Port Aransas Recovering from Devastation of Hurricane Harvey

Port Aransas, which suffered a body blow in August when Hurricane Harvey blew ashore, says its 'Second Grand Opening' is well underway, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"The goal and the motivation is for us to be open, fully open, by spring and by summer, and right now there appears to be nothing that is going to get in our way," Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce President Jeffrey Hentz told News Radio 1200 WOAI during a visit to San Antonio.

Especially the northern end of Port Aransas suffered major damage during Harvey's first landfall, which happened over Rockport.  Several of the prominent tourist hotels, condos, restaurants and vacation homes were badly damged.

But Hentz says the power and water are back on, and reconstruction of the landmarks is well underway.

"We believe that about 98% of the businesses that existed on August 24th will come back beteen now and next spring," he said.

Hentz said optimism is high in Port Aransas and across the Coastal Bend.  First Lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to the area on Wednesday to check out the progress of the recovery.

"We know that the volume that we typically get over Spring Break is might not be at a full level this year," he said.  "We should be fairly close, but by summer, we should be back to a level that should accommodate our tourists."

He says 20 to 25 percent of Port Aransas attractions are open now, most of the debris piles have been cleared, and visitors can have a wonderful holiday beach experience.

Hentz says all of the well known 'Port A' festivals are on as scheduled in 2018, beginning with the Whooping Crane Festival scheduled for February.


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