Volume 10, Issue 40- Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
There are many public officials and economic development organizations with critical projects that can't be launched because of a lack of funding. Some of them, however, got lucky a few months ago. 

The fortunate ones are located in newly-designated "Opportunity Zones." Investors with project funding are already knocking on some of their doors with millions of dollars to invest

The Opportunity Zones program, designed to provide assistance for certain regions of the U.S., was launched by the federal government when Congress passed the new tax bill. The program provides extremely attractive and preferential tax treatment for investors in 8,700 newly designated Opportunity Zone regions of the U.S. 

Congress developed the program to boost economic vitality and incentivize investment in these regions which, according to data provided by census tracts, represent low-income areas of the country. The program's objective is to reward long-term investors by deferring or abating capital gains taxes. 

Here's how it works - investors are allowed to defer any unrealized capital gains by simply reinvesting money in an Opportunity Fund. And, if an investor stays in the fund for seven years, taxes will accrue to only 85 percent of the original investment and its proceeds. Additionally, if an investment is held beyond 10 years, taxes will be required only on the original investment. 

The seven-year abatement of all taxes is delayed as long as 90 percent of the fund is used to develop property or businesses in the zone. If the property is held for 10 years, any money from the sale can be rolled back into an Opportunity Zone fund, with no taxes charged.

Check out the latest article from our Texas Government Insider Newsletter!
Alabama- The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) will publish a request for proposals in the second quarter of 2019 to develop a new Interstate 10 bridge over the Mobile River. The project will include a high-rise, cable-stayed bridge over the Mobile River, replacement of a 7.5-mile road along the bay with a wider roadway and the modification of intersections. The United States Department of Transportation and ALDOT emphasized the role that disadvantaged businesses should play in the project. 

Current costs are estimated at $2 billion with ALDOT projecting $600 million of that to come from public money. The rest, financed through several channels by the construction team, will be recouped through a toll. A winner for the bid will be selected in the fall of 2019 and would be expected to start work in 2020.
New York- The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York is expected to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for contractors to construct a new Wadsworth Center, the centralized public health lab. Currently, the lab facility is spread across different campuses and Department of Health officials want to concentrate the Wadsworth Center on one campus to improve the public health sector and allow for more biotech research.  

The University at Albany's Health Sciences Campus in East Greenbush and the Harriman State Office Campus in Albany are the two finalist sites being considered. Estimates for the rebuilt center are $750 million and an RFP is anticipated soon.
Texas- The Frisco Independent School District will be putting a $691 million bond before voters this November, with $43 million set aside for a new performing arts center. This bond election comes in the wake of a similar failed measure in 2015. If the city and the school district decide to partner on the project, up to $57 million would be offered as incentive for a developer to take on the performing arts center as a public-private partnership (P3). 

The two entities are inspired by a project in Lubbock that is based on a public-private partnership. The Buddy Holly Performing Arts Center, currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2020, includes a 2,200-seat main theatre, a 425-seat studio and a multiuse room. Officials are convinced that the project does not need to be taken on using 100 percent of city funds, nor does the center need to be managed by the city. Two locations within Hall Park are being examined as possible sites.
South Dakota- In September, voters in the Sioux Falls School District approved a $190 million bond to build three new schools in the district. On Oct. 16, residents who live in Harrisburg and south Sioux Falls will have a chance to vote on a $40 million bond for an addition to the high school and a new elementary school in the Harrisburg School District. The Harrisburg School District now serves nearly 5,000 students, tripling in size over the past decade. 

If voters approve the bond during next week's election, the district will begin taking bids this fall for an addition to the high school to provide space for another 450 students. The second part of the $40 million bond is a new elementary school by Bakker's Crossing on Louise Avenue that would serve another 550 students. If the bond is approved, construction would begin on the new school and addition in April 2019. Both facilities would be open by the fall of the new 2020 school year.
California and Oregon- The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) released a request for proposals to remove four hydro-electric dams on the Klamath River: Iron Gate, Copco No. 1 and 2 in California and J.C. Boyle in Oregon. The four dams are set to be removed as early as 2021 as part of this restoration project. The KRRC has already set aside $450 million for what may be one of the largest dam removal projects in the history of the United States. 

