Economic Development Digest
Economic Development News
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
Through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), metropolitan cities, counties, and states are entitled to a federal grant from Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Eligible entities may now request their allocation through the U.S. Treasury. Estimated relief allocations total over $1 billion for eligible municipalities in the Houston-Galveston region.
NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program NOFO Released
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced the availability of $288 million in grant funding for the deployment of broadband infrastructure. Grants will be awarded to partnerships between a state or political subdivisions of a state and providers of fixed broadband service. More information about the program, including requirements for grant applications, can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. NTIA is also hosting a series of webinars to further inform the public about the program. Applications are due August 17.
A More Connected Region: H-GAC's Broadband Planning Tool Launch Event
On May 13, H-GAC hosted a workshop to launch a regional broadband planning support tool. The site features a continuously updated grant database, 15 interactive maps and data dashboards, state and federal policy tracking, reference guides, and tools to develop public-private partnerships.

Expert speakers, including Heather Mills from CTC Technology and Energy, Chip Spann with Connected Nation, and Greg Santoro with NRTC Rural Utilities Cooperative introduced current federal funding sources and potential partners for local governments. Theo Melancon with the City of Dayton shared the story of the City's municipally owned broadband network: DayNet.

A recording of the event and speakers materials and the new H-GAC Broadband planning tool are available on our website.
2021 Livable Centers Call for Planning Study Partners
Livable Centers Call of Study Sponsors with silhouettes and megaphone
H-GAC is seeking proposals from local governments and other eligible study sponsors to conduct Livable Centers planning studies. The proposed study must be in Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, or Waller counties. Livable Centers are places where people can live, work, and play with less reliance on their cars. The studies encourage a complementary mix of land uses that are designed to be walkable, connected, and accessible by multiple modes of transportation. This application is a two-step process; the first step is to submit a Notice of Intent to Apply by 5 p.m. Thursday, May 27. Learn more.
EDA Seeks Applications for Targeted Pre-Development Technical Assistance to Distressed Small, Rural, and Underserved Communities
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is accepting applications for National Technical Assistance cooperative agreements to provide guidance and direct technical assistance to distressed small, rural, and underserved communities in pre-development activities associated with accessing EDA programs and services. Any questions regarding this opportunity should be sent to RNTA@eda.gov. Examples of successful projects are listed in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. Applications are due June 1. Learn more.
FTA Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Planning
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity for a pilot program to support communities in integrating land use and transportation planning. Comprehensive planning funded through the program must examine ways to improve economic development and ridership, foster multimodal connectivity and accessibility, improve transit access for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, engage the private sector, identify infrastructure needs, and enable mixed-use development near transit stations. Learn more.
Grant Funding for Community Navigators Program
Through the Community Navigator Pilot Program, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will engage with states, local governments, and other organizations in targeted outreach for small businesses in underserved communities. The American Rescue Plan provided $100 million to establish Community Navigator Programs for individuals with disabilities and/or in minority, immigrant, rural, and other underserved communities across the country. SBA will soon be announcing a new grant funding opportunity. 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 Cheryl Mergo.
Funding Opportunities
USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program
Deadline: June 4, 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awards Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program grants to help provide educational and medical services in rural areas. Eligible applicants include most state and local governmental entities, federally recognized tribes, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses. View a map of recently funded DLT projects. Awards range from $50,000 to $1,000,000. A minimum 15% match is required. Learn more.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation – RFPs for Economic Mobility Charitable Funding
Opening: May 31, 2021
Deadline: June 25, 2021
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation focuses on partnerships with nonprofit organizations addressing issues fundamental to economic mobility and social progress in low- and moderate-income communities. Their Economic Mobility funding opportunity seeks proposals from community partners on projects supporting affordable housing, small businesses, and neighborhood revitalization. Applicants must be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and not classified as a private foundation. Learn more.

USDA High Energy Cost Grants
Deadline: July 6, 2021
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development grants assist energy providers and other eligible entities in lowering energy costs for families and individuals in areas with extremely high per-household energy costs (275 percent of the national average or higher). Funds may be used to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities. Learn more.

Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity Grants
Deadline: July 12, 2021
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program makes competitive awards for surface transportation infrastructure projects. Funds can be used for capital investments or planning projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. Eligible applicants include local governments, transit agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations, and other political subdivisions of State or local governments. The maximum request is $25 million. The minimum request is $5 million, or $1 million for rural projects. 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-NRCS Community Compost & Food Waste Reduction Pilot Project
Deadline: August 15, 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 will range from $45,000 to $90,000. 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 has 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
The Freeport Harbor Channel Improvement Project broke ground on April 8. The project is a strategic initiative to deepen the port to depths ranging from 51 to 56 feet. The project, a partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is expected to take five years to complete and cost more than $295 million.

A 148,000-square-foot Costco Business Center will anchor The Grid mixed-use development in Stafford. The project will be off Highway 59 and Kirkwood Road. The Grid is expected to include 350,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, 500,000 square feet of office space, and 2,400 residential units.
 
The Gregory Apartments is a planned three-story apartment complex at 22260 Valley Ranch Parkway in New Caney. The 260,000-square-foot project will consist of 269 units and is targeted to be complete in the summer of 2022 with some units becoming available in 2021.
 
Seton Lake Logistics Center broke ground on 16 acres at Seton Lake Drive and State Highway 249. The 225,704-square-foot cross-dock building is expected to be completed in October.
 
JLL’s Project and Development Services announced the topping out of its latest project, a nine story, 365,000-square-foot medical tower at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. A multi-year project, the center broke ground in early 2020 and is slated to be patient-ready as a Level II trauma center by the spring of 2022.
 
The Valley Ranch Medical District broke ground within the 1,400-acre Valley Ranch master-planned community in northeast Montgomery County. The health and wellness-centered district will include a regional hospital with more than 250 beds, and space for a medical school campus and a medical research facility. The site plans include apartments, restaurants, medical offices, and hotels. The first medical groups could be open for business in early 2023.
 
Magnolia Village is breaking ground this fall at FM 1488 and Spur 149. The first phase of the mixed-use development will include 300 multi-family units and retail and office space over 36 acres. The first phase of Magnolia Village is expected to be completed by the fall of 2022.
 
Worthington Manor at the Lakes of Wedgewood is expected to open in November. The senior living community will include 72 assisted-living apartments and 46 memory care units.
 
Heritage Senior Residences will break ground this month at the northeast corner of Center Street and Moy Street. The affordable senior living complex will consist of 135 units and it is expected to become available in 2022.

Compiled from information in the American Journal of Transportation, Community Impact Newspapers, the Houston Business Journal, the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center, and The Woodlands Online.
Upcoming Events
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