Launching an Opportunity Zone for San Bernardino County
As part of California’s Inland Empire, a metropolitan region of more than 27,000 square miles and 4 million people, San Bernardino County is located in one of the fastest growing regions in the state. To create high-quality jobs in key economic sectors, such as manufacturing, tourism, and technology, the Economic Development Agency (EDA) in San Bernardino County is working to promote its Opportunity Zones. These economically distressed communities, which were designated by the federal government, can potentially benefit from tax incentives aimed at encouraging investment and economic development. FUSE executive fellow Gil Keinan helped create a county-wide strategy and local toolkit to promote sustainable, equitable, and inclusive investments in Opportunity Zone communities. To do this, Gil collaborated with the EDA team and local stakeholders to implement Opportunity Zone best-practices, and he used marketing, education, and engagement to share strategies. At the same time, he collaborated with agencies in cities throughout the county, as well as with national capital partners, to raise awareness through media attention and promote OZ development. One deal, which was included in a report to the White House, is bringing a medical office building to the city of San Bernardino and will house the county’s Department of Behavioral Health services for children, providing much needed resources to local communities. Through these efforts, Gil helped raise the profile of San Bernardino County and its communities, improving the county’s relationship with national investors.