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Galveston Island continues to recover after Hurricane Ike

(EMAILWIRE.COM, October 02, 2008 ) Houston, TX - As the days pass after Hurricane Ike’s landfall, Galveston Island continues to heal. Major steps have been made in the tourism industry on the Island. Events have been confirmed or rescheduled, attractions have begun clean up and more hotels are opening.

The Galveston Historical Foundation has been working quickly to save Galveston’s historical pieces after assessing damages at the US Customs House and Ashton Villa. A remediation team has determined that the antique furniture, artworks, maps and photography from these locations can be saved if timely action is taken. Other properties such as the two oldest residences on the island, the 1838 Menard Home and the 1839 Samuel May Williams Home, escaped unscathed and will only need minimal yard work. The most visited historic property, Bishop’s Palace, received only minor damage from a broken window and water in the basement’s Visitors Center, but has already cleaned up and is nearly ready for tours.

“Galveston Historical Foundation will continue to be a driving force in the development and enrichment of the City of Galveston,” said Tom Schwenk, President, Galveston Historical Foundation. “We have a lot of work to do and we are up to the challenge.”

The widely celebrated Dickens on the Strand holiday event, held the first weekend of December, continues to be scheduled for December 6 and 7.

Various hotels on the Island are already open and operating to full capacity. The San Luis Resort along with the Holiday Inn and Hilton Resort have been housing officials and disaster relief teams since the storm passed. The Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis Resort has begun working with planners to reschedule September events and coordinating events for October.

The Hotel Galvez and Harbor House are also housing contractors and employees during the time of recovery. The two properties will begin taking reservations from tourists for the Lone Star Rally being held October 30-November 2. Unfortunately the Tremont House sustained minor damage from Hurricane Ike from flood waters and the restoration process is expected to continue until early 2009. Limited service hotels such as LaQuinta Inn & Suites or Baymont Inn & Suits located on the Seawall, have already begun preparations to open their doors to guests in October. Moody Gardens Hotel and Conference Center is in good condition and continues to provide rooms to Center Point Energy employees as well as contractors assisting with recovery to the Island.
Moody Gardens’ attractions will begin opening Friday, October 3.

The Aquarium Pyramid along with the Discovery Pyramid will be the first to open. The Rainforest Pyramid received some water damage and will need a few weeks of restoration before it is able to welcome back animals and guests. Animals from the Rainforest Pyramid have been temporarily moved to the Houston Zoo for safety. Other attractions at Moody Gardens such as the 4D Ride Film Theater and the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat received very minimal damages and will be opening soon.

Schlitterbahn Galveston has begun cleaning its property and assessing rides. Opening for Wasserfest, the winter indoor area of the waterpark, has been postponed until slides can be tested for safety and special roofing can be reordered and installed.
The Grand 1894 Opera House suffered no structural damage but did suffer flooding in its street level and basement level areas. The 2008 portion of the theatre season is being rescheduled or refunded, depending on the performance, until January.

Galveston had planned many Island events for the month of October. Fortunately many of those events could be rescheduled. The Downtown Historic Lofts Tour will now be held in the spring and Oktoberfest will now be a smaller community event with beer, sausage and concerts known as the “Ikeoverfest.” The Lone Star Rally will continue to take place Oct 30- Nov 2. ARToberFEST and Galveston’s Epicurean Evening have been canceled.

The Port of Galveston has already been accepting cargo ships and will continue gradually accepting larger shipments through the month. The Port is also looking to welcome back Carnival Cruises in the very near future.

Galveston has been on a swift road to recovery and is reaching new heights daily. Electricity is being restored throughout the Island on a daily basis and debris is quickly being removed to clear the way to surviving and reviving Galveston. For information on Galveston Island’s recovery as well as details on events, attractions and lodging visit www.galveston.com or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.
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Galveston.com & Company, Inc.
RoShelle Gaskins
1-888-GAL-ISLE
rgaskins@galvestoncvb.com

Source: EmailWire.com

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