The Opportunity Zone Program is a federal program that provides tax incentives, including temporary deferrals on capital gains taxes when investors reinvest those gains in qualified Opportunity Funds. These funds are in turn invested in communities from designated census tracts (Opportunity Zones).
The city's role in the Opportunity Zone Program is to connect funding with projects, develop an investable pipeline of projects and to leverage these projects to create new opportunities for residents and encourage upward mobility.
The Mercy Drive Neighborhood Vision Plan encompasses the non- residential uses and the neighborhoods surrounding the Mercy Drive corridor, this plan includes: Street & Streetscape Enhancements, New Housing Opportunities, Connections to Nature, a New Activity Center, Home Repair Classes and a Tool Lending Library. The plan also engages the community through public events and community-wide public art initiatives which will enhance social cohesion. The community identified a large number of community assets including recreation areas, faith-based institutions, local businesses and development opportunities for new housing and commercial employment.
Current funding opportunities within Mercy Drive include:
HUBZone Program - the U.S. Small Business Administration limits competition for contracts to businesses in historically underutilized business zones.
Urban Job Tax Credit Program (UJTCP) - endorsed by the Florida Legislature to encourage the creation of jobs in urban areas of the state.
The Orlando Economic Enhancement District Program (OEED) - a Brownfield Designation; utilizes an economic development tool engaging redevelopment of properties by businesses and property owners.
A large majority of the development in this area is comprised of single and multi-family residential subdivisions.
There are pockets of commercial, industrial and institutional developments within the area, such as; Aspire Health Partners, Community Health Center and a fresh produce market. Along with recreational developments as well, these include: Northwest Neighborhood Center, Lake Lawne Park and the Central Florida Fairgrounds.