By Diane Probst, CCE
Elected officials, emergency personnel, first responders, long term recovery team
members, and key players in the Hurricane Harvey Recovery effort met this week to review, report and conclude the overall percentage complete for projects related to the disaster that struck the Rockport-Fulton area August 25, 2017.
Emergency Operations Director and Fulton Police Chief Rick McLester received reports from department heads and key leaders reflecting where we are at the end of the 2018 year, 15-months post Hurricane Harvey. He opened the meeting stating how the flow of the verbal reporting process would function. “This will give us a great reading on where we are but also let each other know what the other person has done and needs to do, said McLester. He encouraged everyone to take a step back and look at all that has been accomplished.
Senior Advisor for Long Term Recovery William Whitson gave a brief overview of the Long Term Recovery Plan via Skype. He stated the plan is divided into two areas: Individual assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA). These are areas affecting residents and local government as a whole. He highlighted areas of the 140-plus page plan and where the Long Term Recovery Team is currently in terms of completion for each issue area. He stated some areas are at 75% complete while other areas such as housing are 40-50% complete.
Other reports of percentage completion were given for the following areas: Debris management 99%, Beaches 80-90%, Power 75-80%, Lodging 50%, Businesses 89%, Public Schools 70-75%, Local Attractions 75%, Airport 10-15%, Housing 40-50%, Law Enforcement 65%, Public Schools 70-75%, and Street Signs 60%. Although much progress has been made, reports of delays in areas of funding, insurance, red tape,
paperwork, etc. still remain as obstacles. In conclusion, McLester reminded everyone “This is a marathon, not a sprint. Our goal in the beginning was and still is if one person falls through the cracks then we have failed. We have to take care of our fellow man.”
Representatives from the Volunteer Reception Center and the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group reported the need for more volunteers to come to our community to assist with rebuild projects. “We have some 500 projects yet to complete. We have people just now coming forward who have started to realize they can’t do it on their own. We want them to feel comfortable to come down to the First Baptist Church to get on the list to get the assistance they need,” stated Cyndi Powell of Hands of Hope Organization.
For homeowners still needing assistance, the Texas General Land Office’s homeowner Assistance Program contracted with GrantWorks, a housing repair program. GrantWorks is expected to help repair thousands of homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The local office is open at 2803 Hwy 35 in the Live Oak Shopping Center next to Popeye’s. The Coastal Bend Region was allocated more than $121 million on a first-come first-served basis. Homeowners with damage are encouraged to stop by the Rockport location or go online here.
Aransas County Judge Burt Mills in his remarks praised the Long Term Recovery Team and the progress they have made. “The team has done an outstanding job for us and he would hate to even think about where we would be without them,” concludes Mills.
For more information, call the Long Term Recovery Hotline at 361-790-9496 or visit here.