Following the project's completion, some 8,000 acres will be exposed once the water recedes back to the riverbanks. As a result, another request for proposals is out for the collection of wild seed to reseed the area.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Tennessee- The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to design a new campus in downtown Memphis. The new riverfront development will include a museum with a theater, an event space and a larger store selling books and gifts. The campus would take up the city block where the fire department headquarters and a fire station sit. 

A new museum campus will aid the city's Memphis Bicentennial Gateway Project, intended to connect public spaces and attractions along the riverfront. Museum representatives estimate the cost of designing and constructing the campus to be $105 million and anticipate opening the facility in 2024. Responses to the RFQ are due by Nov. 2.
Utah- The state of Utah's Division of Parks and Recreation is actively seeking to privatize the operation of state-owned golf courses. A 10-year contract with a single firm would potentially cover Wasatch Mountain, Soldier Hollow, Palisade and the Green River golf courses. At the urging of several state legislators, Utah's Division of Parks and Recreation has issued a request for proposals to take over the operation of these venues. Interested groups are required to make formal site visits between Oct. 17-19 and submit proposals by Nov. 7. 

Utah's golf market is unlike other states in that several golf courses are owned and operated by public entities. Yet recently, the state has realized that independent firms have the capacity to have greater purchasing power for equipment and goods and can apply a higher standard of operational efficiency across multiple courses.
Former Frankfort Convention Center
Kentucky- The city of Frankfort released a request for information (RFI) to gauge interest in developing 6.4 acres of state-owned land. Developers are asked to provide information about their organizations, a development concept, timeline and cost estimates and potential barriers to entry. Officials are interested in potential public-private partnerships to develop the land that once housed the Frankfort Convention Center and Fountain Place Shops. 

Current recommendations for the site include street-level commercial space and upstairs rental housing. The project is part of a larger downtown master plan that recommends a conference center and hotel where the current farmers market is located, renovations to a pedestrian bridge and construction of a boathouse. Responses to the RFI are due by Oct. 15 and a request for proposals is anticipated early next year.
Michigan- Michigan's smallest public university is considering new housing and athletic facility development. Lake Superior State University (LSSU) administrators have agreed to move ahead with the intent of forging a public-private partnership (P3) with a developer. The university's board of trustees recently voted to pursue this avenue to achieve the goals set forth in the university's housing master plan. A request for proposals will seek out a legal and financial partner for the potential P3. 

Projects include dorm renovation and construction, as well as development of new athletic facilities to promote gender equity in the athletic program. LSSU faces a gender inequity problem in its athletic department due to the fact that it offers Division I men's hockey, but no Division I women's sports. Such a deal could also result in a new athletic facility to attract more athletes, students and spectators.
Massachusetts- Heath city officials are currently considering alternative uses for the former Heath Elementary School building. The future of the 25,000-square-foot structure has been debated over the past year by the Heath School Transition Team. The town is working with the Regional Council of Governments to put out a request for proposals from entities that are interested in leasing the building. 

Recommendations that have been developed for the site include the town retaining ownership, reverting the building back into a school, allowing the facility to be used for a multi-use function- not including housing, or installing a 72-kilowatt solar energy system. This solar array offers an opportunity for a public-private partnership (P3), with part of the project financed by a $130,000 Green Communities grant and the remainder with private capital. Another option for P3s lies in the towns interest in exploring alternative heating and cooling solutions.
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Ohio- An opportunity for a mixed-use development project is shaping up in Columbus. The neighborhood of North Linden recently demolished a two-story brick building at the corner of Cleveland and Myrtle avenues that has been vacant for years and was recently condemned. The nonprofit and city-funded Columbus Next Generation Corp. demolished the building and established a corner parcel and three other plots of land on the West side of Cleveland Avenue that total 2.6 acres. 

