Downtown Rockport: Strength, Vitality, and Resilience

Recovery Planning Assistance Team



The coastal city of Rockport, Texas, was at the epicenter of Hurricane Harvey when the historic storm made landfall on August 25, 2017. Damage to the city’s infrastructure, housing, and businesses was significant and the local economy suffered greatly in the wake of the storm. Just a few feet above sea level, recurrent flooding in the downtown remains a constant challenge. The city requested help from a Recovery Planning Assistance Team (RPAT), a subset of the Community Planning Assistance Teams (CPAT) program that helps communities recovering from disasters, to provide guidance on revitalizing downtown Rockport.

The team’s report offers environmental and economic resiliency strategies, as well as updated urban design recommendations for downtown Rockport. Downtown is consistently vulnerable due to an inadequate stormwater system. The team identifies mitigation for the short and longer terms to reduce risks to flooding. Five economic resiliency threats include specific short- and longer-term strategies at both the district level and the regional scale. Ultimately, the city needs a long-term economic development strategy that creates more diversity and complexity to reduce economic vulnerability.

The urban design section provides a vision and guide for improvements to public spaces, infrastructure, and buildings that can leverage private investment and economic revitalization of the Austin Street corridor and downtown Rockport. An implementation matrix outlines the full recommendations of the team.

Meet the Team

Carol Barrett headshot
Team Leader

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 headshot
Team Member

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 headshot
Team Member

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 headshot
Team Member

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 headshot
Team Member

Kerrie Tyndall

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.


Page Count
Date Published
Feb. 18, 2020
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

Table of Contents

The Purpose of the CPAT Program

Executive Summary

Introduction and Background
How We Did Our Work: CPAT Project Process Overview
About Rockport
Hurricane Harvey
Environmental Risks of Coastal Living
Rockport’s Disaster Grant Application
What We Found

Flood Mitigation and Resiliency
Resilient and Successful Economic Development
Downtown Design, Vitality, and Resilience

Implementation Matrix

Appendix A: Rockport’s Adopted 2006 Downtown Master Plan and Commentary by the Rockport CPAT
Appendix B: Information on the Texas Main Street Program
Appendix C: Heritage District Overlay Ordinance
Appendix D: Resources and Finding Opportunities for Creating an Active and Beautiful Public Realm in Downtown Rockport
Appendix E: Rockport CPAT Schedule
Appendix F: Picture Gallery
Appendix G: Meet the Team