CHARLESTON, W.Va. — White House officials are seeing great opportunity in West Virginia’s capital city.

Scott Turner, the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Executive Director, joined U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin, and other federal and local officials for discussions on Tuesday surrounding Charleston’s Opportunity Zones and potential funding.

White House

Scott Turner

“This could be revolutionary for this city and the people of this city,” Turner said of the Opportunity Zones in Charleston.

“Just the beauty and uniqueness here in Charleston alone makes this one of the best cities that we have been to thus far.”

West Virginia has 55 designated Opportunity Zones across the state with several being in downtown Charleston and surrounding Kanawha County.

The zones were enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017.

A state’s Governor designates an area as an Opportunity Zone as the areas are then eligible to receive private investments through Opportunity Funds.

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Amy Goodwin

“What these Opportunity Zones and these funds can do for us is making sure we are keeping up with the rest of the country,” Goodwin said. “Charleston is not unique. This issue is not unique.”

Opportunity Zones were created as a way to create jobs in distressed areas, fuel investment, and drive a local economy.

Goodwin led Turner and Capito on a tour of a zone that started at Taylor Books on Capitol Street in downtown Charleston through the Charleston Town Center Mall.

“It’s a private investment into distressed areas,” Capito said. “Mayor Goodwin just took us on a great tour of the city of Charleston, which we love. We want to see investment, not just in the community but economic development at the same time.”

At the Town Center, the three met with mall officials and looked at what could be done. The mall’s future remains foggy following its recent sale and closure announcements from anchor stores.

Goodwin said Tuesday that everything is on the table when it comes to the Town Center Mall. She also said she was very appreciative for the opportunity to show federal officials around the city.

Capito held roundtable discussions on Tuesday that included Goodwin, Turner and local leaders in the Kanawha Valley on what can be done in the Opportunity Zones.

Turner said coming to cities and working together with all officials is the way to get the funding to them.

“Time is of the essence,” he said. “The strategy is very important, a plan is very important.

“It’ll get done. We have to work together and be creative and understand that this is a tool that literally can revolutionize not just a city but our country.”