Economic Development Digest
Economic Development News
American Recovery Plan Act Grants Regional Information Session 
On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. Under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) was allocated $3 billion in supplemental funding to assist communities in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks.

The Gulf Coast Economic Development District and the EDA hosted a webinar on August 10 introducing the ARPA new funding opportunities and how to prepare an application for the Investing in America’s Communities challenges.
Elements of Placemaking Workshop – August 20 (Online) 
Livable Centers Elements of Placemaking Under green boxes with people places and wayfinding signage
Register to attend Elements of Placemaking, a free workshop, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, August 20.

The event will be online, and registration is required. 
Placemaking is collaboratively creating or re-imagining public spaces to meet the physical, cultural, and social needs of a community. At this workshop, Fred Kent, a pioneer of the placemaking movement, and local partners in the Houston-Galveston region will share their insights. The program will include discussions about projects in alleyways and on sidewalks, tips to re-energize underutilized buildings and open spaces, and quick placemaking solutions available to all communities. 
For more information, contact Anita Hollmann
Houston Makerspace Transforms Surrounding Neighborhood 
A $5 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) investment funded the renovation of the former Baker Hughes oil manufacturing facility to house the East End Maker Hub. The 300,000-square-foot facility will serve as a community fabrication space and incubator hub with workforce training and apprenticeship programs. Businesses have pledged to fill a portion of their jobs with residents who live nearby. Learn more
Streamlined Forgiveness for PPP from Small Business Administration 
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) launched a streamlined application portal to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans $150,000 or less through participating lenders to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA. This change will help rush relief to over 6.5 million small businesses. The new forgiveness platform began accepting applications from borrowers on August 4. Learn more
NTIA Broadband Grant Programs Update
Broadband Infrastructure Program
The Broadband Infrastructure Program is a $288 million broadband deployment program directed to partnerships between a state, or one or more political subdivisions of a state, and providers of fixed broadband service to support broadband infrastructure deployment to areas lacking broadband, especially rural areas. Applications are due August 17

Tribal Broadband Connectivity
The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is a $980 million program for broadband deployment on tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion. Applications are due September 1.

Connecting Minority Communities
The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program is a $268 million grant program to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) for the purchase of broadband internet access service and eligible equipment or to hire and train information technology personnel. Applications are due December 1

State Small Business Credit Initiative Learning Series  
The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) is offering four-part series to assist all State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) stakeholders with strategy development and program implementation. Sessions will include expert and practitioner insights on the following areas of focus:  
  • Program Design and Administration 
  • SSBCI Technical Assistance 
  • Serving Priority Businesses  
  • Private Financing  
  • SSBCI Program Deep-Dives 
  • Tribal Governments 
The sessions will be August 27, September 24, October 22, and November 19. Registration is $250 per session or $800 for all four sessions for CDFA members. Learn more
Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development Strategies 
The International Economic Development Council is offering a two-day course "Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development Strategies" on August 26-27. This multi-faceted course explores the core aspects of entrepreneurial and small business development, including value-add partnerships, technical assistance programs, financing, business incubation, and more. Entrepreneurs and small businesses stimulate job creation, develop crucial innovations in both products and services, and promote the diversification of the economic base. In this course, you will learn the financial and managerial tools economic developers use to create a climate that encourages entrepreneurial and small business development.

Registration for IEDC members is $650 through August 13. Learn more.  
No-Cost Economic Development Professional Consultations Available through IEDC’s Disaster Recovery Program
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 Jillian Donatto.
Funding Opportunities
NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program
Deadline: August 17, 2021
$288 million in grant funding is available for the deployment of broadband infrastructure through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Infrastructure Program. Grants will be awarded to covered partnerships between political subdivisions of a state and providers of fixed broadband service. Learn more.

USDA Farm Labor Housing Direct Loans & Grants 
Deadline: November 1, 2021 
This U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program assists qualified applicants who cannot obtain commercial credit on terms that will allow them to charge rents that are affordable to low-income tenants. Borrowers must have sufficient qualifications and experience to develop and operate the project. Learn more

NTIA Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program  
Deadline: December 1, 2021 
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is accepting applications for the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, which will direct $268 million for expanding broadband access to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and consortia led by an HBCU, TCU, or MSI that also include a minority business enterprise or tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more.

DOC RESTORE Act Direct Component—Construction and Non-Construction Activities, Gulf Coast Restoration  
Deadline: December 31, 2021 
U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) extended the deadline for Gulf Coast Restoration projects. This announcement applies only to the Direct Component, for eligible construction and non-construction activities, including projects with or without a non-federal share for another federally funded project. This announcement also includes planning assistance needed to prepare the Multiyear Implementation Plan (Multiyear Plan) required by the RESTORE Act. Learn more

USDA Rural Energy for America Program 
Deadline: October 31, 2021, January 31, 2022, and March 31, 2022 
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems; and to make energy efficiency improvements, conduct energy audits and provide development assistance. The deadlines to apply for grants are October 31, 2021, and March 31, 2022. Applications for technical assistance grants are due January. 31, 2022. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. Learn more.     

EDA Public Works Grants
Deadline: Ongoing
U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) 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 Jillian Donatto at 631-897-3817. Learn more.   

USDA Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program
Deadline: Ongoing
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development provides funding to construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities in rural areas. Rural communities can use these funds to build or modernize schools, health care clinics, libraries, and public safety facilities. Learn more.

EPA Brownfield Grants
Deadline: Ongoing
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has grants available for cleaning up brownfields in your community. Brownfields are properties that have been contaminated by pollutants or hazardous waste. The EPA offers Area-Wide Planning Grants, Assessment Grants, Revolving Loan Fund Grants, Cleanup Grants, Multipurpose Grants, and Job Training Grants. Learn more.
Regional Economic Trends
H-GAC has compiled regional economic indicators for the 13-county region, including monthly and yearly changes in unemployment rates, single and multi-family permits, and sales tax receipts. Download the PDF.

For more regional economic data visit:
Upcoming Developments
Work on Alders at Cross Creek is underway at Cross Creek Ranch, a master-planned community in Fulshear. The senior living facility will feature 172 units and a 19,000square-foot amenity center. The community is expected to be complete in early 2023. 
Empire West Business Park in Brookshire will soon break ground on its second phase. Phase two will consist of 6 buildings totaling 2.3 million square feet and will deliver in the second quarter of 2022. 
The second phase of Fort Bend Town Center broke ground on 300,000 square feet in early August at the intersection of State Highway 6 and the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road. The Fort Bend Town Center II will consist of 200,000 square feet of retail, 50,000 square feet of restaurants, and 50,000 square feet of entertainment space when built out. Phase two is expected to be complete in late 2023. 
A multi-family project for residents age 55 and older is under construction at 21901 Gosling Road in Spring. Cadence Creek will include 189 units and it is expected to open next summer.  
Biotics Research Corp. has broken ground on a new headquarters in the Rosenberg Business Park at 3155 FM 2218. The 87,569 square-foot facility will add 25 jobs and it is expected to be completed by 2023.

Compiled from information in Community Impact Newspapers and the Houston Business Journal.
Upcoming Events
August 12 | Membership 101 | GHP 
August 17 | Unlocking Capital for BIPOC-owned Businesses | IEDC, CDFA 
September 28-30 | Intro Tax Credit Finance WebCourse | CDFA 
December 8-11 | 2021 National Brownfields Training Conference | EPA & ICMA | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 
November 11-12 | Texas Municipal League Economic Development Conference | TML | Bastrop, Texas 
GCEDD Logo Texas with arrow around the bottom
Gulf Coast Economic Development District | 713-627-3200

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