Economic Development Digest
Economic Development News
Ryan Guerra, Daniella Schiener, and Larry McManus to Present at Next GCEDD Board Meeting on October 2
GCEDD Logo Texas with arrow around the bottom
The Gulf Coast Economic Development District will meet online on Friday, October 2, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Ryan Guerra, Co-Founder of Skylark Wireless, will present their innovative, low-cost, scalable solution to last mile internet connection for rural Texas. Danielle Schiener, Executive Director of Conroe EDC, will present on VGXI, Inc.’s move to become the first occupant of Conroe’s Deison Technology Park. Larry McManus, Director of Business & Community Development, Office of the Governor, will give an update on the Coronavirus Supply Chain Strike Force.

Please register in advance. Visit the GCEDD webpage for meeting minutes, presentations, and information about upcoming GCEDD board meetings. 
Second Annual Rural and Small-Town Downtown Revitalization Summit on October 27
H-GAC's Bringing Back Main Street initiative will host the second annual Rural and Small Town Downtown Revitalization Summit from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27. This event will be online.

Planned topics include doing business during COVID-19, including ways to attract visitors and residents to downtowns, support and maintain downtown businesses, and plan for growth in downtowns.

Registration is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.
Facilitating Parking for Livable Centers Events This Week
Parking logo with large P to look like a parking sign
Whether in a small town or big city, parking is a key component of how we conduct business in the Houston-Galveston region. This year, the Houston-Galveston Area Council's annual Land Use/Transportation Workshop will be presented online on September 18, for a half-day workshop and will kick off with a virtual evening forum on September 17. 

From 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, September 17, explore how the current environment and future innovations are affecting how we plan for parking and how parking may change how we develop in the Houston-Galveston region. Registration is required.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, September 18, learn how to invigorate Main Streets, Downtowns, or Town Centers with parking solutions that leverage communities’ existing resources, enhance community context, and build partnerships that incentivize new investment based on community needs. Registration is required. 
Recreation Economy at USDA: Economic Development Resources for Rural Communities
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a resource guide to provide rural community leaders and economic development practitioners a complete list of programs at Rural Development, Forest Service, and National Institute for Food and Agriculture that can be used to support recreational economies in rural America. This resource guide addresses key factors necessary to build a sustainable recreational economy including natural resource management, conservation activities, infrastructure investment, business development and more.
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 US 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
EDA Public Works Grants (including CARES Act funding)
Deadline: Ongoing, recommended to apply as soon as possible
U.S. 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 Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520. Learn more.   
Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Grants
Deadline: Ongoing
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has grants available for cleaning up brownfields in your community. Brownfields are properties that have been contaminated by pollutants or hazardous waste. They offer Area-Wide Planning Grants, Assessment Grants, Revolving Loan Fund Grants, Cleanup Grants, Multipurpose Grants, and Job Training Grants. Learn more.
USDA Community Facilities (CF) 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. USDA 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.
USDA Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP)
Deadline: Ongoing
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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.
Business & Industry CARES Act Guaranteed Loan Program
Deadline: Ongoing

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.
EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants
Deadline: September 22, 2020
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers grants for workforce training programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents in full-time jobs in the environmental field. The EPA encourages applicants to develop their curricula based on local labor market assessments and employers’ hiring needs, while also delivering comprehensive training that allows participants to secure multiple certifications. Learn more.
USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Education and Workforce Development
Deadline: September 24, 2020 
In Fiscal Year 2020, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture added a new area under the USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative's Education and Workforce Development Program to support the Agricultural Workforce Training Grants program. The program seeks to develop new workforce training programs and expand, improve, or renew existing workforce training programs at community, junior, and technical colleges/institutes. This program aims to expand job-based, experiential learning opportunities for students to enable a technology and data savvy workforce for 21st century agricultural jobs. Learn more.

DOL Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants
Deadline: October 8, 2020
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has made $40 million available for the Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants program to expand community colleges’ ability to meet the labor market demand for a skilled workforce. Grants can also help build the capacity of community colleges to address challenges associated with the coronavirus, such as expanding online and technology-enabled learning. DOL expects to fund approximately 8 to 16 grants of up to $2 million for single institutions and up to $5 million for consortium applicants. Learn more.

