Downtown Strategic Plan Nears Completion
10 Jul 2020
Giddings, TX (June 29, 2020) –
With information gleaned from more than 200 survey respondents, a walking tour of downtown, meetings with the Giddings Economic Development Corporation and downtown business owners, and interviews with more than 20 other stakeholders, the Goodman Corporation has announced that it is the final phase of the development of the City of Giddings Downtown Strategic Plan. The company expects to have a document ready for review by the end of July 2020.
“The brief included a directive that the plan should be desirable, realistic and attainable within the next 2-3 years. We will likely use some GEDC funds for the recommended projects, but realize that we will need to supplement with state or federal grants to get things moving more quickly,” stated Tonya Britton, GEDC Executive Director. “I’ve been a part of the process so I’m familiar with some of the ideas the company plans to present, but am eager to see how they bring everything together. I believe that the community will be pleased with their efforts,” she said. The Goodman Corporation is still accepting feedback and a link to the survey can be found online at www.giddingsedc.com.
The GEDC was prompted to apply for a strategic planning grant after investing in downtown re-development efforts and hitting a wall on issues such as pedestrian safety and parking on the south side of Highway 290. “These issues were bigger than our organization and we needed help bringing stakeholders together, as well as coming up with a plan that could connect the downtown with the GEDC’s need to bring water lines down to the business park,” stated Britton. The need to include both downtown and the extended water line infrastructure within the same a strategic plan became evident after the city applied for a Harvey Supplemental grant and was short-listed but did not make the cut. Many large infrastructure grants from state and federal agencies require that a strategic plan is in place that includes infrastructure.
Last fall, the GEDC submitted an application to the Texas Department of Agriculture to participate in a pilot program and the city was selected to receive a grant of $30,000 to develop a strategic plan with a focus on the city’s downtown district. There was no matching funds requirement. The Goodman Corporation was hired in early March and their strategic planning work has been fully funded by the grant; however, the company has also been hired to complete an additional project: the development of a CARES ACT Pandemic Recovery Grant, which was announced last month.
The GEDC has agreed to pay approximately $35,000 to the Goodman Corporation to develop an economic recovery grant that will be submitted to the federal Economic Development Administration. The GEDC and the City of Giddings are requesting approximately $2.5 million to assist with water lines to the business park and some infrastructure improvements downtown. “If we get the pandemic recovery grant to pay for the water lines to the business park and for additional infrastructure, and a workable strategic plan for the entire downtown, we will have leapfrogged over several years’ worth of scrimping and saving to pay for these projects and we can aggressively begin marketing the business park this fall,” Britton explained. The status of the city’s federal Economic Development Administration grant application is expected to be announced no later than September 2020.