Rockport mayor on rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey

Rockport mayor on rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey
Posted at 4:31 PM, Oct 27, 2017
and last updated 2018-06-19 15:01:08-04

Wednesday marked the two month anniversary of Hurricane Harvey making landfall in Texas.

Central Texas News Now talked with the mayor of Rockport in the exact spot where the strongest part of the category four hurricane roared ashore.

That spot, Rockport Harbor, happens to be where all the tourist attractions are in the town. You will not see any tourists right now, however. All you will see are construction workers and boaters like Tom Stone.

Living on a boat is how Stone said he likes to live his life able to get away at a moment's notice, but he was not able to get away from Hurricane Harvey when the moment mattered.

"Stayed in a fifth wheel with a friend of mine because I couldn't bring the electric on my trawler," Stone said.

That's right. He said he weathered the storm in a camper near Rockport.

"The fifth wheel was sandwiched in between a house and a tin building and about a half hour before the eye went through, the tin building left. Gone everything," Stone said.

The only one Stone claims were scared, though, was his dog.

"This dog was shaking like a cow in a slaughterhouse I tell you," said Stone chuckling.

Back docked in Rockport Harbor, Stone said he is looking back on that decision with judgment.

"It wasn't a good judgment call," Stone said.

He had a choice to leave, but of course, Rockport Harbor that houses the tourist attractions did not.

The storm destroyed some and damaged others.

"In terms of long-term economic recovery of this community, we have to start here. Rebuilding our attractions that bring not only our citizens but guests from all over the country," Rockport Mayor C.J. Wax said.

Mayor Wax said clearing the brush and starting the construction around, and on, the attractions will create a foundation for progress.

"All of that contributes to that feeling of normalcy that you want to get back again so that's why we've been focused the way we have," Wax said.

On that foundation, Wax said more than 340 out of about 1,200 businesses have reopened.

"So far I have had only one business announce that they will not be opening. Only one in the whole community so I'm very thankful for that," Wax said.

Wax said crews have removed about one million cubic yards of debris. That means they are clearing about 25,000 a day.

"So this looks a lot better than it did, so it still looks terrible, but it's a lot better than it was," Wax said.

While Stone said he knows it will probably cost him $20,000 to fix his boat after the storm, Wax said he does not have a cost estimate for Rockport.

"All we know is it's important to get back to a sense of normalcy, get the debris taken care of and then we'll find out what it cost," Wax said.

As far as a timeline is concerned for construction, repairs and clean up in Rockport, the mayor said he just doesn't have one.

Wax said insurance money and FEMA are helping cover the recovery costs. He said the town also hopes to get money from Harvey relief funds.

Copyright 2017 KXXV. All rights reserved.