The economy of the Peninsula was hard hit by the hurricane. Prior to Hurricane Ike, unemployment was below 3%; and half of the population 16 years of age or older were employed. In addition local entrepreneurs made up a 12% share of the economy, which indicates that there were many small business ventures on the Peninsula. The small size and relative seclusion of the Peninsula creates unique opportunities for small business.  The hurricane damaged or destroyed most businesses; after 18 months relatively few businesses had reopened. The loss of businesses and households due to the disaster has had a devastating effect on the economy.

In response to the impacts of the hurricane, the Bolivar Blueprint Steering Committee established an Economic Subcommittee with the charge of identifying projects that would help restart the Peninsula economy. The following goals and objectives were identified to support disaster recovery:

 

Goal

  • Establish a diverse and resilient economy on Bolivar Peninsula.

Conceptual Sketch for Solar Powered Cafe built in a Cargo Container

 

Objectives

  • Establish a program to provide small business opportunities and support
  • Re-establish the economy of Bolivar Peninsula by repairing park facilities
  • Provide opportunities for eco-tourism
  • Re-establish tourism economy by providing better  access, clean beaches, public safety, and affordable housing
  • Provide basic services, such as grocery stores, for residents of Bolivar Peninsula (2000 U.S. Census Data)

The Economic Subcommittee identified opportunities related to nature tourism, tourism, small business development, casino gaming, and business recruitment to help the local economy recover. The subcommittee also recognized that workforce housing, infrastructure, education, and the environment all play essential roles in Peninsula recovery. Based on these interrelated issues, the subcommittee proposed the establishment of the Peninsula Development Coalition (PenDeCo) as an umbrella organization for implementing Bolivar Blueprint recovery projects.

Conceptual Sketch of possible beach district     Conceptual perspective sketch of Pavilions at Beach District

Conceptual Sketches of possible beach district on the Bolivar Peninsula (Click on each image for a larger view)

Conceptual Sketch of Possivle North Jetty Development     Conceptual perspective sketch of possible North Jetty development

Conceptual Sketches of possible North Jetty development (Click on each image for a larger view)

Based on the subcomittee's reccomendation the Peninsula Development Coalition (PenDeCo, Inc.) was formed.

PenDeCo, Inc., like Bolivar Blueprint, includes branch divisions (Housing, Economy, Infrastructure, Quality of Life, and Administrative). Each branch is taking responsibility for implementing recovery projects and coordinating project implementation between branches. The Economic Development Branch of PenDeCo has identified the following recovery projects:

  • Business Incubator and Bolivar Small Business Coalition
  • Beach Districts (Tourism and Beach Enhancements)
  • Gilchrist Community Recreational Fishing
  • Port Bolivar/Fort Travis Beach/Intracoastal District
  • Business Recruitment
  • Casino Gaming Feasibility Study