Economic Development Digest
Economic Development News
Recap of GCEDD Board Meeting on July 9
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The Gulf Coast Economic Development District held a quarterly board meeting on July 9. Sophia Zheng, founder and CEO of Bludot Technologies Inc., and Andrea Gardner, City Manager of the City of Watauga, presented on the Bludot business retention and expansion platform. Jeff Taebel, Director of Community and Environmental Planning at H-GAC, presented on H-GAC’s Regional Conservation Initiative. The Board reelected the executive committee to serve in the same capacity for another term. The Board also approved a resolution to request defederalization of the Revolving Loan Fund from the Economic Development Administration. 
Visit the GCEDD webpage for previous meeting minutes, presentations, meeting recordings, and information about upcoming GCEDD board meetings. The next quarterly meeting will be Friday, October 1 at 10 a.m.
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable on July 27  
Join H-GAC's next Bringing Back Main Street roundtable from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, July 27. The event will be online, and registration is required. The City of Tomball will be featured to discuss How Local Food Fuels Your Economy. Presentations will be followed by a roundtable discussion about food trucks, farmers markets, and more.
Speakers include:
  • Mayor Fagan, City of Tomball
  • Constance McDerby, Food and Vine Time Productions
  • Amanda Kelly, Brandi McRill, and Michelle Mielke, Tomball Farmer’s Market
H-GAC hosts quarterly roundtables to help local governments, chambers of commerce, and economic development interests promote the economic revitalization of downtown areas. For more information, contact Sarah Torresen at 832-681-2505.
Next Week is National Small Business Innovation Week
The U.S. Small Business Administration will host 2021 National SBIR Week from July 19 through July 23 for small business innovators. The virtual event will connect entrepreneurs working on advanced technology to the country’s largest source of early-stage funding – the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Small technology firms, innovators, scientists, or researchers seeking more information, including the event schedule and participating agencies, should visit
Prepare for FY2021 BRIC Program, Opening in September  
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will award $1 billion nationally in hazard mitigation funding through the 2021 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program. This is an opportunity to submit proposals for large, regional, watershed, and multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation projects.   

The open application period for BRIC projects will be from September through December 3, 2021. The Texas Department of Emergency Management will review and submit applications to FEMA in January 2022. Learn more.
Community Development Partnership Program Applications Due on July 31
The Community Development Partnership Program (CDPP) from the Lower Colorado River Authority accepts applications for community improvement capital projects for organizations in all or part of Austin, Colorado, Harris, Matagorda, Waller, and Wharton counties in the H-GAC region. CDPP grants are awarded twice a year for capital projects for volunteer fire departments, emergency responders, cities and counties, schools, libraries, civic groups, museums and other nonprofit organizations. The projects must benefit or be available to an entire community and must improve the value of a capital asset by building, renovating, or purchasing equipment. Learn more.
Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grants Open to Applications Until August 2
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grant Program helps create and augment high-wage jobs, accelerate the formation of new businesses, support industry clusters and maximize the use of local productive assets in eligible low-income rural areas. RISE grant funds can specifically be used to:
  • Build or support a business incubator facility
  • Provide worker training to assist in the creation of new jobs
  • Train the existing workforce with skills for higher-paying jobs
  • Develop a base of skilled workers and improve their opportunities to obtain high-wage jobs in new or existing local industries
Grant amounts are awarded competitively with a minimum of $500,000 and a maximum of $2,000,000 over a 4-year period. Learn more.
Our Town Creative Placemaking Grants from The National Endowment for the Arts Open to Applications
“Our Town” creative placemaking grants from the National Endowment of the Arts are available for projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities. These projects require a partnership between a local government entity and a nonprofit organization—one of which must be a cultural organization—and should engage in partnership with other sectors, such as agriculture and food, economic development, environment and energy, health, housing, public safety, transportation, or workforce development. Applications are due August 5Learn 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
USDA-NRCS Community Compost & Food Waste Reduction Pilot Project
Deadline: July 16, 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), under the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP), is soliciting applications from local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year 2021. Awards amounts range between $45,000 and $90,000. Learn more.

EPA Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program
Deadline: July 23, 2021
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program makes investment in critical water infrastructure through innovative and flexible financing that can support a wide range of projects in both large and small communities. For FY 2021, EPA has approximately $5.5 billion for in WIFIA financing. A letter of intent to apply is due by July 23. Learn more.

SBA Community Navigators Pilot Program
Deadline: July 23, 2021
The U.S. Small Business Administration will make grants to partners for targeted outreach to small businesses in underserved communities—including micro and rural businesses, with emphasis on those owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals—to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.

2021 Port Infrastructure Development Grants
Deadline: July 30, 2021
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 appropriated $230 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program to make grants to improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port. These funds are also are available to improve port facilities. The minimum grant award is $1,000,000. Learn more.

USDA Rural Innovation Stronger Economy Grant Program
Deadline: August 2, 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grant Program offers assistance in eligible low-income rural areas to build or support a business incubator facility, provide worker training to assist in the creation of new jobs, train the existing workforce with skills for higher-paying jobs, or develop a base of skilled workers and improve their opportunities to obtain high-wage jobs in new or existing local industries. Grant are awarded competitively with a minimum of $500,000 and a maximum grant amount of $2,000,000 over 4 years. Learn more.
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 Business & Industry CARES Act Guaranteed Loan Program
Deadline: September 15, 2021, or until funds are expended
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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.

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

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
California-based plastics resin logistics company, Plastics Express, announced the creation of 50 new jobs at to the new $75 million Cedar Port Logistics Center in Baytown. Phase 1 is underway, and the 800,405-square-foot building is expected to be complete before the end of the year. Phase 2 will either include one 800,405-square-foot building or two 350,000-square-foot buildings. 
Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center completed construction on its O’Quinn Medical Tower last month. The 12-story, 400,000-square-foot project will be a part of the McNair Campus, which is adjacent to the planned site of TMC3 between Old Spanish Road and Brays Bayou. The O’Quinn Medical Tower will be complete in 2023.
A new 180,000-square-foot Amazon delivery station is opening in League City. It will be located at 2455 Tuscan Lake Boulevard and is expected to open in early 2022. The opening of four other delivery stations across the Houston area will add more than 300 jobs combined.
Intuitive Machines will break ground on a 125,000-square-foot facility in the Houston Spaceport later this year. 
Remy on the Trails will break ground this month as the first phase of a mixed-use project on the west side of Beltway 8, located at Deerwood Road. The 400,000-square-foot, 330-unit multi-family community is the first of two phases of residential development planned for the 24-acre site. Leasing is scheduled to being late 2022.
Compiled from information in Community Impact Newspapers and the Houston Business Journal.
Upcoming Events

July 15 | On Talent Attraction | IEDC
July 16 | SSBCI Briefing | CDFA


July 30 | SSBCI Briefing | CDFA
August 12 | Membership 101 | GHP
August 13 – 27 | ED Sales Tax – Virtual | TEDC


August 19 | The State of Montgomery County | Bisnow


Sept 27-30 | 2021 National Brownfields Training Conference | EPA & ICMA | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Nov 11-12 | Texas Municipal League Economic Development Conference | TML | Bastrop, Texas
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Gulf Coast Economic Development District | 713-627-3200

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