Rapid City development might get kickstart

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -- It's the kind of policy detail that can perk up an economic growth executive.

Buried deep in the massive tax cut bill Congress passed last year is a section that just might spur investment in downtown Rapid City.

"It's actually an exciting new tool for economic development that not a lot of people know about yet," said Benjamin Snow, president of the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership. "We're excited that this is an opportunity for new capital investment in Rapid City."

The tax cut law includes language for so-called Opportunity Zones that aim to steer investment to economically-distressed communities. The law directed governors to designate tracts for the program. Gov. Dennis Daugaard picked four west river tracts, three in Rapid City.

"Rapid City's fortunate enough to have three tracts," said Snow. "One around the School of Mines, one around the downtown area and a third tract that heads up to the northeast part of town up toward Rushmore Crossings."

Investors can defer -- and even in some circumstances eliminate -- capital gains taxes if they invest the applicable capital in the zones.

"One possible benefit for the community could be that affordable housing investments might become more attractive says an attorney working on Opportunity Zone projects.

"I think that there is a great need for low income housing in particular and I think this would be an excellent opportunity for investors to provide additional housing for our community and our market," said Rapid City attorney Heather Dawn Thompson.

Snow says he hasn't yet seen any investment come into Rapid City under this new program but he says he thinks its just a matter of time.