Galveston residents look to future

October 13, 2008 5:59:19 PM PDT
Hundreds of Galveston homeowners have been given the green light to repair and rebuild their homes, but there's big gap between told you can do it, and actually being able to do it.ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim

Progress is slow but steady on the Strand. Large piles of debris scattered along the street have been removed, replaced by larger piles of furniture and items removed from inside devastated businesses.

Local merchant Jason Sheaffer said, "We just completed the first phase of drying out the stores just today, and we're ready to start remodeling and go from here. It's going to be another few weeks before we get our places open for sure."

To help, the Galveston Economic Development Partnership is now offering 180 day short term loans for local business owners for immediate relief.

JD Bean lived in his house for 38 years. Born and raised on the island, he has made a difficult decision.

"Get rid of the house," Bean said. "I've had all of Galveston I want. I've lived here all of my life, but that's enough."

Bean lives in Palm Circle, one of four Galveston city neighborhoods cleared this week to rebuild. Also included are Colony Park, Fish Village and Havre Lafitte, near Moody Gardens.

The FEMA update released today for Galveston city and county shows 66,000 residents have requested help in Galveston County. About 2,600 people have received temporary housing, and $50 million have been paid for minor repairs and temporary lodging.

Peggy Listowski is temporarily living in an RV outside her Galveston home in Palm Circle. She plans to rebuild and move back into her home. Despite the devastation, she's noticed progress over the past month.

"I've seen days where the streets just completely full of debris," Listowski explained. "(Now) there's just a little bit of debris, with people pulling out a little more, but on the whole they've taken debris off as fast as we've put it out there."

In the continuing recovery effort, the city of Galveston has asked the US Postal Service to repair the post office on the island or build a temporary building. For now, some residents have had to pick up their mail from the Mall of the Mainland.

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