Go Zone: The green light for development

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - By Krystal Allan – bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Lately, D'Iberville has positioned itself as a hub of new development. The Promenade shopping district is among the most recognizable. But with newly-completed projects like its Town Green, the city is trying to build up buzz and buildings downtown.

The extension of the Gulf Opportunity Zone or Go Zone deadline could play a role in re-shaping the area. D'Iberville is looking to the proposed Oyster Bay and Can-Can casinos to attract more development.

"Go Zone cannot be used for casino projects, but as long as you package it correctly, it can be used for retail, for restaurants and even infrastructure improvements for those projects," said D'Iberville City Manager Michael Janus.

Land behind the Town Green that once was the site of a middle school and ball field is where the city is pushing to get some of that development going. Go Zone allows for tax-exempt bonds and incentives. The goal is to lure investors who can get a better return on their development.

"We are always working to expand our retail sales tax base because that actually means less in terms of property taxes. That's more money that we can improve our parks, better public safety and our roads," Janus said.

If developers see the potential and invest, Janus said it means jobs by way of the project and other businesses that spring up around it.

"Obviously, you have construction jobs and full-time jobs. For Can-Can, I thought I saw some figures of 1800 construction jobs and 1500 full time jobs after its completed," Janus said.

Go Zone came onto South Mississippi's radar following Hurricane Katrina. It was set up to get businesses to build back and new ones to come to the coast. Go Zone has been extended through the end of 2011.

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