CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hurricane Harvey devastated a lot of areas in the Coastal Bend, the Packery Channel being one of them. It hasn’t been restored in the four years since Hurricane Harvey hit, but the city of Corpus Christi finally broke ground on the project on Friday.
Hand rails along one jetty will be replaced, five storm drains will be repaired, and a concrete walkway will be constructed. Instead of concrete walls on the channel, they will be replaced with boulders, which Corpus Christi District 4 Councilman Greg Smith said will be more sturdy against weather.
Renee Espinoza is a fisherman that has been fishing at the Packery Channel for at least a decade. He said the boulders will be beneficial for fishing.
“The bait fish will have some place to hide. Like these rocks back over here, if they were down closer into the water, the fish will be able to bait fish, shrimp, crustaceans, will be able to get down into there which is going to draw your bigger fish in closer,” Espinoza said.
However, the project hasn’t come without hitting some hurdles. FEMA initially denied money, but is now putting in $13.5 million towards the project. Island residents will fund the rest of the $1.5 million.
Representative Michael Cloud of District 27 said he worked with local and state leaders to make sure the funding for the project was in place.
“FEMA is pointing to the Army Corp and the Army Corp is saying we’re not sure it qualifies and so it goes back to FEMA and for us it’s just making sure this doesn’t get lost in the stack of all the projects they’re dealing with,” Cloud said.
Senator Ted Cruz said he’s had experience working with state leaders on passing legislation that will benefit areas hit by hurricanes.
“I joined with congressional delegation in passing bipartisan hurricane relief legislation through Congress. I authored legislation giving those who were damaged by Hurricane Harvey emergency tax relief that helped deal with some of the immediate consequences,” Senator Cruz said.
The project is expected to take about 18 months and will finish in about June of 2023.