Last May, we reported that Rockport, Texas was still struggling to recover from the damages caused by Hurricane Harvey. The beach community of roughly 10,000 was still struggling nearly two years after Harvey to rebuild. In fact, the town still had no rebuilt apartments. Because of a lack of affordable housing, it was also having trouble finding workers for its much-needed rebuild.
Improvement Is Slowly Happening
Mayor Patrick Rios recently took reporters from KSAT on a tour of the town. He confirmed that recovery is happening, even though it might be doing so at a plodding pace. The town is still filled with empty lots where buildings once stood. Some properties remain damaged from Harvey and are still waiting for repairs.
"You know, weeks go by and you sit there and you go, ‘I'm still working on this one project that I've been working on for three or four weeks,'" Rios told KSAT. "But if you look back after a month or a quarter or a year and you see how far you've come and how much the staff and how much help, you know, how much progress we have made, it's a little bit reassuring to know that we're getting there."
Apartments Are Returning to Rockport
According to Mayor Rios, affordable housing is making a return to Rockport. Rios confirmed that many condominium projects are back and that more are in the process of being rebuilt. Additionally, the mayor said that the city now has apartment buildings once again. However, not enough affordable housing units are ready for all former residents to return to them.
A Revitalization Project Is Almost Finished & City Hall Is Moving
Tourism was one of Rockport’s most essential industries. That ended after Harvey decimated the area’s hotels. However, Rios hopes that the completion of a revitalization project will start bringing tourism back to the area. Located at Memorial Park, the project is significant as it will mark one of the first large-scale projects completed by the city since the storm.
Hurricane Harvey also tore the roof off City Hall, filling it with water damage and mold. Rios hopes to revitalize downtown Rockport by relocating City Hall and rebuilding it in conjunction with a new courthouse. The mayor hopes that Rockport will be mostly rebuilt within three to five years.
"It's going to be something that will anchor our downtown, will show people that Rockport is definitely back. We're here for the long run. We're here to stay," Rios said.