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Economy

Columbiana County Location Is Nominated to be an Opportunity Zone

Pier 48, intermodal transportation loading facility
TIM RUDELL
/
WKSU
Intermodal loading site, Wellsville, OH

A financially struggling part of Wellsville, where Columbiana County’s Port Authority has already organized upwards of $30 million in investments for an intermodal shipping hub, may become a national Opportunity Zone. 

Barge on the Ohio River near Wellsville
Credit Columbiana County Port Authority website
Ohio River barge nears Pier 48 at Wellsville, OH

Opportunity zones are part of the tax overhaul Congress passed last year.  They allow for federal tax incentives for private investment in struggling communities --especially areas with unrealized development potential.

Overhead crane for loading and unloading barges
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU
Overhead crane at Pier 48 in the Wellsville Intermodal facility

Each state nominates possible zones. One of Ohio’s first nominees is the Wellsville riverfront. Columbiana County Port Authority Fiscal Officer Tad Herold says he thinks the transportation hub there and the $5 billion Shell Petroleum cracker plant going in just up river contributed to that decision.

“We believe that that Wellsville Intermodal facility, the fact that was there, and the fact that it was along the river, that the state sees that there is a great value and great possibility of future investment there.”  

Ohio is nominating 78 locations for the program. 

Tad Herold says the national program aims at spurring private investment in the target areas by offering capital gains tax deferments and more.

herold_incentives.mp3
Fiscal officer Tad Herold describes how the tax incentives can work

“You also get a set up in basis on those capital gains, given the number of years that you are invested in that opportunity fund.  And any money that you make while it is that opportunity fund, as I understand it, is exclude from taxable income.”

Herold says the federal Opportunity Zone designation, which is expected to be approved later this year, will help that improvement effort move forward faster and more effectively.