Economic Development Digest 
 
| Economic Development News
Explore EDA's New Tool for Small Towns 

Homegrown Tools for Economic Development is a tool from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) providing case studies of small towns across the U.S. that have successfully stimulated private investment and job creation. 

Explore economic development strategies related to topics such as workforce development, broadband infrastructure, business retention, entrepreneurship, and historic preservation. Other small towns are encouraged to add their own success stories to the tool as well
Texas General Land Office Logo
Take the GLO's Disaster Recovery Mitigation Survey

Texas will receive $4.297 billion in federal disaster mitigation funds to help vulnerable communities prepare for future disasters. The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is working to write a Mitigation Action Plan that outlines what types of activities will be funded, who will receive these funds, and how much funding will be available to each community. 

This survey is one of the many ways GLO is generating feedback on needs and challenges faced by communities. This survey maybe used to generate an allocation methodology. Completion of this survey does not guarantee allocation of funds nor is it required to receive funding.                                   
HUD Releases Update to Affordability Index 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) points out that the majority of Americans spend about  50 percent of their income on housing and transportation costs, but Americans often do not factor in the cost of transportation into their decision on where to live and work. 

HUD's Location Affordability Index is a user-friendly source on combined housing and transportation costs to help consumers, policymakers, and developers make more informed decisions about where to live, work, and invest.

The Location Affordability Index has been available since 2013 with yearly updates; users can also download or view the data sets from past years. 

Disaster Recovery Program | IEDC 

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is placing experienced economic development professionals as volunteers in economic development organizations throughout 
the region that can use expert input doing various
tasks such as: 
  • Attracting inward investment
  • Business outreach, retention and recovery, 
  • Community outreach, finance, flood control and mitigation
  • Grant writing, strategic planning, and training/education
Thanks to U.S. Economic Development Administration funding, the volunteers - who typically come for five days and then do supplementary work remotely - are completely free of charge to communities in the region.
 
For more information, contact Joshua Owens at 832-681-2613.

 
|CEDS Updates
March Gulf Coast Labor Market Analysis  

Workforce Solutions provides a monthly analysis of the Gulf Coast region's labor market. Some highlights from the March 2019 report are:
  • The region overall added 14,300 jobs 
  • Manufacturing and government sectors saw the largest growth 
  • The only sector to see a decline in the number of jobs this month was the information sector 
The report highlights data from the Texas Workforce Commission and the Bureau of Labor Statistics focusing on the region's 13 counties. Reports are available on Workforce Solutions' webpage.

IRS Releases Second Round of Guidance on Opportunity Zones

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a second round of guidance on the new tax incentive, opportunity zones, on April 17.  

This round of guidance focuses on further defining the "substantially all test" specifically: 
  • At least 70 percent of tangible business property must be used in a qualified opportunity zone.
  • For the holding period of the property, tangible property must be qualified opportunity zone business property for at least 90 percent of the qualified opportunity zone business's holding period.
  • The partnership or corporation must be a qualified opportunity zone business for at least 90 percent of the qualified opportunity fund's holding period.
 
|
Economic Resilience
Defending Great Places by Supporting Small Businesses 

While National Small Business Week is May 5-11, the 13-county region has a variety of communities working to support small businesses all year long. For instance, Texas City, El Campo, Rosenberg, and the City of Fulshear and other local communities provide support through implementing buy local shop local campaigns, providing small grants and loans, and providing technical assistance to small business owners. 

Investing in small business owners builds a sense of place, has the potential to diversify the local economy, and has the potential to attract more residents and employers to the area.  
  
For more information on defending great places and ways to support local businesses see H-GAC's  Bringing Back Main Street: A Guide to Downtown Revitalization for Local Governments and the Defending Great Places section of the Economic Resilience Plan

 
| Funding Opportunities
BUILD Transportation Grants | July 15

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation grants, will be awarded to projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. BUILD funding can support roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports or intermodal transportation projects including preconstruction activities. 

