In a unique and innovative effort to spur economic development, the United States Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded $800,000 to the University of Houston-Victoria.
The investment—which will be leveraged with other local and state funding sources—is part of an overall strategy to strengthen the area’s regional economy through the construction of a Regional Center for Economic Development.
The $8.5 million, 40,000 square foot, state of the art facility, will be constructed on the UH-Victoria campus. The university will own, operate and maintain the building and provide available leasing to community groups.
“EDA’s investment will enable our community to establish a common, comprehensive vision for regional economic development and give our students the best possible learning environment,” said Mr. Wayne B. Beran, project leader for the center and vice president for administration and finance at UHV. “We are pleased to have the generous support of the Department of Commerce.”
Once constructed, the regional center will house a variety of partners providing programs aimed at fostering research and development, training and education, entrepreneurial development, strategic planning and technology transfer.
The service area for the regional center will comprise of Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Karnes, Lavaca, Matagorda, Refugio, Victoria and Wharton counties.
Mr. Joe Brannan, executive director for the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission and whose organization will be a future tenant at the center, applauds the project and cooperation among members of the community in support of the center.
“The regional planning commission looks forward to the opportunities that will exist through the center and its affiliated partnerships. Future successes will benefit local and county governments, businesses, organizations and agencies, as well as families throughout the region.”
Other partners committed to the project and anticipating future offices in the center include: UHV Small Business Development Center, Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Texas Workforce Solutions, De-Go-La Resource Conversation and Development, Inc., UHV School of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship and the Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission. Further partners will be added as the project progresses.
Additionally, working affiliations with local economic development centers, chambers of commerce, river authorities, convention and visitors’ bureaus, county extension offices, farm bureaus, ports of call and airports, colleges and local, state and federal agencies will also be established.
According to UHV President Dr. Tim Hudson, whose academic background is in economic development, “The Regional Center of Economic Development is an innovative, cutting-edge approach to economic development and the education of future leaders in this important arena. The impact of this project can be far reaching and serve as a model to other communities in the nation by putting practitioners and learners in one place.”
Mr. Sandy K Baruah, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development with the Department of Commerce, shares the same sentiments and its lasting improvements of the regional center within the community.
"I am confident that this project will be an important asset in your region''s economic development strategy."
The center follows a June 2006 announcement where Governor Rick Perry authorized $6.7 million in tax revenue bonds to fund the project at UHV—a success Hudson credits to strong leadership.
“Rep. Geanie Morrison, former Senator Ken Armbrister and the UH System Board of Regents have been instrumental in supporting this endeavor. We are fortunate to have leaders who recognize the importance of these capital investments.”
Construction of the regional economic development center is expected to commence in late 2007 with a scheduled completion date of early 2009.
It is anticipated that the completed efforts will create approximately 300 jobs and an additional $981,000 in public and private investments.
For more information on the EDA investment or the regional center, please contact Mr. Wayne B. Beran at (361)570-4811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.