Welcome to RFHS

One of the stops on the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce’s annual Windshield Bus Tour was the Rockport-Fulton High School Competition Gym. On hand to greet the bus riders were the Naval Junior ROTC, RFHS cheerleaders, and students in the Culinary Arts program, pictured, and Vocational Training (welding).

Three buses were loaded Wednesday, Jan. 29 to tour around Aransas County for the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce’s annual Windshield Bus Tour. Attendees enjoyed breakfast at the new four-story Hampton Inn before leaving the hotel for their 2-1/2-hour tour.

The purpose of this year’s trip was to show progress made in Rockport-Fulton since Hurricane Harvey.

The highlights of the tour are as follows:

• Pelican Bay Resort – remodeled, 20 cottages, eight mini suites, and a Villa, total 135 rooms, extended fishing pier with green lighting

• Liquor & Smoke (Old Speedy Stop in Fulton) – opens this month

• Old Stripes/Valero convenience store (Fulton) – opening soon with new owners (no information available)

• Sandollar Resort – completely remodeled with 40-plus rooms

• Fulton Irish Pub – new 6,000-sq.-ft. restaurant and bar serving Irish food, employs 22 people and has capacity of 177 (inside) and 100 (outside)

• Fulton Convention Center - Paws and Taws – opening soon

• Hu Dat - Now open, entrance through Benchwarmers

• Capt. Benny’s – rebuilding at a later date, will open a small location on Rattlesnake Point Road in the coming months

• Lighthouse Inn - fully remodeled and open with 78 rooms, two meeting rooms and a restaurant

• Dot’s Beach House - new addition to the Boiling Pot

• Bedrock Vacation Rentals - combination of four individual two-bedroom units, each equipped with an outdoor deck in the back

• Corpus Christi Diocese - had 300 buildings damaged by Hurricane Harvey, bids being accepted for the remodeling of Sacred Heart Church and offices

• Texas Department of Transportation – new 10,000-sq.-ft. maintenance section office on FM 3036 will open in late 2020 and house 14 employees

• Oaks at Bentwater Apartments – all repairs made, some upgrades, 50 units available, price range $850-$1694.

• Rockport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center – 35,000-sq.-ft. facility fully remodeled and open with 72 employees

• Sea Mist Apartments - fully open with 76 units, no availability

• Matthews Learning Center - construction begins soon on its new 6,200-sq.-ft. facility, seven classrooms, 100-plus children, ages six weeks old through 12, private Kindergarten for 15 children, location to be announced soon

• Sew By The Bay (Formerly Golden Needles) - recently purchased the Jehovah’s Witness Church next to the refurbished Holy Cross Lutheran Church

• Wandering Oaks (FM 2165 at Highway 35 Bypass) - Hogan Homes development, 161 homesites, 50 have been built, 13 under construction, Phase 2 has 82 lots

• The Residences at Pearl Point (FM 2165) - leasing anticipated to begin May 2020, pricing, $1,125 for one bedroom to $1,695 for three bedrooms, includes washers and dryers

• County Road and Bridge office (FM 2165) - more than 10,000 vehicles drive FM 2165 daily

• Memorial Park improvements - new exercise equipment, disc golf course, ball fields and concession stand

• Samaritan’s Purse – 10,000-sq.-ft. warehouse at First Baptist Church, made five-year commitment to help rebuild after Harvey, will gift warehouse to the church when its mission is complete

• Hands of Hope - added a building on FBC property and continues to help those in need

• Rockport-Fulton Competition Gym – combined gym built with insurance proceeds, as well as a $1 million gift from Lowe’s, through Ellen DeGeneres

• Jalisco’s Restaurant - opening late February or early March, bar has been added

• Mermaids (in old Sonic building) - Remodeled to a 34-seat restaurant, serving dinner only, opening first Wednesday in March

• Title Max - opened in November

• The Island Car Wash rebranded to “Little Blue Shed” after attention brought to it on Twitter during Harvey

• Former Little Bay Elementary – site of proposed Micro-hospital. GLO grant for $9,940,541 to refit the campus, left side used as eight- to 10-bed hospital, right side as physician offices, etc., preparing Request For Qualifications (RFQ) that will go out nationwide for manager/providers

