Aransas County Navigation District commissioners, at their regular meeting Monday, June 15 heard reports from Harbor Master Keith Barrett and Chairman Malcolm Dieckow, covering a wide range of topics.
Barrett said work is underway at the Copano Bay kayak launch, the ACND maintenance building at the entrance to Rockport Beach, and the building (which will be leased) at the entrance to Cove Harbor South.
“We have a lot of projects going and this will continue for several years,” he said.
Barrett said the district prioritized projects, getting those assets that the public uses (beach, boat ramps, bait stands, and harbors) fixed first.
“I think the path we took after Harvey was the correct one,” he said.
“Leggett Channel, harbor seawalls and other big projects (are coming), but the things people see are back to normal,” said Barrett.
He said the restrooms at Cove Harbor, Rockport Harbor, and the Copano Bay boat ramp are open, and the ones at Rockport Beach will be open (by this weekend).
“We wanted to do it (open restrooms) slow to see what happened,” said Barrett.
The ACND experienced a lot of vandalism at its facilities when people destroyed toilet paper dispensers in order to obtain the product that was not readily available at local stores.
“We will still keep the extra portable toilets, and if the bathrooms are damaged we’ll close them up again,” said Barrett. “It wasn’t that we didn’t want to open the restrooms.”
Dieckow said the EDA grant application for the new section of Rockport Harbor will be completed by the end of the month.
“It’s approximately a $4 million request, providing slips (behind the breakwater at the end of Market Street) for vessels between 30 and 60 feet,” said Dieckow.
“Combined with the money we have, we should have enough to get us into the construction phase.
“This is going to be a transient harbor. If you build it, they will come.”
Dieckow also commented on the ACND’s financial situation, noting a lot of people are asking why the district is carrying so much money in the bank.
“A large part of that money is insurance and FEMA funds and will be gone (when all our projects) are completed.
There was also a brief discussion about this weekend’s Pirate Fest, and the possibility of making it an annual event.
The District is also working with a group to provide Maritime Education and Training for kids who do not go to college.
“It could end up being a Workforce thing, or something with Del Mar College,” said Dieckow. “Many (of our kids) have no chance for upward mobility.
“Not everybody can, or wants to go to college.
“This can be another way to get young people to make a livable wage to live here, which is a hard thing to do.”