EDA Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Talent Challenge
Deadline: October 14, 2020 for proposals
U.S. Economic Development Administration's (EDA) Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is accepting proposals for the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Talent Challenge. Funding, up to $300,000 per applicant, is available for governmental and nonprofit entities working to implement STEM apprenticeship models in their regions, especially projects that will expand work-based learning for adults, increase regional innovation capacity, and expand diversity in STEM. View this informational webinar.

EPA Water Infrastructure Financing Program
Deadline: October 15, 2020 for letters of interest
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the FY2020 notice of funding opportunity for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program. This program accelerates investment in critical water infrastructure through long-term, low cost, supplemental credit assistance under customized terms to creditworthy water and wastewater projects of national and regional significance. Construction-ready projects in three areas: updating aging infrastructure; reducing exposure to contaminants; and water reuse and recycling will be prioritized. Learn more.

USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I
Deadline: October 22, 2020.

Small businesses are eligible to apply for up to $100,000 in funding for early or "seed" stage research and development that has a commercial potential through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Phase I. Topic areas include forests and related resources; plant production and protection; animal production or protection; conservation of natural resources; food science and nutrition; rural and community development; aquaculture; biofuels and biobased products; and small and midsized farms. A Phase I application should concentrate on research that will demonstrate the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept, describe the potential market for the innovation and will be a prerequisite to further USDA SBIR support in Phase II. Learn more. 

GLO Community Development Block Grants Mitigation
Deadline: October 28, 2020
The Texas General Land Office (GLO) 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 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 GLO website. More detail can be found in the CDBG-MIT Competition Application Guide. Contact Justin Bower at 713-499-6653 if you have questions or would like to request assistance.
FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Funding Programs
Applications Open: September 30, 2020
On August 4, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) posted the Fiscal Year 2020 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunities for the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grant program. FEMA’s two competitive mitigation grant programs provide states, local communities, tribes, and territories funding for eligible mitigation activities. To learn more about each program, see the BRIC Fact Sheet and FMA Fact Sheet.
Upcoming Developments
Modera Washington is underway at 2520 Washington Avenue, Houston. The eight-story midrise will contain 341 units and it is expected to open in late 2021. 
The Paramount plans to break ground later this year in the River Oaks area, just past Highland Village in Houston. The 25-story, luxury condo will be at 3723 Westheimer Road and will consist of 44 standard units and six penthouse units. It is expected to be complete in the next two years.
VGXI Inc., a contract manufacturer of plasmid DNA for vaccines and gene therapies, will break ground on a 240,000-square-foot facility in Conroe’s Deison Technology Park later this year. The first phase is expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2021. 
Bishop Square Business Park will break ground this month at 14914 Mueschke Road, Cypress. The 4-acre park will consist of 48,600 square feet of space across 10 buildings. It is expected to be complete in 2021. 
Cypress Health & Wellness Campus will be located on 30 acres off U.S. Highway 290 near the Grand Parkway. The 60,000-square-foot office building is expected to open in 2022.

Compiled from information in Community Impact Newspapers and Houston Business Journal.
Upcoming Events

September 4, 18 | Economic Development Sales Tax Workshop | TEDC

Sept 17 | Big Radius Tool Webinar | StatsAmerica 

Sept 18 | State of Education | GHP

Sept 22 | PACE Program Capitalization | CDFA

Sept 22-23 | Real Estate Development and Reuse | IEDC

Sept 22-24 | National Small Business Week | SBA

Sept 22-25 | Economic Development Academy | IEDC

Sept 23-24 | Intro Infrastructure Finance | CDFA

September 23 | Resources for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs | Office of the Governor

Sept 24 | Business Continuity Planning | IEDC

Sept 25 | State of the Houston Region | GHP

Oct 19 – 21 | 2020 Annual Training Conference | NADO

October 28- 30 | PastForward | National Trust for Historic Preservation
GCEDD Logo Texas with arrow around the bottom
Gulf Coast Economic Development District | 713-627-3200

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