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Port Aransas mayor updates on progress post Harvey - KZTV10.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Port Aransas mayor updates on progress post Harvey

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Crews are moving more than 300 truck loads of debris from city streets every day and expect to finish in one or two months. Crews are moving more than 300 truck loads of debris from city streets every day and expect to finish in one or two months.
Buildings for several departments are damaged and emergency responders are working out of City Hall. Buildings for several departments are damaged and emergency responders are working out of City Hall.
Attractions like the harbor, the nature preserve, and fishing piers also took hits during the storm. Attractions like the harbor, the nature preserve, and fishing piers also took hits during the storm.

Port Aransas shows major signs of progress five weeks after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Coastal Bend, but the Mayor says his community still has a long road to recovery ahead.

The top priority for the City of Port Aransas is debris pick up. Massive piles taller than buildings along Highway 361 have become known to locals as "the three mountains," but they only represent a quarter of the debris that needs to be cleared.

"People do not realize how much damage there was to Port Aransas. There's not hardly one building in Port Aransas that was not damaged," Mayor Charles Bujan said. 

Those damaged buildings are now piles of debris. Tons of it. There is enough debris around Port Aransas to fill the U.S. Capitol rotunda ten times. 

"If we stacked it all up, it would be huge," Mayor Bujan said. 

Debris is still on every street, but crews are chipping away, moving more than 300 truckloads a day.

"It's nothing compared to what it was a day or two after the storm. You can drive down the streets now," Mayor Bujan said. 

All the debris should be cleared in a month or two, but after that, the city still faces extensive damage. 

Buildings for police, EMS, firefighters, city maintenance, the gas department, and Parks and Recreation are all destroyed. First responders. now work out of the Emergency Operations Center in City Hall. 

Attractions took hits too. The walkways in the Charlie's Pasture Nature Preserve are ruined, and three fishing piers are damaged. Forty boats are also sunken in the harbor.

It all adds up to $22 million worth of damage. Because of that destruction, the city will now need to revisit the budget for the 2018 fiscal year. 

However, there is progress. Nearly 3,000 volunteers have helped with the cleanup. About 15 businesses are also re-opened, as Port Aransas pushes on in what will be a 3 to 5 year recovery. 

"Our population, they're very resilient and tough, and we will get there," Mayor Bujan said. 

City officials are working with our state representatives and Congressman to try to get some state and federal funding to recuperate the cost of cleanup and rebuilding.

Port Aransas storm victims may also individually be eligible for some funds from a new financial assistance program that's now in operation. It is called the New Day Port A Fund. To qualify, you must be a Port Aransas resident or own a business in town. Applications are available on the Port Aransas city website or at the community center. A new website for the fund also launches tomorrow.

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