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More hurricane Harvey recovery funds coming to small coastal communities

Posted at 5:51 PM, Jul 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-14 19:00:53-04

ROCKPORT, Texas — Last week, a group of Texas lawmakers traveled to Rockport-Fulton to discuss the Texas House's efforts toward the passage of legislation for disaster preparedness and hurricane Harvey funding. Speaker Dennis Bonnen and State Representative Geanie Morrison were joined by other members of the State House.

This package of bills sets aside around two billion dollars to go toward hurricane Harvey recovery and resiliency.

Senate Bill-6 requires the "Texas Division of Emergency Management" to develop a disaster response model guide for local communities.

Bonnen shared that they are doing something with these funds that he says has never been done in the history of Texas.

"Covering their local match on FEMA because those communities when they're as devastated as they were, they just flat don't have those dollars" Bonnen said.

The money that small communities spend on recovery will be matched by state dollars.

This is great news for small coastal towns who experienced devastation, including Rockport-Fulton.

"It's been a nonstop effort. It has been two years on the calendar but for a lot of us the hurricane was yesterday," Keith Barrett, Aransas County Navigation District Harbor Master says, "we deal with hurricane related items either repairs or renewals almost on a daily basis."

The Aransas County Navigation District operates three harbors and their surrounding lands. And while restoration efforts have come a long way, Barrett says they still have infrastructural work to do.

Breakwaters and jetties are structures that are important for boating access and crucial for shoreline protection.

The Rockport Harbor Entrance Breakwater has been there since the late 1930's and has seen multiple hurricanes. This breakwater in particular, protects downtown Rockport.

"Harvey really took it's toll on this structure and we're hoping to get some funding to help renew it and get it back so it can protect us for another hundred years." says Barrett.

Barrett says that the speaker and several representatives coming down to Rockport serves as a reminder that their community has not been forgotten.

"It really gave us a lot of incentive to know that helps on it's way. More hope."