Officials envision the new development as being either for senior living or a mixed-use retail and residential space. The city is very interested in working with someone that deals in affordable housing to bring the project to fruition in a way that equitably impacts the surrounding community. The neighborhood has not seen new development in decades.
Virginia- A consultant for the Virginia Department of Transportation analyzed the savings for grouping road projects and the decision has been made to bundle a design-build package with six projects in Albemarle at a cost of $35.9 million. The most expensive project in the package is a diverging diamond interchange on Unites States 250 under Interstate 64, which will cost an estimated $18.4 million. Two of the projects are roundabouts - one at the intersection of Route 151 and U.S. 250 and the other at Route 20, Proffit Road and Riggory Ridge Road. The projects will cost an estimated $5.8 million and $4 million, respectively. 

Another project is to connect Rio Mills Road to Berkmar Drive Extended, which will include a sidewalk and shared-use path and cost an estimated $3.8 million. Two projects are near the intersection of U.S. 29 and I-64. One will add a lane at the Fontaine Avenue exit of U.S. 29 and cost an estimated $2.9 million. The other will eliminate the loop ramp from southbound U.S. 29 to eastbound I-64 and add two left-turn lanes, with a traffic signal, to U.S. 29 southbound. This will direct drivers to the existing ramp from northbound U.S. 29 to eastbound I-64, all at an estimated cost of $1 million. The projects were approved for Smart Scale and/or Highway Safety Improvement Program funding by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in July 2017. The design-build contract is scheduled to be awarded in summer 2019 and construction is scheduled to be completed in spring 2023.
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Charlestown Navy Yard
Massachusetts- The National Parks of Boston is working with the United States General Services Administration (GSA) to explore its real estate redevelopment options for four properties spanning a combined 145,000 square feet in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Some 30 acres of the 130-acre Navy Yard is controlled by the National Parks Service, while the Boston Planning and Development Agency manages the remaining 100 acres. 

A two-year design process has led to the U.S. Department of the Interior granting $3 million to the National Parks of Boston to begin the redevelopment of the historic Hoosac Warehouse. The six-story facility will be transformed into a new museum and visitor experience center at the Navy Yard. The Parks Service is funding a $100,000 GSA market analysis on four properties, which should start this fall and take four to six months to complete. The market assessment on the four properties would form the foundation of what the Parks Service could seek in a request for proposals for potential educational facilities, restaurants, residential development and possibly a hotel.
Hanging Lake
Colorado- Glenwood Springs officials will issue a request for qualifications in the coming weeks to set up a seasonal shuttle service and year-round reservation system to visit Hanging Lake. The United States Forest Service decided to partner with Glenwood Springs in order to improve visitor access to the scenic destination. 

Considering that roughly 184,000 people visited the site last year, a shuttle service plan devised by the city and forest service would be economically beneficial for the area. Early plans call for a shuttle system to operate from May to October but guests visiting between November and April will still use the reservation system. Officials target a starting date for the shuttle service as soon as May of 2019.
Florida- Miami-Dade County officials are considering partnering with a private investor to build a new jail. The jail system is very dated, and the county does not have enough money to independently fund all of the infrastructure projects on its wish list. The downtown Pretrial Detention Center is now almost 60 years old. 

An option recently presented to the county is to hire a contractor to design and build the jail and then could run the facility itself. Alternately, the county could allow a private company to not only build the jail but also operate and maintain it for 30 to 35 years. If the county agrees to let a private company operate the jail, it would ask for a contract that allows the current employees to be retained. The county has been eyeing partnerships with the private sector since at least 2015. County commissioners will continue discussions on the subject in the coming weeks.
Huntridge Circle Park
Nevada- A historic park located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas has been temporarily closed for improvements. Huntridge Circle Park, located between one of the busiest intersections of Charleston Boulevard and Maryland Parkway, will be undergoing a clean-up and revitalization in the coming weeks. The park has been plagued with homeless encampments and rampant drug use in recent years, making it a place that community members avoid all together. 

