Emotions run high as Bolivar Peninsula residents denounce coastal barrier proposal at public meeting

Hundreds of residents and property owners on Bolivar Peninsula packed a small cafeteria at Crenshaw Elementary School in Crystal Beach Saturday afternoon to give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a healthy dose of their concerns over a proposed 71-mile coastal barrier.

Ever since the proposal of the system of levees and sea gates beginning on high ground north of High Island that would run the length of the peninsula along State Highway 87 in late October, Bolivar residents have been diligently organizing against it. They’ve started Facebook groups, convened town halls and distributed T-shirts emblazoned with “SaveBolivar.org.”

“It’s gonna destroy this whole peninsula,” said Claudia Perkins, a property owner on Bolivar from Fort Worth who attended the meeting. “The way this is placed, if we had a direct hit hurricane, yeah it’d be great but what if it hits further north? I think they didn’t reach out to the public.”

The anti-coastal barrier movement reached such a fever pitch on Bolivar that there were concerns as to whether Crenshaw Elementary would be able to fit all those hoping to attend Saturday’s public meeting hosted by the Army Corps of Engineers and Texas General Land Office, the nonfederal sponsor of the project.

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