City of Pearland OKs pandemic-related grant program for businesses

Some businesses in Pearland can vie for grant money — anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000 — as part of the city’s partnership with a local nonprofit organization to distribute federal coronavirus relief funds to companies impacted by the virus.

The Pearland City Council recently approved that use for $800,000 in grant money received from the Texas Division of Emergency Management Coronavirus Relief Fund, part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) stimulus legislation aimed at helping people and companies affected by the pandemic.

Businesses that apply will be selected through a lottery system.

Applications, which will be accepted through the month, were scheduled to open at 9 a.m. Oct 12, and the landing page and application both were scheduled to go live that morning on the city’s website at

Applicants must meet requirements to qualify, including that they have a net annual revenue of no more than $2 million, have a 90-day business plan and be able to demonstrate a loss of at least 10 percent of revenue.

Other requirements are that businesses must be in the city and Brazoria County and that they have been established at least a year before March 1.

The city has partnered with LiftFund Houston to administer the program. The Pearland Economic Development Corp. will cover the organization’s $65,000 administrative costs, which are separate from the $800,000 in grant money that will go to qualifying businesses.

LiftFund will launch the initiative, publicize it, review businesses’ eligibility and determine who receives grant money and how much.

At the Sept.28 meeting in which council approved the program, City Council member Woody Owens worried that some businesses may have a hard time gathering the documentation and information required to apply.

A LiftFund representative said his team would be able to help the selected businesses organize the proper documentation.

CARES money for school districts

CARES money is also headed to two school districts with campuses in the city — Pearland and Alvin ISDs. The council approved reimbursement payments to those districts for for $130,000 each.

City Manager Clay Pearson said the money would be aimed at school facility improvements related to limiting virus exposure and spread.

Construction off Orange Street

In other news, city council awarded two contracts for work associated with road reconstruction off Orange Street that is part of the 2019 bond referendum.

The first contract was a construction materials testing contract awarded to Geoscience Engineering and Testing Inc. for $56,924; the second was a construction services contract for $1.493 million to PRV Services.

Impacted streets include Orange Circle, Briar Circle, Yupon Circle and Linwood Oaks, which will be reconstructed with 6-inch thick concrete curbs and gutters.

The Orange Circle project also includes replacement of 1,700 feet of water lines, reconstruction of existing storm water inlets on Orange Circle North and Orange Circle South as well as sidewalk replacement at driveways and damaged areas.

Storm sewer inlets on Plum Street will be fixed, as will be damaged sidewalks on Yupon Circle and some parts of Linwood Oaks. The city conducted an in-person survey of residents on Linwood Oaks and Briar Circle streets. People there unanimously rejected sidewalk replacement in favor of not impacting the area’s mature trees.

The work is expected to last 240 days and wrap up next July.

Funding comes through bonds worth $34.8 million for street improvement projects that voters approved last year.

Owens expressed concern about working with PRV Services, the construction company that won the construction services contract for the project. He said his research showed the company, which was established in 2014, has only one employee and annual revenues of approximately $119,000, according to Dun & Bradstreet. Furthermore, he was worried the company had only worked on projects in Houston, serving merely as subcontractor for SER Construction Partners.

However, Robert Upton, Pearland’s director of engineering, said the company had been reviewed and vetted by outside engineering firm ARKK Engineers and met city requirements.

“(ARKK) have worked with PRV Services on other contracts, they put up their bond, they’ve qualified and show they can do the work,” Upton said.

Owens joined in the unanimous vote to OK the contract but said the city should be cautious.

“I don’t know this company, and we’re giving them a contract for roughly 10 times their annual revenue,” he said. “If you go ahead and do it, that’s up to you, but if there’s a problem, they don’t come back to the table anymore. No matter what it is they don’t come back.”

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