This year, for the first time, the GCRF Advisory Board announced its preferred priorities for the types of projects board members consider most important to the region.
The Gulf Coast Restoration Fund (GCRF) was established after the settlement resulting from the BP oil spill. Established in 2018, the GCRF annually reviews funding requests that look to increase economic activity in the Gulf Coast region.
Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, higher education institutions, community colleges, ports, airports, public-private partnerships, private for-profit entities, private nonprofit entities and local economic development entities.
The GCRF Advisory Board has announced this week that the web portal for applicants to submit their project requests for this cycle will open at midnight Monday, June 5 and close at 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 28. This year, for the first time, the GCRF Advisory Board announced its preferred priorities for the types of projects board members consider most important to the region.
“Proposed projects should demonstrate a clear and achievable positive economic impact,” said Jamie Miller, advisory board chairman, in a statement. “The region has been given a great opportunity to invest in projects that move the economic needle.”
The board’s priorities as released are as follows:
- Private-sector projects that create jobs with higher-than-average wages, expand the tax base and leverage private capital or other sources of funding.
- Projects that enhance the competitiveness and marketability of industrial sites, commercial parks and technology clusters.
- Innovative new programs to grow business and entrepreneurism.
- New attractions or the expansion of an existing attraction that demonstrates the ability to draw new visitors.
- Projects that demonstrate the ability to extend the stay of visitors to the region.
- Infrastructure identified as critical or of high importance to the region. Transportation, utilities, fiber optics and energy infrastructure necessary to attract commercial development or expand existing business. Projects should have the endorsement of responsible regulatory agency such as Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality and/or Health; Public Service Commission; Regional Utility Authority; Gulf Regional Planning Commission; airport or port authority; county board of supervisors or city council.
- Projects that promote livable and walkable downtowns
- Projects that create new and expanded recreational opportunities.
- Projects that directly enhance the quality of life for residents and can be demonstrated through evidenced based research.
The GCRF board is encouraging applicants to describe how their project achieves a positive economic outcome with financial analysis, return on investment or other market research.
In addition, the Mississippi Development Authority, which oversees the fund, will be holding a series of workshops to provide information and guidance to communities and those interested in applying for funds through the program. MDA says the workshops will give attendees an opportunity to learn about the latest updates and key aspects of the grant application process.
The following is the schedule for the workshops:
- Monday, June 5, 2 p.m. – George County Board of Supervisors Meeting Room 329 Ratliff Street, Lucedale, MS, 39452
- Tuesday, June 6, 2 p.m. – Jackson County Board of Supervisors Meeting Room 2915 Canty Street, Pascagoula, MS 39567-4239
- Wednesday, June 7, 9 a.m. – Pearl River Community College Cafeteria – West Dining Room 101 Highway 11 N, Poplarville, MS 39470
- Wednesday, June 7, 2 p.m. – Hancock County Board of Supervisors Meeting Room 854 Highway 90, Suite A, Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
- Thursday, June 8, 9 a.m. – Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Hospitality Resort Management Center 420 Debuys Road, Biloxi, MS 39531
- Thursday, June 8, 2 p.m. – Stone County Board of Supervisors Meeting Room 323 Cavers Avenue E, Wiggins, MS 39577