The San Bernardino Valley Enterprise Zone (SBVEZ) announced that the California Department of Housing and Community Development approved an expansion of the zone, effective Nov. 8.

The designated SBVEZ territory has increased by 2,962 acres, or approximately four square miles. The zone now covers most all commercial and industrial areas within the cities of Colton and San Bernardino, and some additional unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County in Bloomington and around the Auto Club Speedway.

“SBVEZ supports regional business growth and job creation by incentivizing businesses to make workforce and capital investments,” said Wendy Clements, SBVEZ zone manager. “The expansion allows more local companies to utilize the program’s tax credits, which will contribute to their ability to hire more workers, retain workers and take on new business ventures.”

The expansion incorporates approximately 3,000 additional businesses, increasing the total number of local companies that can qualify for the zone’s tax incentives to approximately 8,000. Examples of new businesses in the zone include Fiesta Village Family Fun Park, Dalton Trucking and the Mexico Restaurant.

“Like many other businesses, we understand the value of the enterprise zone’s tax credits and have eagerly awaited the day we would be eligible,” said Michelle Kapuscinski, president of Fiesta Village Family Fun Park. “Entertainment businesses like ours are typically hit hard during difficult economic times because families don’t have extra money to spend. Fiesta Village requires a tremendous amount of maintenance and staff to operate, and the tax credits will allow us to hire more full-time employees and make necessary improvements to the park to help us operate more efficiently and provide an enhanced experience for our guests.”

SBVEZ was designed in 2006 and offers several tax incentives that help businesses reduce their operating costs by subsidizing a small amount of their state tax liability for hiring challenged workers that face barriers to employment and making equipment purchases.