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Pavilions at Rockport back in the beach business

The Pavilions at Rockport has reopened to the public, minus all but one pavilion. The beaches are clean and ready for guests. The pavilions that were destroyed will soon be rebuilt.Courtesy phot

The Pavilions of Rockport has only one pavilion standing after Hurricane Harvey, but its beaches are clean and raked, and the pier, boat ramp and fish-cleaning station are all open for business. The harbors are also back to ship-shape condition with all sunken vessels removed and restrooms back in pre-storm conditions. Replacing the pavilions, the heart of the facility, will take a bit longer.

“We saw some of the most extreme weather with Harvey,” reported Keith Barrett, harbor master for the Aransas County Navigation District in Rockport, which manages Rockport Beach along with Rockport Harbor, Fulton Harbor, Cover Harbor and the Copano Bay Boat Ramp. “The eye of the storm came over Rockport. Structures were ripped apart. Homes, docks, piers, boats were all flying around doing a lot damage.”

The facility’s four pavilions became part of that flying debris. Windows were smashed, walls pushed in, stairwells blown away, rooftops lifted off. Only Little Bay Pavilion remains usable for now. The others will have to be totally rebuilt.

“Right now, we are in the engineering phase,” Barrett said. “The pavilions were built thirty years ago. We have engineers trying to piece together a new plan to put them back together with new code requirements in mind.”

Once a plan is in place, ACND will call for bids on the work. Until then, beach lovers still have a place to go with 50 new umbrella shade structures. By the time Spring Break begins on March 10, the cabanas, tables and barbecue pits will be rebuilt and ready for use.

One of the biggest problems, after the loss of the pavilions, was debris continually washing up on Rockport’s pristine beaches. That is all gone now, thanks to continual maintenance.

Also gone: the big blue crab sculpture that greeted visitors at the beach gate. While it is on a list of items that need to be replaced, it is a low priority, Barrett said.

“When we started off, we were just happy we could get down the street,” Barrett continued. “Then, we were happy to have water and electricity back. It’s a step-by-step process.”

The family-friendly atmosphere suffered no damage from the storm. The beach slopes gradually into the Gulf with no undertow or big waves, making it a great place for kids to play and enjoy the saltwater and sandy beaches. The sand is raked twice a week, lending a pristine, zen-like quality to the bucolic scene.

“We get family-oriented visitors here,” Barrett said. “There’s a calmer nature to our community than on some of the other beaches.”

The Pavilions of Rockport are well-maintained and cared for by year-round staff, who collect admission, manicure beaches and pick up trash.

“It’s a nice environment, and we want everyone to know we are open for business,” Barrett said. “We are ready for Spring Break, and we look forward to our next summer season.”

The Pavilions of Rockport are located at 210 Seabreeze Drive in Rockport. For information on admission and availability, call (361) 729-6661 or (361) 729-8037. You can also visit the website at rockportbeach-texas.com.

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