Bayside gets the grant

Tim Delaney photo Ro Ellis (standing left) with Wilson Consulting, who Refugio County has contracted to help with administration of grants, and Jose De Leon, engineer with LNV Engineering, explain the Rebuild Texas $350,000 grant Bayside was awarded to rehabilitate the town's community center/town hall. The announcement of the grant award was made Tuesday night, Aug. 13, during the Bayside City Council meeting attended by about 30 residents.

BAYSIDE – A $360,000 Rebuild Texas grant was awarded to Bayside to fix its community center/town hall.

The announcement was made Tuesday night, Aug. 12, at a city council meeting to the surprise of the council and town.

Jose De Leon of LNV Engineering and Ro Ellis of Wilson Consulting, a contractor hired by the county to administer grants, made the announcement with a presentation.

DeLeon said Bayside was a small city hit the hardest by Hurricane Harvey. But many of the matching grants were unaffordable for the town.

He said 90 percent of the town – the bulkhead, wastewater plant, roads, piers and the historic Wood Mansion – was severely damaged.

“It was by far one of the hardest hit,” De Leon said.

He noted that $75.18 million in damages were catalogued.

However, though all was catalogued, it would take a match totaling $150,000 – not possible from the town.

De Leon said he met with the top leaders of Bayside and determined what was needed most.

Among those top priorities was city hall. And it was chosen as top priority.

The grant will be matched by $42,310 in FEMA funding, freeing the town of any financial obligation.

Ellis noted that FEMA said the bulkhead was ineligible for its funds.

“We (De Leon and Ellis) wrote up the Rebuild Texas grant and it was approved,” De Leon said.

“Rebuild loved it,” he said.

The grant will help pay for the community center’s windows, wind blown debris, ceiling damage, floor damage, restrooms and more for the community center/town hall, which is used for all kinds of public meetings.

Insurance and FEMA money was subtracted from the $400,000 grant, and the remainder was $362,000.

“While construction is  going on, groups meeting there will have to adjust their schedules,” De Leon said.

He said the Americans With Disabilities Act may require the city offices to move from the north end of the building to the south end where a ramp is already located.

“We didn’t know this was coming,” said City Councilman Ken Dahl.

“We were trying to think of ways to do it,” he added.

“We are excited to provide this grant to continue our collective mission of helping communities rebuild after Hurricane Harvey,” said Cristina Cornejo, program officer with Rebuild Texas Fund. “We look forward to seeing the progress that will be made with this grant and assisting this remarkable county recover after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey,” she added.

“The town of Bayside is very appreciative of the grant from Rebuild Texas for $362,000,” said Mayor Sharon Scott.

The project will get underway immediately, and is scheduled to be completed in March.

Tim Delaney is the Refugio editor at the  Advance-Guard Press and can be reached at 361-526-2397, or at refugio@mySouTex.com.