The city of Berryville will receive a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide the infrastructure needed to establish a 160-acre industrial park, according to a news release. The project, which will be in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $401,000 in local funds and is expected to create or retain more than 400 jobs and lead to more than $330 million in private investment.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced Friday (June 21) the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding the grant.
“President [Donald] Trump is committed to supporting business growth and economic development across the country,” Ross said. “The Berryville industrial park will make the region a more attractive place for new investment and the project’s location in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone will provide additional tax incentives for business development.”
“Opportunity Zones were designed to spur investment and lead to good jobs and economic growth,” said U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. “This EDA grant will allow the Berryville industrial park to offer both while leveraging private investment and laying the groundwork for future development. I’m pleased this grant is being awarded to this project and am hopeful it will deliver more benefits to the region in the future.”
“This strategic investment in our community will serve as a catalyst for economic growth and opportunity,” said U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers. “Long-term infrastructure improvements for the Berryville industrial park will create jobs, boost business competitiveness, and support economic growth in Arkansas. Opportunity Zones are unlocking the potential of regions across the country, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact right here in the Third District.”
The project will include street and drainage work and wastewater extensions to the industrial park. The project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District. The EDA gives money to the district to bring together the public and private sectors to spur economic development and strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs, the news release shows.
The federal program to establish Opportunity Zones was included in the $1.8 trillion Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed by Congress in December 2017. Under the tax reform plan approved by Congress, the Trump administration backed a new Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service program establishing qualified Opportunity Zones to spur investment in distressed communities across the country through a new federal capital gains tax incentive. In May 2018, Gov. Asa Hutchinson was notified that the U.S. Treasury had approved his nominations for 85 Opportunity Zones in Arkansas.