TEEX’s Technology & Economic Development Division is conducting a Hurricane Ike impact study of eight Texas counties with the help of a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
The 18-month project will involve collecting data on the economic impact of the 2008 hurricane in each of eight affected counties and some cities, and then disseminating findings to partners, who are working to mitigate long-term effects and support recovery, said TEEX Program Director Joan Quintana.
The goal is to pinpoint devastated areas with the greatest needs and long-term effects that are preventing or prolonging recovery. “This will help the impacted counties fill the gaps,” Quintana added.
The project team has already begun holding local meetings and discussions to gather perspectives from officials, responders, businesses and residents in the impacted counties. Some participants were identified with assistance from Bob McKee and Clint Arnett of TEEX Urban Search & Rescue and Tony Alotto of Infrastructure Training and Safety Institute, Quintana said. In addition to working across TEEX divisions, the Ike Impact Study is providing an opportunity for the agency to partner with AgriLife Extension.
“AgriLife is going to help us develop and test a model for assessing impacts of storms like Ike,” Quintana explained. “Then, we’ll be working with TEEX’s Knowledge Engineering Center to put the newly developed tool online for use in assessing future storms.”
Texas counties included in the study are Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Orange and Tyler.