U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $7.25 Million in the State of Texas to Support Disaster Recovery and Entrepreneurial Growth Efforts
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $7.25 million in grants to the state of Texas to help the communities of Rockport and Lubbock respond to 2017 disasters and to support entrepreneurial growth efforts in Amarillo.
“President Trump has committed to supporting Texas and helping the state recover since it was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017,” said Secretary Ross. “The Department of Commerce is investing in the cities of Amarillo, Lubbock, and Rockport, where the grant funds will serve a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, so they will be stronger and more resilient when confronted with extreme weather in the future.”
“Investments in Texas communities mean an increased resilience to severe weather events as well as more jobs, business growth, and economic success for the entire state,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “These funds will pay long-term dividends by helping the communities of Amarillo, Lubbock, and Rockport grow and diversify their economies and invest in critical infrastructure. I thank the U.S. Department of Commerce and Secretary Ross for making these grants possible. Working together, we will ensure that the Lone Star State rises to even greater heights.”
“Texas has seen firsthand that a natural disaster can devastate a community, but by diversifying our economy and giving Texans tools to mitigate the impact of future disasters, we can better prepare for the next storm,” said Senator Cornyn. “I’m grateful the Trump Administration is investing in the residents of Rockport, Lubbock, and Amarillo.”
The EDA investments announced today are:
- The city of Rockport will receive $5 million to construct a new building for the Rockport Art Association, housing performing arts, mixed use, and conference space, to facilitate the city's recovery from Hurricane Harvey. The new Rockport Center for the Arts will help the city to retain its existing workforce of artists and entrepreneurs, and bolster tourism, the region's largest economic sector. The new facilities will be located several blocks from a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, adding further incentive for private investment in the future. The Rockport Art Association is a key element of the city's long-term recovery plan and is expected to revitalize the downtown area and attract new businesses.
“Rockport has been working hard and has come a long way since Hurricane Harvey, and this grant will contribute to restoring the tourism industry that is so important to the local economy,” said Congressman Michael Cloud. “I’m excited for the jobs and economic revitalization this grant will generate, and I will continue to work with our communities as we rebuild our region stronger than ever.”
- Amarillo College in Amarillo, Texas will receive $1.5 million for constructing a maker space as the first of three phases of a future Innovation Hub. The maker space is expected to create 400 jobs and will provide access to wood and metal work stations, networking and conference space, 3-D printing equipment, CNC fabrication equipment, a circuit board printer, and an electronics fabrication station. The project will assist the Panhandle region to diversify its regional economy and attract new entrepreneurs to Potter County. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission. EDA funds the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
“Our part of Texas is serious about giving entrepreneurs the chance to succeed, create jobs, and produce a better quality of life,” said Representative Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon). “This Innovation Hub can lead to more economic opportunities, and I am pleased that the Department of Commerce has recognized this effort and decided to support the construction of a maker space. I commend Amarillo College and the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission for their work to create a better future.”
- Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, will receive $750,000 to develop evidence-based, innovative financing strategies and associated tools to facilitate disaster preparation, recovery, and long-term growth of small businesses in hurricane-prone regions. It aims to combine Texas Tech University (TTU)’s internationally-recognized wind science and engineering expertise with University of Houston (UH)’s strong community partnership to address funding, lending, and financial gaps for small business owners located in counties designated with Federal Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Harvey.
This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.