Local governments, including cities and counties, as well as port authorities can apply for funding. Applications are due on July 15, 2019. 
Disaster Assistance for Historic Preservation | May 24 

The Texas Historical Commission has grant funds available for historic preservation projects. Any public, private, or non-profit entity can apply for funding. Grant amounts vary and there is no match required.   
Examples of eligible activities include:
  • Recovery and repair of historic properties (i.e., stabilization, restoration, or preservation);
  • Survey and inventory of historic-age properties to determine National Register eligibility, degree of damage; and,
  • Provide preparedness for future disasters, which can include planning and historic preservation educational activities.
More information is available on the Texas Historical Commission website. Applications are due May 24, 2019.
EPA Technical Assistance for Rural Development | May 31 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sending planning teams to communities across the United States to develop community-specific action plans to grow the local outdoor recreation economy. Examples of projects include: 
  • Developing or expanding trail networks to attract overnight visitors and new businesses, and foster use by residents
  • Developing in-town amenities, such as broadband service, housing, or shops, restaurants, or breweries
  • Marketing Main Street as a gateway to nearby natural lands to capture and amplify outdoor recreation dollars
Eligible applicants include local governments and non-profit organizations. For more information and to apply visit the 
EPA's website.
USDA ReConnect Program |  May 31, June 21, and July 12

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting the first round of applications for the Rural e-Connectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect Program) with applications due: 
  • May 31, 2019, for grants;
  • June 21, 2019, for loan/grant combinations; and
  • July 12, 2019, for low-interest loans.
ReConnect, a new program, offers loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in areas of rural America without sufficient access to internet. 

Local governments and other organizations can apply for these funds to construct or improve buildings, land, and other facilities that are required to provide broadband service and facilities that support the provision of broadband service.
USDA Technical Assistance for Rural Development |  June 5

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering technical assistance to rural communities to improve housing and community facilities, and for community and economic development projects. Example of past projects include strategic plan development and minority business owner education programs. 

Grants between $250,000 and $500,000 are available. Grantees must match the award they receive without in-kind contributions. Partnerships between rural communities and other entities are encouraged. For more information, visit the USDA's website or view the current funding notice
Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program | June 30 

The National Park Service (NPS) helps local agencies, non-profit organizations, tribes, and citizen groups on a variety of conservation and outdoor recreation projects. NPS offers technical assistance in four main categories: 
  • Build healthy communities through parks, trails, and outdoor opportunities 
  • Conserve natural lands, rivers, and watersheds 
  • Engage youth in outdoor recreation and stewardship 
  • Strengthen the organizational capacity of project partners
Applications are due June 30. Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to email the local office at, RTCA_Apps_IMR@nps.gov, to discuss project ideas. 
USDA Rural Broadband Access Program | Throughout 2019

Local governments, non-profit organizations, and for-profit companies can apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Broadband Access Loan program. 

Program funds pay for the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities required to provide service at the broadband lending speed throughout eligible rural areas.

Loan amount and terms vary by project and location. For more information, visit the USDA's website.
H-GAC's Clean Vehicles Program | Continuous

H-GAC's Clean Vehicles program has grant funding available for local governments, school districts, and businesses to accelerate the replacement of high-emitting and heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses with new, lower emission vehicles. 

The program funds projects in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria non-attainment area. Previously funded projects include clean diesel and alternative fuel bus and truck replacements, natural gas refueling systems, hybrid electric transit buses, and marine vessel engine replacements. More information is available online.
H-GAC's Commuter and Transit Programs | August 2022

H-GAC is requesting applications from local communities in the Metropolitan Planning Area for pilot programs that assist in the development of alternative travel modes that will help improve air quality throughout the region. Projects may include, but are not limited to, new commuter bus services, suburban to suburban employment commuter services,  and first to last mile services. 

