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Port Aransas: Working Back Toward Its Day in the Sun Following Hurricane Harvey

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Port Aransas is almost 100 percent dependent on tourism, and this beach town, situated on a barrier island along the Texas coast, is still seeing the effects of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in its rebuilding and clean up schedule. With half of the city’s annual income (valued at close to $400 million) coming between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, business operators report that recovering from this storm is still taking its toll.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Vanessa Garcia of Bernie’s Beach House stated, “Everyone keeps saying two to three years. We want that to not be true, but it seems like it could be. We’re just reminding ourselves that we’re lucky to be open at all.” As this year’s hurricane season looms just two months in the distance, Port Aransas struggles to repair damaged buildings, clean up debris, and replace facilities the tourists have come to value.

Port Aransas: Working Towards Its Time in the Sun Following Harvey

Photo: Facebook/Port Aransas South Jetty

The first of its size to hit this area since 1961, Hurricane Harvey battered Port Aransas and the Texas coast on August 25, 2017, with 132-mph wind gusts and a water wall, 11 feet in height, that surged over the island. It was reported that 75 percent of all homes were damaged or destroyed, and every business on the island suffered some form of loss.

Hurricane damage has been estimated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at $125 billion within a stretch of Texas coastline, between Louisiana and Corpus Christi. Port Aransas, which had 4,000 residents prior to the storm, now sits at a population of approximately 3,000. With over 4.5 million visitors which come to the community on a yearly basis, it appears the hotel industry in the area was hardest hit, leaving locals wondering how that will trickle down into the rest of its economy.

Port Aransas: Working Towards Its Time in the Sun Following Harvey

Photo: Facebook/Port Aransas, TX ・ Businesses, Beaches & Bay – www.portaransastex.com

Frustrated with construction delays, insurance payouts, and lack of income to be made, some Port Aransas residents and business owners have left the city. Although support has freely flowed from those that were once their clientele, the struggle to rebuild and reopen has been hard on many. That being said, Texans continue to view the island fondly in their mind’s eye, remembering the many tourist-friendly stops and coastline nostalgia for which Port Aransas was once famous. Trusting that a good summer is yet to be had in this city on the Texas coast, Texans will be happy to know that a good share of its businesses continues to work toward being fully operational. Made of the sort of grit you only find in those who have faced the hardest of times, Port Aransas is once again marching ahead to its day in the sun.