As a freelance journalist, I wanted to help those affected by Harvey. So I headed to the coast to learn what was really needed to help.
Rebuilding Ingleside-On-The-Bay After Hurricane Harvey
I spent most of February in Ingleside-On-The-Bay, Texas. This hidden community took my breath away. As I walked through this small community the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey is still visible, but so is their Recovery efforts. The homes that have been repaired are bright colors and bring hope to the neighborhood. As I walked, people were friendly and greeted me as I passed by. Even the police took the time to make sure I was supposed to be in the area. I felt safe and welcomed to this paradise.
Small Business owners in Ingleside-On-The-Bay
My heart was torn between the devastation I saw and the sight of recovery. As I interviewed and spoke with people in this community, one thing became clear to me. This is a close-knit community that has love and concern for each other. Talking with the emotional small business owners told me that their passion and livelihood was in their businesses they had just lost. Most residents started the cleanup and repairs on their businesses as soon as allowed. This was their income, and without it, they didn't see any way to recover.
Several small business owners told me that their business came from their love of what they were doing and they had everything they owned tied up in their businesses. So when Hurricane Harvey showed it took more than buildings from this neighborhood, it took a part of each and every resident in the community.
As I learned the history from the locals, I realized that the community was developed because the Bahia Marina that was built in 1965. Without them, this area would not be today. In 2014 Wes Williams bought the Bahia Marina because of his passion for boats. After speaking with so many about the area, I knew I would write their stories and Wes Williams had to be the first.
Wes Williams Story
The Bahia Marina is owned and operated by Wes Williams and his family. They lived in one of the 5 apartments on the property. That was until Hurricane Harvey come to visit and displaced them. The family has finally found a house to rent while they do clean up and repairs.
When asked "Why he bought the Marina 3 years ago?", he had a simple answer. "I was tired of the corporate world. Plus I have loved boats since I was a young kid."
So he jumped all in and made a place people love to gather and share their lives together. The day I called to do the interview, he was taking a break from his grandchildren that had spent the day with him, cleaning the dock. He realized that life was too precious to waste it.
Here it is six months since the Hurricane Harvey hit and repairs are slow, because his income came from renting out the boat slips. With 31 slips damaged, and many boats sunk he was unable to rent any. As we spoke he was excited that he had 65% of the boat slips repaired and rented. He was on his way to Recovering from the worst storm in Texas history.
Marina Dock Store
What was Damaged
- 5 Waterfront Apartments
- 2 Story Office and Storage building
- 31 Boat Slips
- All electric
- Island Themed Venue for live music
- The roof and ceiling in the Dock Store
- and lots more
The Dock Store
This close-knit community came together to help each other not only with clean up but with surviving each day. Before the hurricane, they would gather on the Marina and visit. Every other weekend there was live music and special Benefit Concerts.
This picture shows the progress, not the damage. The Marina Dock Store still has a lot of repairs yet to go, but Wes is hopeful to have it opened up by June of this year.
Take a Minute
The View from the Bahia Marina
Because of the commercial need for boats to have a place to put their boats in an easy access to deep water, The Bahia Marina has been at this location for almost 70 years.
As you sit and enjoy the view, you will see Cooks Island and Ingleside Point. The waterways that come into Ingleside cove are many. To the south side of the Marina, you will find the Corpus Christi Bay. Running through Ingleside Cove is the La Quinta Channel that leads to the ship channel. This makes access to the Gulf of Mexico easy to reach. Not too far away you will find, Redfish Bay, the Kinney Bayou and the Jewell Fulton Canal. All which have excellent fishing areas.
Office and Storage Building
Can it be Saved?
This building has always been part of the Bahia Marina. It has been repaired and in use for many years. The damage done by Hurricane Harvey has Wes Williams wondering if he will be able to repair and open the storage area. The top part of the building was the storage area while the lower was the office and shop.
My Final Thoughts
This is just the beginning, the Bahia marina is just one of the small local businesses that have been affected, and since this business has a ripple effect on the community it is very important that it becomes fully functional soon. This brings income into the area and it brings a way to release the stress from the everyday events.
As I left the Marina I'm faced with the sign above. I stood and looked at the Marina and then at the neighborhood surrounding it. It is correct, it felt like I was stepping into another world.
My next article will be the heartbreaking story of Sonja Strong and her struggle to get Dolphin Connection up and running. I spoke to this woman and she was overwhelmed with the damage.
© 2018 Joanna Blackburn