Economic Development Digest 
| Economic Development News
Gulf Coast Economic Development District Quarterly Board Meeting Will Be July 10 Online

The Gulf Coast Economic Development District will hold its next meeting on Friday, July 10, from 10 a.m. to noon. Please register in advance. Visit the GCEDD webpage for meeting minutes, presentations, and information about upcoming GCEDD board meetings.
EDA Announces Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition With CARES Act Funding

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) intends to release innovation and entrepreneurship competition with $25 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). More details are forthcoming. Potential applicants must address the unique operating environment necessitated by the coronavirus to support one or more of the following areas of interest:
  • Biotech/health security/supply chain innovation
  • Regional, national, and government connectivity
  • Innovation & entrepreneurship
  • Access to Capital 
The EDA continues to accept applications for CARES Act supplemental funds (EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance) intended to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. Funds are available through the 2020 Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunity (FY20 PWEAA NOFO, see page 46). The Gulf Coast Economic Development District will be working to provide technical assistance for applicants. E-mail Josh Owens with any questions.

EDA CARES Act Funding Webinar Hosted by H-GAC and GCEDD

Join the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the GCEDD at 2 p.m Thursday, June 18, for a webinar with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to learn how your community can access available grant funding for economic development through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
  • Jeffery Sjostrom of the Galveston Economic Development Partnership will demonstrate how the City of Galveston has leveraged Economic Development Administration funding to speed economic recovery.
  • Jason Wilson of the Economic Development Administration will discuss the CARES Act funding available and their criteria for making investments. 
  • Joshua Owens of the Gulf Coast Economic Development District will present on the application process and the information you will need to submit a competitive application. 
Please register for the webinar in advance. 
Regional Spotlight: Tomball Innovation Lab

The Tomball Innovation Lab (TIL), new to the H-GAC region in 2020, offers a space for local inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, and other creatives to design and produce a wide range of projects. It is the fourth dedicated Maker Lab in the Harris County Public Library system. Read more about the innovation lab.
Anticipated Mixed-use Development Project in Fulshear Informed by Livable Centers Study

The Fulshear City Council voted unanimously on May 19 to rezone 125 acres to allow a new mixed-use development near the city's downtown. The mixed-use component--centered on commercial areas with offices, restaurants, retail shops, and medical offices--aims to spur economic development in the area. The concept for this project comes from the Fulshear Livable Centers Study completed by the Houston-Galveston Area Council in 2018. 

H-GAC's Livable Centers program works with local communities to reimagine auto-focused infrastructure, policies, and programs to be more multi-modal friendly.
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Applications Open for Nearly $1.2 Billion in Mitigation Project Funding for Texas

The Texas General Land Office is accepting applications for its Competition Applications for the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) program. More information is available in the Application Guide, and the Application Portal can be found online. 

H-GAC is available to provide data and technical assistance to its members on their applications and in coordinating the development of projects involving multiple jurisdictions. Contact Justin Bower at 713-499-6653 or if you have any questions or would like to request assistance.
Open Funding For Small Cities and Rural Communities through Texas Community Development Block Grants

Texas Community Development Block Grants (TxCDBG) remain open to non-entitlement cities under 50,000 in population and non-entitlement counties that have a non-metropolitan population under 200,000 (and are not eligible for direct CDBG funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD]). Application deadlines for the following grant funding programs will be September 1, 2020: 
HUD released new income limits to be used by all TxCDBG grant programs listed above and updated resources for beneficiary documentation for a proposed TxCDBG project, including the 2020 survey questionnaire and methodology manual, and 2020 low moderate income summary data (LMISD).
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 can work remotely--are completely free of charge to communities in the region.
For more information, contact Joshua Owens at 832-681-2613.
April 2020 Gulf Coast Labor Market Analysis

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Closures of non-essential businesses due to the coronavirus and decline in oil prices led to a loss of 312,100 jobs in the Houston-Galveston region in April 2020. More than 452,000 Houston-area workers are now unemployed. "Not surprisingly, customer-facing industries were the hardest hit," said Parker Harvey regional economist at Workforce Solutions. "Leisure and Hospitality, which includes restaurants, bars, and hotels, accounted for one out of every three jobs lost in April." Not-seasonally adjusted unemployment jumped nearly nine points from March (5.5 percent) to an all-time high 14.2 percent. Read the full report. 
| Funding Opportunities
Economic Development Administration Public Works Grant | Ongoing

