Federal investment program could lead to local businesses prospering

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The state of Ohio has recommended over 300 areas for a federal investment program, with 15 being in the Mahoning Valley.

The program aims to connect private capital with low-income communities called “opportunity zones.”

Investors are given certain benefits if they invest in them, so both they and the community will benefit.

There’s plenty of traffic and new businesses, but downtown Youngstown was still recommended as one of the 15 local opportunity zones.

So if you invest in that area…

“…the government then gives you a step up in basis, or essentially some tax help with those gains to overtime reduce your tax liability with those funds,” said financial analyst David Maxwell.

Maxwell, of Bury Financial Group, says that’s a win for investors and the community.

“Whether it’s a mom-and-pop place or somewhere that just doesn’t have the capital, getting all this extra money can help expand,” Maxwell said.

The recommended opportunity zones in Mahoning and Trumbull counties will cover parts of Warren, Girard, Youngstown, Campbell, Struthers and Austintown.

People passing through these areas were all for it, saying it’s a great idea.

Richard Goudeau has worked in downtown Youngstown for years. He says he’s seen it grow tremendously but hopes this program will lead to more.

“I would like to have opportunities for my children to stay in Warren or work in Youngstown and have all the opportunities be available for them,” Goudeau said.

Ed Black, another local who works downtown, says those opportunities start with a risk.

“If you got the people who are willing to help out by establishing businesses or maybe getting some partners together, it will work out. If you have maybe 50, 60, 70 percent of businesses succeed, hey, that’s a good deal,” Black said.

That success is the goal of the federal program.

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