BRIDGE CITY —
The City of West Orange was hard hit by Hurricane Ike’s storm surge as well. Images of residents trapped in their houses and manufactured homes while waiting to rescued by first-responders in boats still haunts the memory of many citizens and city officials.
Five years later, the city is back on track and recovering quite well. Although, if you look closely in some areas, the impact of Hurricane Ike can still be seen.
“Our recovery is going well, but it is still a work in progress,” said Mayor Roy McDonald. “We still have at least 20 homes which were damaged by Ike’s storm surge that we need to demolish. Once we have the grant, we will take care of those safety hazards.”
McDonald said recovery in his city has been slow, but steady. Some aspects have improved while other areas have not moved as quickly as he had hoped or wanted.
“We are ready to start working on a couple of projects, like addressing our drainage problems,” he explained. “There several culverts we need to replace with larger ones which will improve the flow of water in drainage situations. We have already done some street repairs and will start another street repair project shortly.”
The biggest impact to West Orange was the loss of businesses and decline in population following the storm.
“We lost quite a bit of our population,” McDonald stated. “Especially many of our elderly residents. Instead of choosing to rebuild, a lot of them moved off to be closer to their families. Our population has not recovered as quickly as I would like it too.
“We have had some new businesses move to West Orange since the storm, especially recently, and that is a good sign because we lost several after the storm,” he added.