The City of Villa Rica Rural Zone Grant

Revitalizing Georgia’s Rural Downtowns 

The Rural Zone program targets rural downtown areas that have been adversely impacted by local economic conditions by creating Rural Zones and offering economic development incentives. It differs from other programs at DCA which provide technical assistance and access to capital because it would establish an incentive program to stimulate investment,  job creation, and economic development. It also adds in retail opportunities, which are currently excluded from job tax credits. Further, multiple sources can benefit – for instance,  a single new coffee shop might provide job tax credits for the local business owner and an investment and rehabilitation credit to an urban investor.

The Job Tax Credit (JTC) will be $2,000 per new full-time equivalent job per year, up to 5  years, and not exceed $200,000 total or $40,000 per year. The new full-time equivalent job means an aggregate of employee worked hours totaling 40 hours per week between two or more employees. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created to qualify.  This credit is for the small business owner who opens a storefront and creates jobs.

The Investment Credit is equivalent to 25% of the purchase price, not to exceed $125,000  total or $25,000 per year. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created and maintained to qualify for the investment credit. This credit is for people who purchase a  building downtown and cannot be taken unless jobs are created.

The Rehabilitation Credit is equivalent to 30% of the qualified rehabilitation, not to exceed  $150,000 total or $50,000 per year. At least two net, new full-time equivalent jobs must be created and maintained to qualify for the rehabilitation credit. This credit is to offset development costs associated with the rehabilitation of a certified investor property.
Similar to other incentive programs (i.e., Opportunity Zones and Tourism Development Act)  this program will be the joint responsibility of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Both Commissioners will jointly review Revitalization Zone requests, and DCA will administer the program for approved areas.

Eligibility requirements: 
• Cities and counties with a population of less than 15,000
• Must have a concentration of historic commercial structures at least 50 years old  within the zone
• Must prove economic distress based on poverty rate, the vacancy of the downtown area, or blight.
• Must be in compliance with the state requirements regarding comprehensive planning and reporting Service Delivery Strategy, Government Management  Indicators (GOMI), and the Report of Local Government Finances.
• Must submit a feasibility study or market analysis identifying business activities that  can be supported in the zone
• Must submit a master plan or strategic plan designed to guide private and public  investment

Do you qualify for the Rural Zone Grant? View and download important Rural Zone documents below:

1) Approved Rural Zone NAICS Codes

2) Rural Zone Rehabilitation Standards

3) Rural Zone Rules from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Applicant should complete Part One of this form and then forward it to the local Rural Zone (RZ) coordinator. www.dca.ga.gov/sites/default/files/rural_zone_certification_form.pdf

Villa Rica Contact: jchumley@villarica.org

Rural Zone Brochure download here

Rural Zone FAQs 2021