AUSTIN, Texas — The Town of Fulton will begin rebuilding the 1,200-foot Fulton Fishing Pier this Saturday alongside the new Fulton Convention Center—Paws and Taws Building, which workers began erecting late last month. The two structures’ reopening, slated for January, will mark a milestone in the recovery of a town devastated by Hurricane Harvey two years ago.
Before Harvey struck Fulton on Aug. 25, 2017, the Paws and Taws center hosted more than five decades of events, including the square dances from which it got its name.
“It’s been here for a long time, been a part of this community, a cornerstone of this community, and when it was destroyed, it was hard to get over that,” Mayor Jimmy Kendrick said. “We have a lot of community events [at the center], from Chamber of Commerce events to a ton of fishing tournaments.”
The Convention Center and the Fishing Pier next door were two main drivers of local tourism, Kendrick said, noting that tourism and the oyster industry are the largest contributors to Fulton’s economy.
“Kids from all over the country came here and fished,” he said. “Families who couldn’t afford a boat came here to fish.”
Both the Convention Center and the Fishing Pier are being rebuilt through grants from the FEMA Public Assistance program that total more than $3.8 million and cover 90% of the cost. The new Convention Center will feature construction elements that make it more resilient to storms than its predecessor.
FEMA’s Public Assistance program reimburses eligible applicants for actions taken in the immediate response to and during recovery from a disaster. Eligible applicants include states, federally recognized tribal governments, U.S. territories, local governments and certain private nonprofits. The program provides project funding directly to the state for disbursement to applicants; the Fulton grants were disbursed through the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
For additional information on Hurricane Harvey and Texas recovery, visit the Hurricane Harvey disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4332, Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEMAHarvey, the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at www.twitter.com/FEMARegion6 or the Texas Division of Emergency Management website at www.dps.texas.gov/dem.