Temp ‘RV Park’ OK’d for Recovery Work
James Booth, pastor of Island Community Church, has 1,300 students scheduled to travel to Galveston, Texas, in March to help restore homes damaged by Hurricane Ike.
But until Feb. 12, he had nowhere for them to stay, according to the Galveston County Daily News.
Booth was one of three pastors who appealed to the city council to allow them to create temporary trailer parks for recreational vehicles to give volunteers a place to stay while they’re on the island.
The council unanimously agreed, amending city code to allow the parks, regardless of zoning regulations, for the next 14 months.
Not long after Hurricane Ike made landfall on Sept. 13, flooding 75% of the island’s houses, the council agreed to let homeowners place travel trailers on their lots or on the street in front of their houses. They also agreed to allow the trailers on commercial sites to allow businesses to operate while their buildings are being repaired.
Those temporary regulations are set to expire on June 1, the start of this year’s hurricane season.
But volunteers will be coming through the fall, Booth said.
Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas endorsed the temporary regulations allowing the trailers to stay through hurricane season, but only after a requesting a provision requiring the trailers to evacuate any time a tropical storm entered the Gulf of Mexico.
Grayson Glass, executive director of the Galveston Baptist Association, assured her that at the first hint of a storm, the volunteers would leave.
Before getting the council’s approval to set up the temporary trailer parks, the pastors warned officials the volunteers would go somewhere else if the city made it hard for them to stay here.
“If you want the faith-based organizations to help you, we are here to help,” Pastor Billy Graph, from University Baptist Church, said. “If not, we’ll send them somewhere else. Galveston is not the only place that needs help.”
LeBlanc urged the council to modify the regulations, saying the city needed all the help it could get rebuilding the community.
Most of the recreational vehicles will be placed in church parking lots.