The city of Rockport, in Aransas County, is part of the Coastal Bend region of Texas located on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Rockport took a direct hit from Hurricane Harvey in late August 2017.
The small city is home to a thriving ocean economy, deriving mostly from the natural beauty that surrounds it through tourism, recreation enthusiasts, and a growing number of retirees. Downtown Rockport, or the "Heritage District," is the cultural and historic hub and critical to the city's recovery.
The Austin Street Corridor, the Community Planning Assistance Team study area, functions as the heart of the downtown and was severely impacted by Harvey. Flooding, however, is a constant challenge in the low-lying coastal area. Heavy rains, high tides, strong Gulf winds, and storm surges pose a continued threat to the businesses that drive the city's economy.
The post-Harvey environment created a spark in the community to work toward needed changes. They seek solutions to alleviate ongoing drainage issues through green infrastructure and other stormwater management methods. To increase economic resiliency, the city also wants to see a more diverse mix of businesses downtown and strategic coordination among merchants to create the potential for new opportunities and more vibrancy in the area.
The team will work in close coordination with Texas A&M University's Texas Target Communities (TTC) during the project. TTC is concurrently working on an update to Rockport's Comprehensive Plan.
The Rockport "Recovery Planning Assistance Team" project is one of the APA Foundation's 2018 Disaster Recovery Grant recipients. The project is supported by the Pisces Foundation through a grant awarded to the APA Foundation that focuses on building back better with green infrastructure after disasters.
Team leader Carol Barrett, FAICP, and APA programs manager Ryan Scherzinger, AICP, conducted a preliminary site visit to Rockport January 9–10, 2019. Rockport planner Amanda Torres, CFM, led them and representatives from Texas A&M and Texas Sea Grant on a tour of Rockport and scheduled meetings with various stakeholders.
The full team visit will occur May 20–24, 2019.
Meet the Team
Carol D. Barrett, FAICP
Carol Barrett has worked in smaller cities around the U.S. for the past four decades with an emphasis on places with historic downtowns. Her experience includes working as a senior professional in Annapolis, Maryland; Berkeley, San Gabriel, and Burbank, California, as well as San Marcos, Texas. She has written and implemented a variety of development ordinances and served as staff to Historic Preservation Commissions. Barrett recently returned to Texas after a decade of planning work in California. While there, she served as president of the California Planning Foundation, which raises funds for planning student scholarships. Barrett served on the American Planning Association Board of Directors and is a Past President of the Texas Chapter. APA awarded her its Distinguished Service Award. She was inducted into the AICP College of Fellows as part of the inaugural class in 1999.
Eugene Aleci, AICP, AIA, RA
Gene Aleci has been a practicing architect, planner, urban designer, and consultant in historic preservation and downtown development for more than 40 years. In 1985, he founded his own firm, Community Heritage Partners, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The firm’s practice combines architecture, planning, urban design, historic preservation, and real estate development strategies to spark regeneration, livability, well-being, and vitality in smaller cities and communities. Its work has ranged across Pennsylvania and reached from Charleston, South Carolina, to Portland, Maine. He's served as an elected city council member for Lancaster, where he helped establish its central downtown as one of the nation’s largest National Register Historic Districts. He also served as the city council’s voting delegate to the County Planning Commission, and as council’s liaison to the city’s Central Market
, an internationally recognized public farmers market which has operated continuously since its 1729 founding.
Richard Amore, AICP
Richard Amore is a certified planner, urban designer, and community builder who blends his experience in community design and placemaking to spark downtown and neighborhood revitalization. Amore has over 15 years of experience in private and public practice across the country leading community-driven initiatives that builds local capacity through placemaking, urban design, and downtown revitalization. His experience in urban planning, community development, and landscape architecture gives him the ability to connect place-based initiatives with local and statewide economic development efforts. Amore is an AICP certified planner and an NCI certified charrette planner. He serves on the executive board of Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Council and is a guest lecturer at the University of Vermont. Amore holds a BS in Environmental Design, a Master of Landscape Architecture, and a Master of Community Planning from Auburn University.
Eugene Henry, AICP, CFM
Eugene Henry is the hazard mitigation manager for Hillsborough County, Florida. Henry is a certified floodplain manager with the Association of State Floodplain Managers. Since 1983, he has worked in the public and private sectors in floodplain administration, comprehensive planning, and emergency management. His experience includes administration of programs in areas of hazard mitigation and floodplain management, post-disaster redevelopment planning, permitting and construction, land-use allocation, capital improvements programming, and large-scale developments. Henry has worked in implementing a 911-addressing program, served on disaster-assessment teams, and implemented components of a comprehensive emergency management plan.
Kerrie Tyndall serves as the assistant city manager for economic development and the director of the Office of Economic Development for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. Tyndall is an experienced leader with over 20 years of expertise in city management, including 15 years in economic development, community development, and business development. She has extensive experience in developing economic development policy and utilizing a wide variety of incentive tools including tax abatements, tax increment financing, tax credit programs, and other economic development financing programs. Tyndall worked previously as a business development officer for the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City. Prior to that, she worked in a leadership capacity in the city manager’s office for the City of Blue Springs, Missouri, the City of Olathe, Kansas, the City of Bryan, Texas, and the Woodlands Community Service Corporation.