Long-term recovery plan for Galveston

April 10, 2009 2:59:09 PM PDT
Galveston city leaders have given the thumbs up to a 42-point plan aimed at getting the city back on its feet after Hurricane Ike. Having a plan is one thing, but actually getting it done is something else entirely.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

It is called the Long-Term Recovery Plan. The plan is the culmination of six months of work by more than 300 people. It has no less than 42 different projects encompassing every aspect of Galveston life.

Without question, one of the most important aspects of the plan is housing. Leaders say without a place to live, people will not come back to the area.

"It's going to be high-raised," said Thelma Ivory.

A vacant lot is all that is left of Ivory's home. On Galveston Island, over 75% of homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Ivory is fortunate to be able to return and rebuild. Her new home will be raised 11 feet off the ground.

"This is my home. This is where I was born. Galveston is my home. It's important for me to be here," said Ivory.

The housing future of Galveston is considered a major component of the Long-Term Recovery Plan. The plan is made up of 42 project proposals that include a disaster mitigation plan, economic development, housing, education, and health.

"This is the same role that we played in 1900. To have so many citizens, 300 of them, working for four or five months now, coming forward with a plan. Everybody doesn't agree with everybody, but it is a road map to the future," said Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas.

So much of Galveston's recovery rides on housing recovery. Prior to Ike, many neighborhoods were already experiencing a decline in population. The storm only made it worse.

The housing plan calls for, among other things, the creation of a master plan for each neighborhood to retain historic character while elevating homes in low-lying areas, and to help prevent future mass destruction.

"They already have their own character, their own extended families whether they are actual families or friends. We need to look at each neighborhood because not one size fits all," said Chula Ross Sanchez of the Housing Committee.

As for the project itself, it is only considered a proposal. It was accepted by city council and they will be looking at it for the future rebuilding of Galveston.

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