Galveston Rushes to Finish Hurricane Ike Recovery Projects

Hurricane Ike made landfall in 2008 and caused more than $29 million worth of damage

It has been nearly 10 years since Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston, and local agencies are still working to complete recovery projects before a state-imposed deadline.

Thursday marks a decade since Ike made landfall and swamped parts of the island city, leaving more than $29 billion worth of damage and 37 deaths, The Galveston County Daily News reported.

Galveston officials are working to finish as many recovery projects as possible before the Texas General Land Office's December 2019 deadline so the city can be reimbursed for the work. Galveston may have to pay for unfinished work if projects are not completed by the deadline, said Ross Blackketter, the city's director of capital projects.

The city has had more than 500 projects funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and was given $212 million for infrastructure projects by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program.

Galveston has eight HUD projects currently underway, estimated to cost about $53 million. Projects include street and sewer work downtown, as well as the construction of a pump station.

City Council is also scheduled to vote on contracts for three additional Ike-related projects Thursday.

Some projects have already been abandoned because of the looming deadline. A proposed project to create a flood basin in Gum Bayou was set aside because it could not be completed before the deadline, said Galveston County Engineer Michael Shannon.

"There are going to be some things that aren't going to make it," he said.

Parts of Texas are also still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, which hit last year. Ike-related projects that aren't completed in time could instead receive funding from Hurricane Harvey recovery grants, Shannon said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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