Batesville, Arkansas and Thomas, Oklahoma to receive $500,000 grants to expand redevelopment efforts
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today is awarding $1 million to help build affordable housing in Arkansas and Oklahoma. The City of Batesville in Arkansas will receive a $500,000 grant to redevelop The Adler Building and the City of Thomas in Oklahoma will receive $ 500,000 to rehabilitate commercial space into residential units in the city’s commercial district. The grants are funded through HUD’s HOPE VI Main Street Program.
The City of Batesville, Arkansas will redevelop “The Adler Building,” located on West Main Street. Built in 1881, this is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Arkansas’ oldest surviving town. The first floor of the building originally served as a general store, and the second floor was an Opera Hall, used for socializing and community events. This grant will be used to renovate the building to include affordable residential units and two commercial units. Two of the units will be set aside for very low income families (50 percent or below of Area Median Income).
Batesville, Arkansas is also located within a federal Opportunity Zone, a designation intended to stimulate long-term private investment in low-income urban and rural communities by allowing investors to realize significant federal tax benefits through investing capital gains in Qualified Opportunity Funds.
The City of Thomas, Oklahoma will use the funding to rehabilitate six residential units above six historic buildings in the City’s core commercial district. These units were previously residential but are no longer because they have fallen into disrepair. The City of Thomas currently only has a total of 11 affordable housing units, and the City is eager to increase this number.
“Main Street grants not only provide affordable housing, but they also increase economic opportunities, including in Opportunity Zones,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “HUD is proud to be a partner to rebuild and transform communities like Thomas and Batesville into vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods.”
HUD’s Main Street program seeks to rejuvenate older, downtown business districts while retaining the area’s traditional and historic character by providing grants to smaller communities for the development of affordable housing. Such communities must have an ongoing Main Street revitalization effort. Under Main Street, obsolete commercial offices or buildings can be reconfigured into rent producing affordable housing.
Background on Opportunity Zones
President Trump signed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, creating Opportunity Zones to stimulate long-term investments in low-income communities. Opportunity Zones offer capital gains tax relief to those who invest in these distressed areas. This initiative is anticipated to spur $100 billion in private capital investment in Opportunity Zones. Incentivizing investment in low-income communities fosters economic revitalization, job creation, and promotes sustainable economic growth across the nation, especially in communities HUD serves. Read more about Opportunity Zones.
Opportunity Zones are a powerful vehicle for bringing economic growth and job creation to the American communities that need it the most. On average, the median family income in an Opportunity Zone is 37 percent below its respective state median. Overall, more than 8,700 communities in all 50 States, Washington D.C., and five U.S. territories have been designated as Opportunity Zones. Nearly 35 million Americans live in communities designated as Opportunity Zones.