The Eagle Ford Shale Community Development Program (EFSCDP) opened its doors at UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development in October of 2012, thanks to a federal grant award from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). EFSCDP focused on community and economic development in twenty-one counties in and around the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas activity. The purpose of the program has always been to provide communities in South Texas with planning services, research, workshops to generate economic development tools and skills to promote sustainable economic growth strategies. This was accomplished through the creation of community civic groups with support from the local leadership and a series of workshops that covered topics such as: building trust, future vision, scenario planning, synthesis and proposal writing.
The EFSCDP program from UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development organized an Eagle Ford Shale Community Development workshop series in Atascosa County in early 2015. Community benefits included planning trust development, visioning, scenario planning, joint strategic planning and, eventually, grant funding proposals.
Atascosa Citizens in Action (ACA) was organized here and began, through enrollment in Financial Information Network (FIN), researching grant possibilites for Atascosa County.
ACA Grant Committee recently obtained a $2,600.00 grant from Texas Rural Communities for Atascosa Family Crisis Center.
After its formation, three and a-half years later, the EFSCDP was able to form solid teams that resulted in civic groups throughout the region along with Atascosa County. This included hosting two annual EFSCDP Best Practices Conferences where community civic groups could learn from each other. Fifteen counties were able to take advantage of the capacity building program that started the conversation in many of these communities. Some of the groups have been able to keep the effort alive over the years through project analysis, proposal development, and project implementation. Many of the projects that started as conversations during their workshops have now come to fruition, and that was in part due to the effort put forth by the citizenry of vibrant communities in South Texas. UTSA was welcomed with open arms and that South Texas hospitality is something they will never forget. With the support from the County Judges, Commissioners, City Managers, Mayors, City Council members and the hundreds of concerned citizen participants, EFSCDP wants to say, “Thank You”. While EFSCDP’s future may be uncertain, they want to say good-bye for now and hope to be back and be able to bring more services.
LEON ZABAVA is the Oil and Gas Editor for the Pleasanton Express. He can be reached at 830.281.2341 or email@example.com.