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Community Highlights

Virginia: Highlights From Norfolk

From left to right: Adisa Muse – Assistant to the Mayor, City of Norfolk; James Taylor – President, Virginia Housing and Community Development Corporation; Robert Sharak- Senior Business Development Manager, City of Norfolk; James Rogers – Deputy City Manager, City of Norfolk; Mark Mullinix - Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond ; Peter Buryk – Principal Analyst, City of Norfolk; Sean Washington – Business Development Manager, City of Norfolk

A Community Development Conversation in the Hampton Roads Region

Hampton Roads, a metropolitan region in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, includes the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Newport News, Virginia and Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The region, known for its harbor, shipyards and military presence, is home to 120,000 active duty, reserve and civilian personnel at nine installations.

In April, Mark Mullinix, first vice president, and Jeanne Milliken Bonds, senior manager, regional community development, traveled to the region for a day trip to engage in a conversation with the community about economic strategies, resiliency and Opportunity Zones.

The first stop was the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, a nonprofit research and graduate education institute that was created to conduct leading-edge aerospace and atmospheric research, develop new technologies and inspire new generations of scientists and engineers.

Pictured: Mark Mullinix - First Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; Dr. Doug Stanley - President and Executive Director, National Institute of Aerospace; Jeanne Milliken Bonds - Senior Manager, Regional Community Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

“Dr. Doug Stanley and his team engage in a very successful technology commercialization process using a state-of-the-art business incubator with wet and dry laboratories. An extensive network of local and regional investors help position the start-ups as new enterprises throughout our region,” said Mullinix. “NIA is a working example of community development finance in practice, moving ideas to new business ventures through innovative financing tools.”

From Hampton, the visit turned to Norfolk and a roundtable discussion at the City’s Slover Library. Norfolk participated as one of the 100 Resilient Cities, a program pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation that prompts the development of a resilience plan designed to guide a city in preparation for and recovery from disruptions. The plans help a city realize “the resilience dividend,” the economic and competitive advantages that derive from adequate preparation and strategic recovery. Norfolk city officials, local businesses, civic groups and academia prepared the plan with particular focus on meeting the needs of vulnerable populations and financing recovery, when needed. City officials were eager to talk about the collaborations and partnerships that evolved in the resiliency planning process.

Regional leaders discussed preliminary plans for census tracts in the region that qualify for the newly created Opportunity Zone Program, which is intended to drive long-term capital to distressed communities by providing tax benefits on investments in Opportunity Funds, or “O Funds.” Opportunity Zones were originally introduced in the Investing in Opportunity Act and are the first new community development tax incentive programs introduced since the 1990s.

“As a longer-term plan, we are connecting stakeholders across our District to discuss and develop Opportunity Zone strategies at the community level,” Bonds told the group. “Since the impetus for [Opportunity Zones] is temporary tax deferral for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund, the key ingredient to ensuring community level impact is the engagement and awareness of the investment community.”

#HamptonRoads #Norfolk #OpportunityZones


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