From now until March 6, small businesses in Downtown Rockport that were affected by Hurricane Harvey can apply to receive a portion of a $100,000 grant, city leaders announced Thursday.
“We’re here to accept this wonderful gift of $100,000,” Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Diane Probst said at a press conference.
The people behind the gift are Fort Worth billionaires Ed and Sasha Bass. They want to keep the money downtown, within what’s known as the Cultural Arts District, because it’s a relatively small area and the money’s impact will be more easily seen.
“They have investments in this area,” Probst said of the Basses. “Being concentrated in this area where they have local investments, it’s an investment in their area.”
There are around 100 businesses in the Cultural Arts District, and city leaders expect a large portion of them to apply for grant money. Diane Tucker, owner of the Main Street Yoga studio, is strongly considering it. She and her employees were able to repair the studio’s Harvey-damage and reopen on January 1 of last year to the joy of many in the community.
“I would run into people, and they would say, ‘we need yoga now more than ever,” Tucker said. “I started thinking, maybe it is something we need now more than ever.”
What she says her studio needs now is exterior improvements, and grant money could help her get just that.
“A pavilion of some sort where we could do outdoor yoga,” she said.
Different businesses will use the money in different ways, but the goal is the same. Rockport wants to see its economy improve with the grant checks and Spring Breakers coming to town next month.
“We just feel that it’s going to be an overall good March for the Downtown Rockport-area,” Probst said.