Ground was broken on the Fulton Convention Center / Paws & Taws Tuesday, June 4, marking a momentous day in the Town of Fulton.
Hurricane Harvey destroyed the original Paws & Taws.
“We’re building this without a dime of (local) taxpayer money,” said Fulton Mayor Jimmy Kendrick, smiling from ear to ear.
He took a moment to thank local officials, including County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills, former Rockport Mayor C.J. Wax, and current Mayor Pat Rios, for their support after Hurricane Harvey.
Kendrick noted he made a lot of noise with state and federal officials, but he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Recalling a conversation he had with Gov. Greg Abbott, Kendrick noted, “The governor said, ‘Jimmy, you will not lose Fulton.’”
Prior to the groundbreaking, representatives of Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and Congressman Michael Cloud read letters from those elected officials because they could not be in attendance.
“This a celebration, not only for Fulton, but for the entire Aransas County community. I regret that I cannot join you in person for the ceremony,” said Kolkhorst.
“Beginning this construction marks a significant step in Fulton’s ongoing recovery after Hurricane Harvey. Aransas County will benefit greatly as the convention center will attract new people and new activity and call attention to all this community has to offer.”
She told Kendrick, “Thank you for your dedication to Fulton and for playing an integral part in the rebuilding process.”
Cloud said, “After everything we’ve been through, this is one more landmark in the recovery process and it’s so exciting that it’s here.
“Know that we are there with you in spirit and excited about the work that has been done.
“The community has been awesome in coming together, out of the storm, and building something beautiful.”
He noted Fulton is a new community coming out of what was a horrible storm, but the recovery story is wonderful.
Rebuild Texas’ Cristina Cornejo said, “We are so excited to be a part of this (rebuilding).”
Rebuild Texas allocated more than $300,000 to be used for the building’s construction.
Rep. Todd Hunter greeted the crowd, reminded them the Coastal Bend was first hit, and first forgotten, and then thanked Kendrick for being a “good friend.”
Architect Kenny Burns told the large crowd, which was comfortably seated under a tent, “You’re going to be very proud of it when it’s finished. It will be ready by Oysterfest 2019.”
Fulton officials and others then manned a line of shovels and officially kicked off construction of the new facility.
The Pictures Band out of Austin entertained the crowd after the groundbreaking.
About the new Convention Center – Paws & Taws
Weaver and Jacobs Constructors, Inc. of Cuero, is the project’s Construction Manager at Risk.
The new structure 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 about eight feet above the current ground level.
It will have metal framing with Hardiplank siding.
There will be a covered drive at the entrance where people can be dropped off.
An office will be located on the left side when one enters the building.
Tiled bathrooms will be located on the west side.
A large breakout room will have a divider installed, making two meetings possible simultaneously.
The storage closet will have sliding doors, which make it easier to maneuver.
The stage will be portable, as opposed to the old stationary stage.
In the old Paws and Taws there was a full kitchen. The new one will have a food prep room.
Fulton has a little more than $2.6 million from FEMA, insurance settlements, and Rebuild Texas to pay for construction.
Weaver and Jacobs estimates the cost at $2,486,276.