It's been more than five years since Hurricane Harvey destroyed the City of Rockport.
Patrick Rios remembers the day the Rockport Center for the Arts was ravished by Hurricane Harvey, and remembers what it was like to see one of Rockport’s greatest attractions be hit by the storm.
Rios said his wife Patty is an artist and a member of the center for the arts. After the storm hit, he said his wife called him and asked about the center, so he drove by and saw the aftermath.
“But you can see the damage on the roof, and that’s when I knew we had a problem. And when I got there, I could tell that part of the roof was missing," Rios said. “I said 'Patty, it doesn’t look good.' And she said, 'oh my gosh.'"
It took more than five years and $12.5 million to rebuild the new 14,000 square foot, two-story visual arts and education building located in the heart of downtown Rockport.
Locals, tourists and businesses in the area next to the center cannot wait for the facility to finally open.
“We’re just so looking forward to bringing in new artists, showcasing their work," said Laura Flanagan, who's a sales associate at The Coastal Mercantile.
“This will be so much better for large events, larger people and Rockport will definitely need that because culturally, it’s amazing here," Joan Cupic, who was shopping around the city, said.
“We’ve waited on it a long time. I’m a try to teach myself artist, and it is very exciting," Rockport resident Clois Brewster said.
Rios said having this new facility finally open is the beginning of a new canvas.
“Or whatever medium they use, it’s really exciting," Rios said as he looked at the art on the wall.
Rios mentioned this isn’t the last thing to be fixed in the city. By the end of this year he said the Key Allegro bridge should be opened.
He added they are working on rebuilding their city hall, the county courthouse along with a community building and a plaza as an event center for art shows, festivals and more.
“Those aren’t scheduled for completion until next fall, around this time next year. I think what makes Rockport whole, and has kept us from completely dissolving are the spirit of the general public. The majority of the people here are just strong, tough, resilient people," Rios said.
From August 2017, to an opening day Dec. 11 this year, the community will finally experience their new facility.
“It’s going to be a community appreciated and cherished event when it happens," Rios said.
Saturday Dec. 10 will be a ribbon cutting event at 5 p.m. and the official opening of the Rockport Center for the Arts will be Sunday, Dec. 11 at 12 p.m. Admission is always free.