Following two big announcements about the rebuilding of two iconic structures destroyed by Hurricane Harvey – Fulton Convention Center / Paws & Taws and Fulton Pier - Fulton Mayor Jimmy Kendrick, at the Fulton Town Council’s regular meeting Tuesday, May 7, said, “We’ve had a lot of good news today. This is an exciting night. I can’t lie, I feel like I’m about to cry.
“(Twenty months) after Harvey we have brand new playground equipment in our park, the Fulton Pier is (now clear to go), and (we start next week) on a brand new Paws and Taws.”
The mayor noted the town’s taxpayers will not pay a dime for the three projects, and all matching funds are covered.
Fulton Convention Center / Paws & Taws
The bids have come in, a trailer is expected to be on site Monday, and construction on what will now be known as the Fulton Convention Center / Paws & Taws, will begin.
The iconic structure, which was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, is being built under the watchful eye of Weaver and Jacobs Constructors, Inc. of Cuero, the project’s Construction Manager at Risk.
The Fulton Town Council, at its regular meeting Tuesday, May 7, approved three items related to its construction.
It first approved Requests for Proposals from subcontractors and suppliers, totaling $2,492,144. That total is about $100,000 less than what was budgeted by local architect Kenny Burns and Weaver and Jacobs Constructors.
“I’m pleased we weren’t that far off,” said Burns. “We are under budget for our construction costs.
“There is money in the bank. We are ready for (the council’s) approval (of the cost) so we can start construction.”
Fulton Mayor Jimmy Kendrick stressed the town isn’t borrowing any money, and there is no burden on the taxpayer.
“It took a while, but this is a great milestone,” said Burns. “It will be finished before Oysterfest starts next year.”
Kendrick said Rebuild Texas provided a little more than $330,000, which will be used for Fulton’s 10 percent match.
“This council made this possible by being positive,” said Kendrick. “This will be a beautiful and wonderful asset for our town.”
Weaver and Jacobs Constructors’ Shawn Brandt said, “We’re ready to get started. We’ll have a trailer on site Monday, and it will be built in nine months.
“It will be ready in January.”
The council then waived the general building permit fee. Subcontractors, however, will pull individual permits and are responsible for payment.
Alderman Larry Pahmiyer introduced the final action related to the new convention center.
“We all know where it (Paws and Taws’ name) came from, and what it was used for,” said Pahmiyer. “Harvey came and destroyed that building.
“I think it’s only right to (now) change the name to the Fulton Convention Center / Paws & Taws.”
(Editor’s note: The original Paws and Taws, whose name refers to the male and female counterparts in a square dance, opened in 1965. It was moved from its original location to the site on which it stood when Hurricane Harvey made landfall Aug. 25, 2017.)
Funding / design
Most of the FEMA funding ($2,213,074.73) is in the portal, according to Kendrick.
The town also received $415,945.36 in insurance, giving it a little more than $2.6 million for construction of the new structure, which will basically sit in the footprint of the former Paws and Taws.
The old building’s main entrance was on the west side. The main entrance in the new structure will face south.
The base floor will be elevated between seven and eight feet above the current ground level.
It will have metal framing with Hardiplank siding.
There will be a covered drive at the entrance.
Construction on the new Fulton Pier begins in August.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) Conservation Finance Director Merrill Chester Gregg made a presentation to the Fulton Town Council at its regular meeting Tuesday, May 7 regarding the construction of the Fulton Pier, which was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.
Joining her was G2 Contractors LLC Project Executive/Owner Jamison McGlasson, representing the company that will rebuild the pier.
Gregg gave a brief overview of the TPWF’s mission and how it got involved in the project.
“We raised $1.5 million after Hurricane Harvey,” said Gregg. “We were organized 25 years ago to support the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s mission.”
She noted a representative from the Sid Richardson Foundation put her in touch with Fulton Mayor Jimmy Kendrick because the mayor was searching for ways to fund the pier’s reconstruction.
“We thought we could get involved and take away some of the burden,” said Gregg. “We volunteered to be the project manager and engaged (G2’s McGlasson).”
“We work with anything where parks are involved,” said McGlasson.
He showed the council and audience architectural renderings of what the pier will look like, noting it has to be built in the same footprint so another permit is not required, and so FEMA money could be more easily obtained.
The pier’s original permit dates back to 1981, according to Kendrick.
“It’s mindboggling the steps we have to go through,” said Gregg.
The new pier will look basically the same as the old one, but the materials used will be much more beneficial to the public and the environment. It will also better withstand future storms.
The railings on the old pier were 42 inches high. One-quarter of the new railing will be 36 inches high, making it easier to cast for those fishing from wheelchairs.
It was also noted the green fishing lights will return since it has been determined they do not harm turtles.
McGlasson passed around a sample of the pilings that will be used, as well as the perforated surge decking that will be used instead of wood decking, lessening the chance of destruction in future storms.
Kendrick said the (non-wood) material used in the pilings will actually aid in the attraction of baitfish, which in turn will attract more game fish.
“It won’t lose its color either,” said Kendrick.
There is more than enough money in the kitty to build the new pier. The Yeti Corporation donated $184,000 to the project, which more than covers the 10 percent match for FEMA’s $1.7 million contribution.
The Sid Richardson Foundation has donated $100,000.
Kendrick said any leftover funds will be put in a special account for future maintenance of the pier.
The Fulton Town Council approved entering into a contract with the TPWF at the council’s July 31, 2018 special meeting. The resolution approved at that meeting noted Fulton was entering a contract with the TPWF for the pier’s construction, and that the TPWF would also provide some funding for its construction.
Gregg said the government shutdown delayed the pier project about four months.
Once demolition of the old pier begins in August, it will take about six months to complete. She said it will be ready sometime in the spring of 2020.
Construction signs will be placed at the bulkhead near the pier, as well as on Fulton Beach Road. They will spell out who provided the funds for the construction of the new pier, as well as a timeline.
“It (the pier) is going to be durable and attractive,” said Gregg.
“We’re on the other side of the rainbow,” said Kendrick. “I can’t tell you how much we appreciate you.
“Beginning Aug. 1 there’s going to be a lot of great things happening.”