Kemah Boardwalk is back in action

KEMAH, TX [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

People coming to the Kemah Boardwalk will notice a few changes -- a couple of restaurants and rides have not yet reopened. But most of the complex, including the popular train, is up and running.

Progress has been made week by week since Hurricane Ike. All but two restaurants are back open. Shops are doing business as well. The attractions that make the park famous are slowly coming back online. The main entertainment stage will reopen on Saturday.

It's a big departure from what we saw just after Hurricane Ike. The entire complex was torn apart, forced to close for six weeks. It has taken millions of dollars to remove 600 truckloads of debris to get the park back to where it is now. But the work is still not done.

Kemah Boardwalk General Manager Tim Anderson said, "I would fully expect that pretty much 100% of the work will be completed by spring break of 2009."

But things are moving along. The famed carousel, which was lost to the storm, has been replaced by a new two-story ride. Worker Saul Felix is glad to help the boardwalk come back to life.

"I'm sure it means a lot for all the kids," he said.

All that work is important. The Kemah Christmas Boat Lane Parade is Saturday. It's the first major event in the city since the storm.

Kemah restaurant customer Scott Richter feels the timing of it all couldn't be better.

He said, "I think that's real important this time of the year, because during the Christmas holidays it's always a good place for kids."

The Boardwalk Bullet, the big roller coaster, is open as well. The Kemah Boardwalk recovery is not only good for the complex, but good for the city as well. The Boardwalk employs more than 2,000 employees.

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