The Economic Development Administration supports development in economically distressed areas of the United States by fostering job creation and attracting private investment. These Public Works Grants help communities build the infrastructure they need to support job growth and private investment. If you have an economic development infrastructure need in your community, contact Joshua Owens at 832-681-2613. Learn more. 
Environmental Protection Ageny Brownfield Grants | Ongoing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has grants available for cleaning up brownfields. Brownfields are properties that are contaminated by pollutants or hazardous waste. The EPA offers Area Wide Planning Grants, Assessment Grants, Revolving Loan Fund Grants, Cleanup Grants, and Job Training Grants. Learn more.
Community Facilities (CF) Direct Loan & Grant Program | Ongoing

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Facilities (CF) Direct Loan & Grant program provides funding to construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities in rural areas.  The program has more than $2 billion still available for rural communities to build or modernize education, health care, municipal and public safety facilities this fiscal year. Learn more.
Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) | Ongoing

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loans help rural families and small businesses achieve cost savings by providing loans to qualified consumers to implement durable cost-effective energy efficiency measures. A Letter of Intent is required. Learn more.
USDA Rural Development Business & Inquiry CARES Act Guaranteed Loan Program| Ongoing

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is offering loan guarantees to lenders for their loans to rural businesses and agricultural producers to supplement their working capital to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the economic impacts of the coronavirus. Learn more.
USDA Rural Development Strategic Economic and Community Development | June 30

Strategic Economic and Community Development is a Farm Bill provision allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prioritize projects that support the implementation of regional economic development plans through the following USDA-Rural Development funding programs:
  • Communities Facilities Loans, Grants, and Loan Guarantees
  • Water and Waste Disposal Loans, Grants, and Loan Guarantees
  • Business and Industry Program Loan Guarantees
  • Rural Business Development Grants
Learn more.
Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants (DLT)  | July 13

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program helps rural communities use telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. Learn more.
Community Development Block Grants Mitigation (CDBG-MIT)  | October 28

The Community Development Block Grants Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) program will provide funds to cities, counties, Indian Tribes, and councils of governments to address risks in HUD- and state-designated Most Impacted and Distressed (MID) areas. Three competition applications are open: the 2015 Floods and 2016 Floods State Mitigation Competitions and the Hurricane Harvey State Mitigation Competition. Eligible applicants and examples of eligible projects are posted on the General Land Office website. More detail can be found in the CDBG-MIT Competition Application Guide.
Upcoming Developments 
Roehm plans $350 million chemical plant in Matagorda County near Bay City. Roehm is asking the Bay City Independent School District to limit the taxable value of the asset to $30 million. Construction will start in fourth quarter 2021, with commercial operations beginning by the end of 2023. 

Savion is building a 200-megawatt solar farm worth $183 million. Construction on Brazoria County Solar will start in second quarter 2021 and require 200 workers. Commercial operations will begin in fourth quarter 2022.

The Pavilion at the Groves Apartment Homes broke ground on 20.2 acres at 15951 Woodlands Hills Drive, south of the intersection of Madera Run Parkway and Woodland Hills Drive in Humble. The 318-unit apartment complex broke ground in May and is scheduled for completion in early 2022.

A new $85 million office building is under construction in Katy at 8020 Katy Freeway. The 13-story, 420,000-square-foot office building is expected to create 150 new positions. Construction is expected to be completed by 2021.

The Texas A&M University System will break ground on Texas A&M Innovation Plaza later this year. The $550 million campus will be adjacent to the Texas Medical Center at the intersection of Holcombe Boulevard and Main Street. The Campus will include an existing office building at 1020 Holcombe Blvd., a 19-story, 714-bed student housing tower and a 17-story, 515,000-square-foot medical office building. The student housing is expected to be complete in 2022, and the medical building is scheduled for completion in 2024.

Compiled from reports in Houston Business Journal and Texas A&M University Real Estate Center.

Upcoming Events
June 11 | The Urban Sun Belt: Setting the Agenda | Rice Kinder 

June 16 | Financing Rural Healthcare | CDFA 

June 16 | Equitable Inclusion in Virtual Community Engagement | National Charrette Institute 

June 18 | How COVID-19 Can Inform Resiliency | Security and Sustainability Forum 

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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