• Twisted Oak Work Suites (Harbor Drive) - houses EvTex Real Estate and Cruise Planners

• ACE Hardware - warehouse expansion for lumber

• Old Fulton Seafood Cafe - New 40-seat meeting room and an additional bar lounge

• LaPalma Event Center - leased by Chris and Candice Curtis, will expand Platinum Fitness and occupy the entire building as a fitness center May 1

• Fulton Mansion - celebrated grand re-opening in December

• Former Key Allegro Stripes convenience store - purchased by the Farnsworth family, open to your ideas for the property, the family just opened Movies Inc. in Aransas Pass

• Key Allegro Bridge - $2.8M project, completing engineering at this time, is fully funded

• Office suite facility (Fulton Beach Road) - 17,000 square feet, 20 offices available for lease

• Humpal Physical Therapy - fully remodeled and is open

• No information about when Suntan and/or Surfside Hotels will be rebuilt

• Coastal Nail Spa - new business opening next to Bealls Department Store

• Bealls - to become Gordmans this fall.

• Holiday Inn Express and the Days Inn By Wyndam – almost 120 rooms

• Bay Education Center – just reopened

• LAC Class XXIII project - a pavilion and two barbeque pits at Veterans Memorial Park, will be completed by June 1

• Church Unlimited - 12,000 sq. ft. facility on Magnolia Street

• VFW Hall – fundraising continues to rebuild, a little more than half of the $300,000 to rebuild is still needed

• Rockport Center for the Arts –temporary offices at 614 E. Market

• New businesses in downtown Rockport - Dog Gone Brewery added to the Winery; Baker Law in the old Victoria’s Gold building; Whooping Crane Manor bed & breakfast

• First Assembly of God Church – new construction and remodeling

• Studio 102 - adding to its upstairs area at the corner of Pearl Street and Business 35

• Performing Arts and Convention Center – Rockport Center for the Arts facility in downtown Rockport coming soon, old Kline’s Cafe will be moved to 504 N. Magnolia

• Cove Harbor Marina – new development on 15.5 acres will be named Cove Harbor Yacht Club and Boathouse Resort, a $5 million -plus project.

• The Rack Pub & Eatery - located next to Oh My!

• Crab-N – opening soon, operated by the Brooks family since 1976

• Coastal Dumpster – opened in November 2019

• Persona Digital Marketing - new business

• Bay of Aransas Apartments - completed rebuild and is 100 percent occupied

• Camper Clinic - in the process of being purchased by RV Retail, opening date tentatively scheduled for Feb. 28, purchasing entire 10 existing acres, currently constructing a new building.

• Family Dollar - $500,000 investment had soft opening Jan. 16

Additional information shared at end of tour

• Aransas County’s estimated population is 21,000 and growing as workers come back and people return to the condos.

• In the City of Rockport, there are 123 home remodels and additions and 38 commercial remodels for a total valuation of $6,556,861 (commercial only) for an average of $172,549. For new builds, there were 206 single family and 23 commercial with a total valuation $27,018,425 (commercial only) for an average of $1.1 million.

• Aransas County has an available workforce of 10,227 people with 9,834 working and 393 unemployed - an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, compared to 4.6 percent last year.

• Sales tax revenue in 2018 was up 12.21 percent, compared to 2017, due primarily to purchases of construction materials after Hurricane Harvey. Sales tax revenue was down 2.35 percent in 2019, compared to 2018, because we were fighting those inflated material sales from the previous year. This year sales taxes are up 13.12 percent through the first month.

• Venue tax revenue in 2019 was $389,000, which was only down 15 percent, compared to pre-Harvey numbers, and is a great indicator tourism is rebounding.

• Bank deposits are fluctuating. Deposits on June 30 in each the past four years were: 2019, $400 million (six banks); 2018, $426 million (six banks); 2017, $355 million (seven banks); and 2016, $351 million (seven banks).

• There were 459 residential home sales in 2019, an increase of 26.1 percent. The average sales price for residential homes was $274,841 in 2019, up 0.3 percent. The average days on the market for residential homes in 2019 was 144.

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