Port Lavaca moves forward by completing projects

Hurricane Harvey made landfall two years ago, and since then, the city of Port Lavaca has made strides in rebuilding.

Port Lavaca’s coastline took a beating, along with several city fishing piers, boat ramps, and city property and real estate.

The city continues to work with FEMA, engineers and contractors to get several major and minor projects completed.

One of the major projects the city has completed is the fishing pier at Bayfront Peninsula Park, and the Bauer Community Center is nearly complete.

The Bauer Community Center had significant damage after the storm, and the repairs exceeded $600,000 and required nearly an entire remodel. Reconstruction of the inside of the Bauer is complete, and roof installation is underway. The city council also approved to update the outside aesthetics with a new landscape design.

The list of projects to still get started or to be completed is extensive. Port Lavaca City Engineer Jody Weaver and City Manager Bill DiLibero provided a list with brief descriptions of projects that are in progress or will begin soon.

• Evelyn’s Fish Market – This facility sustained both wind and flood damage. The damage to the electrical systems and doors due to flood were repaired soon after the storm. We have recently completed by contract with RainSeal Master and American Construction the replacement of the roof and A/C system that were damaged by the winds in the storm.

• Harbor of Refuge – The bulkhead along the Helena Chemicals lease area was damaged in the storm surge. The City applied for and received a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development grant to help pay to replace and upgrade this bulkhead. Shirley & Sons Construction was awarded the contract for this $1.9 million project, and they began work earlier this month.

• Nautical Landings Marina - The floating dock system, as well as the handrails along the docks, sustained significant damage during the storm. Fowler Construction was awarded a contract to make the needed repairs to Dock A and the handrails, upgrading them with cables to meet fall protection requirements. The city only recently was able to work with FEMA to get the significant repairs needed to Dock B added to the city’s FEMA approved Scope (The “DDD”). That project is in engineering and will be bid out later this year.

• Bayfront Peninsula Park – The storm surge and loose boats in the marina caused damage to handrails, the boat ramp courtesy docks and sidewalks around the peninsula and Memorial Parks. Fowler Construction was awarded a contract to make these needed repairs. Most of these repairs have been recently completed. The new sidewalk around the Memorial will be poured in a couple of weeks. The storm also destroyed one picnic shelter that will be replaced later this year.

• Tilley Park – The Group Shelter at Tilley Park was damaged by a fallen tree. This was recently repaired. There is still one light fixture that was destroyed that should be replaced later this year.

• Formosa Wetlands Walkway – The City recently received clearance from FEMA to begin work to repair the wetlands walkway. The contract was awarded to BLS Construction and preliminary work has begun and should be completed before the end of the year.

• Lighthouse Beach sustained damage to several features in the storm surge. The electrical damage was repaired soon after the storm, but there are other things still in the works.

• The Pavilion sustained some damage to the roof and lights. This project is currently out for bids.

• Sidewalks around the boat ramp were damaged but can’t be repaired until new sheet piles are placed in front of the old wood bulkhead. This work is in engineering and should be bid later this year.

• The handrails along the rock groins at the Birdwalk were damaged. These will be scheduled for repair once the Walkway project is in full force.

• The restroom/bathhouse sustained damage to some doors and piping. In lieu of repair, this facility is scheduled for demolition and replacement with a prefabricated concrete restroom and shower room facility.

• A few picnic cabanas and a couple of light fixtures were totally destroyed or damaged. This work will be completed this fall and winter.

• The metal playscape and safety surfacing next to the splash pad were damaged when it sat in the saltwater storm surge. The City is working with FEMA to replace this playscape with a predominantly plastic system, similar to the system on the beach.

• Lighthouse Beach Fishing Pier – The City is still waiting on FEMA to obligate funds for this project, which is estimated to cost between $2 - $3M. Currently, the project is in review by The National Marine Fisheries, which can take up to 4 months to review. Once the project is approved and funding obligated, then the City can apply to the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) for pre-funding of the project. In this way, the City can get funds to pay engineering and construction invoices as they go and not have to spend $2-$3M upfront and wait for reimbursement.

• Faye Bauer Sterling Park – The west wall of this Park sustained significant damage in the storm. Rawley McCoy Architects in conjunction with Walter P. Moore accessed the damage and is currently preparing plans and specifications for bid to make the needed repairs. The City anticipates that this work will be performed this winter.

• Old Firehouse/EMS Station – This building sustained damage to some windows, gutters, and downspouts. The City is soliciting bids for this work and it should be complete this year.

• Commerce St Sewer Plant – The City’s sewer plant office building roof sustained some damage. A complete reroof is scheduled later this year.