DALLAS - A federal program aims to invest millions of dollars and create jobs in several Dallas neighborhoods.
Fifteen Dallas neighborhoods have been named ‘Opportunity Zones’ by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That means those who invest there could get some tax incentives.
The goal of the program is to encourage investors to open up businesses and create jobs in areas that traditionally haven't seen much economic development.
Opportunity Zones were created in 2017. HUD officials toured a part of West Dallas on Tuesday to see how the program is working out.
For the last couple of years, Barbara Reed and her neighbors had to travel several miles to the nearest grocery store.
“You had to go to Walmart or Fiesta way on West Chapel somewhere,” she said.
Neighbors say their only grocery store was Fiesta Mart. However, they left their location at Lakewest Town Center off Singleton Boulevard two years ago, leaving a food desert in that area of West Dallas.
“The stores are too far out,” Reed said. “You have a lot of senior places around here. People don't have cars. They have to try to get transportation wherever they go.”
But federal tax legislation helped open a brand new grocery store to the area, bringing a hundred jobs and convenience to neighbors.
“There's so many people that live in our community that don't have transportation,” said Cost Saver Plus General Manager Bill Davidson. “Not only our employees are able to walk to work, but also customers are able to walk to get their groceries.”
West Dallas was named an Opportunity Zone, using tax incentives to encourage investors to come in and help revitalize this neighborhood
“We all know West Dallas has not received any type, this type of investment in decades,” said Scott Turner, the executive director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. “It's an area that has a lot of potential.”
The program rewards those who invest in the community the longer they stay in the community.
“If they leave their investment there for five years, they get a ten percent decrement in the capital gains they owe on their original investment,” explained U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson. Fifteen percent for seven years. Ten years, you don't have to pay any capital gains on new money that was required on the capital investment.”
They hope the program will create economic opportunities for those who live here.
“And it's a great encouragement to the people of this community that good news does reside in West Dallas and that development such as this and others can happen,” Turner said.
Along with the new grocery store, a medical clinic is also set to open in the neighborhood.
West Dallas is one of almost 9,000 other communities that have been designated opportunity zones across the country.