May 8, 2018
Mrs. Lana Noonan
Waveland, Mississippi 39576
Governor Phil Bryant
P. O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
Dear Governor Bryant:
I reviewed the Opportunity Zone Map for Hancock County, which was released to the press on April 23, and as a citizen of Waveland, was very surprised to see my city’s struggling downtown business district “carved” out of the zone eligible for the Federal tax abatements to attract investors to our area.
My first reaction was, “who could do this to us?!” It was a surprising and disappointing revelation to learn through the U. S. Department of the Treasury representative, Jeff Merkowitz, that it was, in fact, our own Governor who selected and nominated the eligible census tracts within our state for designation as Qualified Opportunity Zones.
The purpose of my letter is to ask you, as the person who made this decision, what criteria you used to determine that our entire neighboring city of Bay St. Louis, including their already thriving downtown area, and highway corridor, was entitled to be an Opportunity Zone, and downtown Waveland was not.
Considering the requirement of 20% of citizens living at poverty level, and no one making over 80% of the median income, this conclusion of yours is an enigma to me and many others.
The 12 years and 8 months since Waveland lost its entire downtown business district to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina have been a long and tiring struggle to restore our downtown for our public officials and citizens alike.
For the above stated reasons I will be looking forward to your reply with a full explanation of your decision to exclude downtown Waveland from this “opportunity” to rebuild.
Lana T. Noonan, Waveland