From home repairs and beach restorations to store fronts and school districts, Rockport-Fulton is open for business and it shows. A dedicated long-term recovery team including elected officials, emergency personnel, first responders, team members and key players are transforming the community and beckoning new businesses, families and visitors to this sparkling coastal destination.
Improvements from new landscaping to more stringent commercial and residential building codes are making the cities both attractive and sustainable, and new construction is taking place throughout the community.
“Plans are in the making to build a new Rockport City Hall and Aransas County courthouse in a joint venture,” said Fulton Police Chief Rick McLester who also serves as emergency management coordinator. “These new developments will streamline local governments and services to citizens.”
Across the board, McLester said, a vast collaboration of ideas, answers and solutions are fueling the notable recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
“And we haven’t stopped yet. I’ve always said that this is a marathon, not a sprint,” McLester said. “Our goal in the beginning was and remains, to take care of our fellow man. If we let one person fall through the cracks, then we have failed.”
So far, many items outlined in the official recovery plan and requiring attention are close to 100 percent completion: Beaches are clean and pristine, many motels and restaurants are open for business and school is in session. The fish are biting, too.
Rockport-Fulton and Aransas County are rising. Every single day, volunteers, good citizens and even television and music celebrities are making it happen.
“We received a lot of attention and notoriety when the daughter of one our English teachers wrote to Ellen DeGeneres,” said Michaela Alston, member of the board of directors of the Aransas County Independent School District. “Lowes partnered with Ellen to donate $1 million dollars to rebuild the Rockport Fulton High School Gold Gym. The mother and daughter were introduced at the groundbreaking and it was absolutely heartwarming.”
Some of the most powerful links in the forward progress are the volunteers, teachers and spirited students.
“Students and our athletic director came together to clean up and restore both our football and practice football fields along with our softball and baseball fields,” Alston said. “Physical restoration was a huge part, but it was also about building spirit and a return to normalcy for teachers and students.”
Inspired by the rejuvenation and community support, both junior baseball and softball teams advanced to the state tournament. It was a first for the baseball team and a return trip for the softball team who won state in 2014.
Teams of business leaders and organizations large and small pitched in to rebuild Memorial Park, too. A multi-million dollar renovation is underway including new seating at baseball and softball fields, a concession stand, an outdoor pavilion, and new restroom facility.
The district is working aggressively to reinforce strong enrollments, marketing its strength in sports programs and outstanding academics.
“One new development is the recent opening of the newly-remodeled Martha Luigi Auditorium which hosted the Symphony by the Sea,” Alston said. “Our award-winning high school choir performed with the Corpus Christi Symphony. It was simply amazing. Our students are so deserving. We’re very grateful to see all of these come together.”