Looking for answers in Galveston

October 25, 2008 5:35:11 PM PDT
On the west end of Galveston, many residents are still struggling to get their lives and homes back in order after Hurricane Ike. It's a process that will take months, and hundreds of them gathered Saturday looking for answers. ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim

"We had a bedroom downstairs and a bathroom and that's completely gone," said Galveston resident Nadine Morella. "The stairs are completely gone."

Morella was one of hundreds of Galveston's west end residents at a property owners meeting Saturday. There were plenty of questions about fixing the damage brought on by Hurricane Ike.

"We have no water, no utilities, no electricity," said Morella. "So it's pretty grim right now."

Police estimate only about 500 people are living on the west end right now. Some homes are uninhabitable and the city's planning department is answering questions about homeowners' worst fears.

"I think there's been a lot of concern that the city has looked at certain subdivisions and said that entire subdivision is going to have to be demolished," said Loria Schwarz with the Galveston planning department. "And that's not the case. No decisions have been made about anybody's home individually at this point."

For many west end residents right on the water, they are closer to the waves than ever and worried about what that will mean for rebuilding efforts.

"The city's permitting is based off of a line of vegetation," said Eddie Fisher with the Texas General Land Office. "That line of vegetation is obliterated, so what we're doing is we're establishing a temporary line, and it's based on scientifically, where the line of vegetation would grow naturally and at an elevation."

So many of these homes are vacation homes, but for now instead of vacationers, the west end welcomes construction workers.

"Contractors to adjustors to repairman to homeowners all over the west end," said Claire Reiswerg with Sand 'n Sea properties. "The traffic is like a July weekend during the day. At night, it's like a ghost town."

And it will likely remain that way for some time.

If you have questions about getting a permit for repairs on Galveston Island or questions about the Texas Land Office's new shoreline assessment you heard about in our story, here are two links that will help.

  • Texas General Land Office
  • City of Galveston

    Keep your family safe this hurricane season. Check our complete tropical weather preparation guide


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