The community is adamant that the park should be a place for families to enjoy, and that a solution to homelessness lies elsewhere. The Huntridge Neighborhood Association has voiced support of developing a public-private partnership that would allow for private management of the park space, making the area family-friendly and problem-free.
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- On Oct. 3, North Dakota Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley announced longtime private sector tech executive Dorman Bazzell will be the state's inaugural chief data officer. Bazzell will join the North Dakota Information Technology Department (ITD) on Oct. 15. At ITD, Bazzell joins Julie Cabinaw, the state's first chief reinvention officer, and Duane Schell, its first chief technology officer, whose hirings were announced July 19. 
- Holly Christmann has been chosen as the economic development administrator for the city of Centerville. Christmann heads to Centerville from Hamilton County, where she was employed for 22 years, serving the past five years as director of environmental services. Mariah Butler Vogelgesang was also chosen to fill the position of assistant city manager in Centerville. 
- The Kentucky Board of Education unanimously voted to give Interim Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis the permanent job. The board appointed Lewis interim commissioner in April following the resignation of previous commissioner Stephen Pruitt. Prior to being named interim commissioner, Lewis was an advisory member of the Kentucky Board of Education and the chair of the Kentucky Charter Schools Advisory Council. 
- San Francisco State University President Leslie Wong plans to retire at the end of this academic year. His career in higher education and administration spans 46 years. Wong replaced former San Francisco State University President Robert Corrigan. He was appointed to the position in 2012 and his retirement is effective July 30, 2019. University officials will soon be launching a national search for a new president, and campus and community input will be sought at a later date. 
- The Snohomish County Public Utility District's (PUD) current assistant general manager, John Haarlow, will become its new CEO. Haarlow has been with the PUD since February 2017. He replaces CEO and general manager Craig Collar, who retired in June after three years in the role. 
- Alan LaFave, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northern State University, will become president of Valley City State University in December. He will replace Margaret Dahlberg, who has served as interim president since December 2017, when Tisa Mason left to become president of Fort Hays State University. 
- Elizabeth Dooley has been chosen to serve as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Central Florida. Dooley came to the university in 2015 after spending 25 years at West Virginia University where she served as associate provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, the founding dean of the University College, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Services and department chair of Curriculum Instruction/Literacy Studies and Special Education. 
- Lynchburg Interim Police Chief Ryan Zuidema has been appointed chief of police. The city's new chief has served with the Lynchburg Police Department (LPD) since 1997. Since serving with LPD, he has held the position as deputy chief and was responsible for the Investigations and Administration Bureaus. 
- Kevin Parker, who was formerly Rhode Island's director of government innovation, has been appointed the chief information officer for the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology's education cluster. Parker started work in Illinois in July after spending more than a year and a half doing tech and innovation work for the state government in Rhode Island, where his title was director of government innovation. 
- Maj. Gen. Patrick Higby, a 29-year United States Air Force official, has been named director of information technology acquisition process development at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. Higby will leave his roles as director of cybersecurity strategy and policy at the Office of Information Dominance and chief information officer at the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. 
- David A. Storer will be the new Planning and Community Services director for the city of Sonoma. He started Oct. 9 following the resignation of interim director Jim Moore, who was on the job less than one week. Storer brings more than 30 years of experience of planning in both the public and private sector. 
- Robert Sapien Jr., a 30-year veteran of the San Jose Fire Department who has spent more than nine months serving as the city's acting fire chief, has been appointed to the position permanently. Sapien has served as the acting fire chief since December 2017 following the departure of Curtis Jacobson.
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