GALVESTON - An earth mover is rearranging the stretch of beach that borders 37 th Street on the Galveston Seawall. Its goal is to rebuild what was destroyed by Ike and add extra protection against future storms.
"We are working hard and we are going to get this work done," said Isidro Reyna of the Army Corps of Engineers
Up and down the beach, huge sections are off limits as rock jetties are rebuilt.
At the west end of the seawall there is an even bigger project. Cranes are pounding 16 inch poles deep into the sand. Eventually they will form the foundation for a new section of seawall replacing what was damaged in Ike and adding an end cap.
But all this work comes at a tough time for those trying to make a living on the sand. These people include Sean Heffernan, who has been renting beach gear for 15 years.
"These weekends, like the one coming up, can make you or break you. You have a company that does this and you lose a weekend. It means a lot," Heffernan said.
Memorial Day weekend is just the first of many make or break summer weekends on the Galveston beaches. The Army Corps of Engineers says its work will be done by the next major weekend, which is the fourth of July.
In the meantime, plenty of people are starting their weekend early. Lance Martin says that Thursday was his first trip to the Galveston area since Ike.
"We thought that we would see a lot more damage from the hurricane, but actually it has turned out really nice. The beaches look beautiful," he said.
The beaches are filling up. They are not crowded by any stretch, but it is getting there.
"There were only a couple of parking spots left up there on the seawall where I wanted to park. This is actually a good thing," said TJ Marcus of Cypress, who goes to the beach every weekend.
"We are happy with it so far. We are making money. Each day it gets a little better. Hopefully it is a good build up for this weekend," said Heffernan, as he collected $20 for a daylong boogie board rental.
As more people arrive, the island is hopeful this long weekend will bring in both money and tourists to the area.