Back to Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone
What is the GVEZ?

On Aug. 5, 1993, portions of Gasconade, Maries and Osage counties including the cities of Owensville, Bland, Vienna, Belle and the Rolla National Airport, were officially designated as a state enterprise zone. Until Jan. 1, 2005, this designation entitled qualifying companies to certain tax credits and property tax abatements when locating or expanding within the zone. Elected officials in the three counties joined forces to secure this designation to spur economic development activities, most specifically to ensure a $12 million expansion at the Kingsford Co. in Maries County.

With the state designation in hand, each county involved appointed three volunteers to serve on the Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone board. This nine-member board incorporated as a general not-for-profit on Nov. 15, 1994, with the mission of creating a better place to live for current and future residents of the Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone, and the entire three-county area by increasing the social, economic, educational, health-related and recreational opportunities for all by acting collectively to increase local capacity to respond to local needs.

In January 1995, using a state grant, the GVEZ board hired a community/economic developer to serve the community/economic development needs of the three-county area.  That state grant ended on Dec. 31, 1996, and through the generous support of local governments and private businesses, GVEZ has continued its work. The Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone is a 501(c)3, which means donations are tax deductible.

In 2004, the state legislature passed a new enterprise zone law, phasing out the law under which the local enterprise zone was formed. Qualifying companies locating within the currect zone are eligible for property tax abatement only. Companies already receiving tax credits under the old law will continue to do so. The Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone is currently assisting the city of Chamois and Osage County to develop an enhanced enterprise zone application to secure a new state designation. If that can be accomplished, new and expanding companies locating within that area and meeting qualifying criteria may be eligible for property tax abatements and tax credits.

What is our vision?

Our vision is to achieve an economic environment where existing businesses prosper and expand, where new businesses are attracted, and where the three-county area is known statewide for its pro-business creativity.

What have we accomplished?
  • GVEZ has established an enterprise zone program that provides incentives for qualifying companies to locate and expand. Eligible companies must create jobs and make significant private investments in order to qualify. Six existing companies have created more than 124 net new jobs that qualified for state tax credits and have invested over $64 million. Please note that all jobs created do not qualify for tax credits and that companies have up to one year to claim credits.

  • Since its formation, GVEZ has worked to establish relationships between community groups, elected officials, manufacturers and business to better understand the needs and goals of all. GVEZ serves as a liaison between cities and counties and industries and works to identify problems and issues affecting each.

  • GVEZ developed a marketing packet to promote the three-county area. The three counties are now better prepared to handle inquiries of all types.

  • GVEZ assisted in identifying a lack of housing that is hampering economic growth in the three-county area. GVEZ and the Meramec Regional Planning Commission coordinated a meeting of possible resources to address the issue. This meeting resulted in the formation of the Owensville Housing Corporation, a private non-profit, that constructed 15 affordably-priced homes to begin addressing the city's housing shortage. By illuminating the need for housing, GVEZ has been instrumental in encouraging three or four private developments in the area and have also assisted with annexation and sewer issues.

  • Because it is a 501(c)3, GVEZ has the ability to serve as a pass-through agency for another community organization  that lacks the designation.

  • Established a dialogue with the Missouri Department of Transportation and initiated a grassroots effort—known as GO 50—to draw attention to transportation needs in the three-county area and its impact on economic development. GVEZ has met with the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission to discuss Highway 50 needs. In 2003, GVEZ began meeting with representatives from the eight counties along Highway 50 from Sedalia to Union. The purpose of the meetings was to build a broad-based coalition to create awareness for improvements for this stretch of Highway 50 and to explore various funding tools that could accelerate the project.

  • In 2004 and 2005, GVEZ established a relationship with the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce's Transportation Committee to promote improvements to Highway 50 from Franklin to Pettis counties. This has resulted in a meeting with MoDOT's chief engineer and a planned appearance before the highway commission on April 7, 2005.

  • The board has developed an ongoing dialogue with the region's congressional delegation and is working closely with MoDOT and the Meramec Region's Transportation Advisory Committee to keep Highways 50 and 63 at the forefront of future planning efforts. The group is also exploring the benefits of hiring a consultant to assist with finding additional resources.
What do we do?
  • GVEZ responds to numerous inquiries on the enterprise zone, the entire three-county area and the incentives offered. Its professional staff offers information on economic development opportunities and resources and provides referrals.

  • GVEZ processes companies' claims for enterprise zone credits in a timely manner and assists with filing the credit requests with the state.

  • GVEZ provides a forum for discussion of common issues and provides an opportunity to share information. Knowing each others problems allows for a unified effort for addressing them without duplicating efforts.

  • GVEZ works with existing industries to help them succeed. This may range from addressing local issues that are serving as barriers to providing information on financing opportunities.

  • GVEZ is a liaison between local governments and community groups and businesses and industries.

  • GVEZ partners with community buinesses and industries to further promote economic development and growth in the three-county area.

  • GVEZ insures that available buildings and industrial sites are listed on Missouri LocationOne, the online site location database coordinated by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

  • GVEZ keeps area transportation needs before the Missouri Department of Transportation and local legislators.

How can you reach us?

Bonnie Prigge, Administrator
Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone Inc.
4 Industrial Drive   •   St. James, Mo. 65559
Office: (573) 265-2993   •   FAX: (573) 265-3550
E-mail: bprigge at

The Board of Directors:
Larry Backes; Byron Baker, President; Russell Scheulen

Jay Gourley, Secretary; Jerry Lairmore; Jim Decker

Mark Hayes; Ray Schwartze, Treasurer; Leslie Clark