Hannibal named an 'opportunity zone' - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Hannibal named an 'opportunity zone'

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The city hopes the new program will entice developers to use vacant buildings like these. The city hopes the new program will entice developers to use vacant buildings like these.

A portion of Hannibal has been designated an opportunity zone and local business owners like Katy Welch said they know all about the opportunities right here at home.

"We look forward to the growth in our community and the growth of more businesses and development here because it's better for all of us overall. It really is. It brings more people in and keeps more people here." said Welch who owns the Java Jive in downtown Hannibal.

A new federal program called the opportunity zones program is designed to do just that. The program gives incentives like tax breaks to developers to invest in areas that otherwise wouldn't be considered.

"This is not a residential program." stated George Walley,  Northeast Missouri Economic Development Council Executive Director. "This is a how do we get investors to invest in a business or a lot to put a business on or an existing building to rejuvenate it and put a business in it and create jobs."

The opportunity zone extends south of Broadway. It includes downtown Hannibal. Investors will have to make long term commitments in order to reap any sort of benefits from this program. Walley said that's important for continued growth.

"It's not fast money and that's good because you want people that are here to stay or here to stay for a reasonable length of time." said Walley.

Welch sad a program like this could help Hannibal expand.

"The more businesses grow in our town, the more job opportunities it creates. The more it keeps people here as our children grow up. It just helps grow our community overall." she explained.

The U.S. Department of Treasury still has to create some rules for this program. Once those are in place, Walley said you could see millions of dollars in investments and hundreds of jobs created fairly soon.

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