Funding is available from $150,000 to $1.6 million. More information about H-GAC's Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Commuter and Transit Pilot Program, including how to apply, is available online.
 
| Upcoming Developments

The Reserve at City Place is coming to a 65-acre mixed-use development in Conroe. The apartment complex broke ground earlier this year on the northwest corner of I-45 and League Line Road and is expected to open in 2020. This mixed-use project will also include 85,000 square-feet of medical office, retail and restaurants.


 

Kennedy Greens Distribution Center I is being built on John F. Kennedy Boulevard at Lauder Road. The 524,528 square-foot industrial project is part of Kennedy Greens South Business Park. 

Park 8, a 242,760-square-foot distribution facility, broke ground on 17.2 acres at the southwest corner of Beltway 8 and Interstate 45.

 

Clay 99 Building 5 will be developed at the intersection of Clay Road and Peek Road. The 433,200 square-foot industrial project is going to be finished in 2020.

San Jacinto College broke ground on its first building on the 57-acre campus in Generation Park. The two-story, 51,000-square-foot building will be located at the corner of West Lake Houston Parkway and Lockwood. The campus will be open by next fall.

 

A 170-unit property will complete construction in 2020 in the Oak Forest Community.
 
Marcel District will break ground at the corner of LJ Parkway and University Boulevard in Sugar Land. The project will include 41,785 square-feet of retail and restaurants and 27,000 square-feet of office space. It is expected to be completed in later this year.

 

Harris County Department of Education broke ground at 12772 Medfield Drive on the new 47,970 square-foot Academic and Behavior School West.

 

Costco is coming to Cypress. The 157,000-square-foot store will be located at 26960 Hempstead Road and open in the summer.

 

The Edge at Langham Creek will be built in northwest Houston. The 115-unit apartment project will have access to I-10 and will be completed in 2020.

 

Jersey Village City Hall will relocate to a two-story, 28,000-square-foot building in Village Center. Village Center will be a mixed-use development south of Highway 290 along Jones Road. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020.

Construction will begin this fall on a 43,000-square-foot conference center and six-story, 304-room hotel at the Katy Boardwalk. Both projects are expected to open in 2021. The development will also include 60,000-square-feet of office space, 155,000-square-feet of retail and restaurants, and two residential projects.

The first mixed-use development for the City of Magnolia will break ground this fall. Magnolia Lights will be a five-story development; 4 stories will be designated for 130 residential units and the first floor will be for 20,000- square-feet of retail space. The 2-acre development will be located between Goodson Road and LaRue Street.


Compiled from reports in Community Impact Newspapers, Houston Business Journal, Rebusiness Online, and Texas A&M University Real Estate Center

 
Upcoming Events

May 9 | Economic Development Ethics | IEDC | Webinar 

May 20 |  State of the City | GHP | Houston 

May 22 | Long-term Equitable Development | Kinder Institute | Houston

May 29 | Peer Planning Workshop: Recovery | UASI | Stafford


June 9-11 | Economic Future Forum | IEDC | Utah 

June 11 -14 | Basic Economic Development Course | TEDC |Rockwall 

June 12-14 | Mid-Year Conference | TEDC | Rockwall

June 17-19 | Regional Transportation Conference | NADO |Ohio

June 19 | Trends in Online Site Election | TEDC | Webinar

June 20 | Feeding the Masses, and Your Economy  | IEDC | Webinar 

June 25 | UpSkill Works Conference | GHP | Houston 

August 1 | Governor's Small Business Workshop | League City 


August 23 | Sales Tax Workshop  | TEDC | Abilene 

September 10 | Women's Issues in Transportation Conference  | TRB | California

October 9-11 | Annual Conference | TEDC | San Antonio 

October 13-16 | Annual Conference | IEDC | Indiana 

October 19-22 | Annual Training Conference | NADO | Nevada

The Economic Development Digest is published monthly by the

Houston-Galveston Area Council, 3555 Timmons Lane, Suite 120, Houston, TX 77027
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