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I.B. Magee Park renovation nearing completion

I.B. Magee Park renovation nearing completion
Posted at 5:39 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 20:29:26-04

PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Renovation is nearly finished at I.B. Magee Park.

Final touches in the RV park renovation are progressing, punctuating the nearly three-year rebuilding project since the park closed due to Hurricane Harvey.

There were set backs along the way. Brent Chesney, Nueces Co. Commissioner Precinct 4 said the county had issues getting funds from FEMA to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

"Then we had some issues with some bad design and the bid came in millions of dollars over the budget. So, we had to start over again there." Chesney said. "So it's been very frustrating for me and it's been very frustrating I'm sure for the people in Port Aransas watching it."

While the RV portion of the park is almost ready to go -- the park headquarters building still needs some work.

"We do have the money set aside for that. So that will be our next phase." Chesney said. "And then we will be adding on the observation deck to Horace Caldwell Pier."

And on Wednesday, the commissioners court approved some additional plans including a new storm water retention pond paid for with GOMESA grant money.

"We want that public access for eco-tourism -- that birding." Cross said. "So we'll connect it with bird blinds to be able to view at a distance so we don't disturb the wild life."

There are also plans for a new boardwalk that will connect the pond to a nearby historic site.

"We have two World War II 155 mm Panama canon gun mounds that protected this harbor back during World War II." Cross said.

The board walk will continue to the UT Marine Science Institute's nature exhibits. The county hopes the improvements will bring more people to I.B. Magee Park.

"It's a huge economic impact. It is certainly for Nueces County and it is also for Port Aransas," Chesney said. "The more people that can go to Port Aransas, the more economic impact there is. When we've got these 64 spots out there where people can go and stay overnight, and go into town, eat at the restaurants, shop at the stores, that's more people we can bring to Port Aransas and more of an economic impact. I think it's overall a very good project."

The park has 10 more campsites than it did before the hurricane. And now, they will be full hook up sites.

"We run 92% occupancy rate in this park on an annual basis. Winter Texans love the winter down here." Cross said.

While guests will certainly be happy the RV park is reopen -- locals are excited too.

"It will be nice to have it back. It will be nice for me to look at something that doesn't look like Hurricane Harvey hit it pretty hard." Brenner said.

The county set a target date of June 5 to welcome guests back into the park.

They plan to begin the building renovation and other projects immediately.