PORT ARANSAS, Texas - Saturday will mark one year since Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast.
The hurricane hit Port Aransas as a category four storm. Now a year later, people are still working on getting things back to normal.
People on the island are eager to get their lives back to normal, but they admit it’s been tough. There’s a long list of people waiting to their homes rebuilt. Even the local economy is struggling from a lack of hotel rooms.
At first glance, everything appears to be back to normal in Port Aransas. But venture down some of the side streets and you’ll see it’s not.
Retired Dallas Police Sergeant Steve Huey moved his family to Port Aransas in 2002. He bought a 12-room motel located just a block from the beach. Life was good until Harvey nearly wiped out his nest egg. Huey gets emotional thinking about it.
“This is a family place and so many people come down here,” he said. “A contractor… excuse me just a second.”
With help from a friend, who is a contractor, Huey was able to reopen three months ago. Other business owners haven't been so lucky.
Mayor Charles Bujan has lived on the island his entire life.
“We live, eat, and sleep Hurricane Harvey because of the devastation it caused our island,” he said.
Bujan says Hurricane Harvey destroyed all city buildings, including the police and fire departments. The running tabs is at $50 million.
Nearly 85 percent of the homes were damaged. To date, 350 have been torn down. Despite the setback, Bujan says the tide is turning.
“They have saltwater in their blood,” he said. “They’re tough, and they’re very resilient. They don’t stay down long.”
The fishing port is back open, and the beaches were largely untouched. Tourists are slowly starting to flock back to this one-time popular destination.
The mayor hopes more tourists will follow.
Residents plan to gather on Saturday at the marina to be with one another on what will be the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey's visit.