of $62,500. The average unemployment rate from 2011-2015 was 16 percent, more than 2 times greater than the national rate. 

The hope through the opportunity zones is to enable job creation in these regions. Click on the interactive map below to view more details on each region.

13 Action News spoke to people in the opportunity zone near Decatur and Alta. 

Owner of Lou's Diner Brian Jenco says his customers don't feel safe coming visiting the area at night.

"As soon as the sun goes down now its different and we're only open for breakfast and lunch," Jenco said.

While he is excited about the new program possibly steering away crime and bring more business, the Nevada Policy Research Institute believes there could be some consequences with the new initiative.

"Some sort of gentrification and people being pushed out is a real risk," said Michael Schaus with NPRI.

In Las Vegas, much of the downtown area is included on the map, including areas around downtown spreading into North Las Vegas. The historic West Side is also part of the opportunity zone. In the area just east of downtown, projects proposed include ethnic-oriented businesses and multifamily residential upgrades. 

MAP OF LAS VEGAS/NORTH LAS VEGAS OPPORTUNITY ZONE

The map also includes areas near Charleston and Rainbow boulevards, near the North Las Vegas Airport, the area around Nellis Air Force Base and along Boulder Highway. In the area near Nellis Air Force Base, there are potential projects regarding off-highway vehicle use and additional Las Vegas Motor Speedway events.  

MAP OF NORTH LAS VEGAS OPPORTUNITY ZONE

Areas around UNLV, the new Raiders stadium and McCarran Airport are part of another opportunity zone map. The tract near UNLV goes up through Desert Inn Road and Maryland Parkway. In the area near the stadium and airport, potential projects include transit-oriented development. 

MAP OF UNLV/STADIUM/AIRPORT OPPORTUNITY ZONE

Older parts of Henderson are the city's opportunity zone, including several neighborhoods east of U.S. 95. This encompasses neighborhoods near downtown Henderson and along Van Wagenen Street and Burkholder Boulevard. Affordable housing is among the projects in this area.

MAP OF HENDERSON OPPORTUNITY ZONE

In Southern Nevada, parts of Nye County are also on the map. Portions of Pahrump are included and also north of the town toward the junction of Highway 160 and U.S. 95. Commercial development is among the proposed use. 

MAP OF NYE COUNTY OPPORTUNITY ZONE

The state of Nevada has a map here where you can look at specific ideas for projects in those opportunity zones. 

Outside of Southern Nevada, Sandoval also designated opportunity zones in the Carson City/Dayton area, Reno/Sparks and West Wendover, on the stateline with Utah. 

For more details, visit the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development website

Print this article Back to Top