Economic Development Digest
Economic Development News
H-GAC's Fall Planning Workshop - December 4
Please join us for the Houston-Galveston Area Council's Fall Planning Workshop which will be held virtually from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, December 4. This annual half-day workshop series for local governments features presentations on best planning practices for communities. This year's workshop will focus on Responsible Revitalization, expanding on the 2019 Fall Planning Workshop theme, Building Equity into planning through equitable housing, jobs and transportation. Registration is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.
Second Annual Rural and Small Town Downtown Revitalization Summit Held on October 27
H-GAC's Bringing Back Main Street initiative hosted the second annual Rural and Small Town Downtown Revitalization Summit on Tuesday October 27. Speakers discussed ways to attract visitors and residents to downtowns, support and maintain downtown businesses, and plan for growth in downtowns during COVID-19. Presentation materials and the session recording are available here. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520. This event has been approved for TMLI credit for non-TML events.
Prairie View A&M Rural Workforce Academy To Be Featured in National Webinar on EDA and HBCUs
On November 12 at 3:00pm, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, in collaboration with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation, is hosting a webinar entitled, "EDA and HBCUs: Cultivating Strategic Engagement for Regional Economic Development." This presentation will describe EDA programs and partners for the HBCU community, and how HBCUs can effectively engage with the EDA to support the development of inclusive, innovative, and competitive regional economies. Prairie View A&M’s newly launched pilot initiative, The Rural Workforce Academy, will be a featured, as well as the role the GCEDD played in assisting them with attaining funding. Register Here.
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
EDA Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge
Deadline: December 3, 2020
The SPRINT Challenge is a $25 million national competition designed to support the development or expansion of programs that accelerate technology-based initiatives that respond to the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Investments will be made of up to $750,000 over 18 months and $500,000 over 12 months in organizations working to rapidly address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation. Learn more.

USDA Rural Development Community Connect Grants
Deadline: December 23, 2020
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for Community Connect Grants for Fiscal Year 2021 to provide broadband service in unserved rural areas. Funds can be used to construct facilities used to deploy broadband services to residents, businesses, and essential community facilities (schools, libraries, fire stations etc.) or to cover the cost of providing broadband service free of charge to community facilities for 2 years. State and local governments, both for-profits and non-profits, and limited liability companies are eligible to apply for up to $3,000,000. Learn more.

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance
Deadline: January 29, 2021
The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grant program 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. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is the State of Texas applicant for all Flood Mitigation Assistance projects. Communities must submit their sub-applications to the TWDB for review no later than December 1, 2020. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is the State of Texas application for all Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities projects. Communities must submit their sub-applications to TEDM for review no later than December 1, 2020.

TWDB FY2021 Agricultural Water Conservation Grants
Deadline: February 10, 2020 at 2:00pm
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is now accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2021 Agricultural Water Conservation Grants. Up to $1,200,000 in grant funding is available to eligible political subdivisions and state agencies for agricultural water conservation projects that improve irrigation efficiency, enhance resilience to weather extremes and climate variability, and promote innovation in agriculture. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Cameron Turner at 512-936-6090 or [email protected]. For more information, please view the full Request for Applications and application instructions on the TWDB’s website and read about the success stories and examples of previously funded projects.

TDA Community Development Block Grant (TxCDBG) Funding Opportunities
Deadline: May 3, 2021
The Texas Department of Agriculture’s Texas Community Development Block Grant Program (TxCDBG) helps small cities and rural communities provide decent housing and expand economic opportunities for persons of low- to moderate-income. TxCDBG funds utility infrastructure, disaster response, and unique local economic development projects. Applications are now open for the Community Development (CD) Fund and the Downtown Revitalization and Main Street Programs (DRP/MS). Join TDA for a program update and training webinar on November 19 at 1:00pm.

USDA Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program
Deadline: Ongoing
U.S. Department of Agriculture 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.
USDA Business & Industry CARES Act Guaranteed Loan Program
Deadline: 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.

EDA Public Works Grants
Deadline: Ongoing
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 Jillian Donatto at 631-897-3817. 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.
Upcoming Developments
A new multi-family development has broken ground near the NRG Stadium and the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The project will be located on the northwest corner of Knight Rd and El Paseo St and will include 281 units over five stories, as well as five levels of parking. It is expected to be complete in 2022.

A three-building industrial project is planned on Weatherford Farms at 13223 Murphy Rd. The 568,084 square foot project will front FM 1092 and Mula Rd and is set to deliver in late 2021.
Goya Foods Inc. is working on an $80 million expansion at its distribution facility at 30602 Goya Rd in Waller County. The expansion adds 400,000 square feet and will create an additional 50 jobs for the facility.
UTHealth Behavioral Sciences is building a 220,000 square foot educational mental health hospital near the Texas Medical Center in Houston. It will be located at 5601 W. Leland Anderson St and it is expected to open in late 2021.
Mixed-use project Montrose Collective has topped-out. The development will consist of 185,000 square feet of retail, office space, and a Houston public library. It is expected to be complete in Fall 2021.

Construction has started on Beacon Hill, a 521-acre mixed-use development. The project will be located on US 290 in Waller, and include an 870 home residential community.

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