Dan Seal, director of Special Initiatives for the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, and BAHEP Marketing Manager Jimmy Spence met with representatives from the Houston Airport System (HAS), Ellington Field Military Operations and other stakeholders, including Rep. Dennis Paul (TX House District 129), over several weeks in 2015 to develop an application for the DEAAG Program for Ellington Airport.
The Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant Program (DEAAG), created in 1997, is an infrastructure grant program designed to assist defense communities. DEAAG funding is available to local municipalities and counties, as well as other entities. DEAAG funding can be used for the purchase of Department of Defense property, new construction or rehabilitation of facilities in support of job creating projects and opportunities.
The Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC) announced on Dec. 10, 2015, that the DEAAG grant application was approved. The $3.1 million grant, along with additional funds from the Federal Aviation Administration and the HAS, will be used to build a $7.1 million state-of-the-art airport control tower to replace the airport’s tower that was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008.
On Feb. 8, 2016, Seal traveled to Austin, Texas, with Arturo Machuca, general manager of Ellington Airport and the Houston Spaceport, Tim Joniec, director of International and Intergovernmental Development for the Houston Airport System, and Martin Buzak, senior assistant city attorney for the City of Houston, to meet with Keith Graf, TMPC director, and Alexandra Taylor, TMPC program manager, to discuss details of the grant.
Graf and the TMPC have been working diligently to position Texas military installations favorably in the light of future BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) activity. Houston Regional TMPC Commissioner Tom Duncavage, along with BAHEP’s Ellington Field Task Force Chair John Martinec and Gene Tulich, chairman of the Houston Military Affairs Committee, have worked to demonstrate the strategic importance of Ellington to the entire TMPC.
Seal stated, "We were very excited to be awarded this significant grant. The match funding from the City of Houston, the FAA and the State of Texas for the new tower shows important collaboration, which will help Ellington in the long run.”