A $5 million grant has been awarded to Port Aransas’ University of Texas Marine Science Institute to repair multiple buildings and help establish the Center for Coastal Ocean Science, officials announced at the institute today, Thursday, Aug. 1.
The grant will be matched with $1.25 million in local investment through the Coastal Bend Council of Government, according to Dennis Alvord, deputy assistant secretary for regional affairs for the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Alvord was in Port Aransas to make the announcement at UTMSI. Speakers at the ceremony included Dr. Robert Dickey, director of UTMSI; U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud; State Rep Todd Hunter; Barbara Canales, Nueces County judge; Brent Chesney, Nueces County Precinct 4 Commissioner; Wendy Moore, City of Port Aransas mayor pro-tem; and Dr. Dean Appling, associate dean of the College of Natural Science at the University of Texas at Austin.
While the grant will help repair multiple buildings as well as create the Center for Coastal Ocean Science, it also will allow for the installation of a new seawater system to support the campus in the event of future hurricanes or other severe weather events, Alvord said.
Regional planning efforts to obtain the grant were led by the Coastal Bend Council of Governments. The EDA funds the Coastal Bend Council of Governments to bring together public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap that strengthens the regional economy, supports private capital investment and creates jobs, according to an EDA news release.
This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated the EDA with $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, the release noted.
A full story about the grant will be in the Aug. 8 edition of the South Jetty.