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For an upcoming story on the restoration project at Sylvan Beach, I wanted to set up a photo with some people in it. I called La Porte Parks and Recreation Director Stephen Barr, who has been my primary source on this story since the project began in April.

Barr, ever helpful and a pretty good photographer himself, filed all the paper work to get grants to pay for the beach renourishment work, and I thought he would be a logical choice to be in the photo.

He was a bit reluctant to be the only one in the picture, so he talked to Gilbert Smith, Harris County Precinct 2 recreation superintendent, who also helped with the project. The county owns the park and will operate the beach once it reopens.

From Barr's conversation with Smith, the photo opportunity expanded to include five elected officials: Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, La Porte Mayor Barry Beasley, State Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte; and two state reps, Wayne Smith, R-Baytown; and John Davis, R-Houston. They all turned out for the picture-taking session on Monday, Jan. 25.
 

Sen. Mike Jackson, left, Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, Rep. Wayne Smith, Rep. John Davis and La Porte Mayor Barry Beasley talk about the recent restoration of Sylvan Beach.

But hey, there's a lot of beach, and, as the elected officials said, it truly did take a joint effort among the city, county and state.

It began in the late 1990s with a grant from the Coastal Erosion Planning and Response Act administered by the Texas General Land Office, Barr said. That first grant was for a feasibility study to see if the restoration project made sense.

Ultimately, the GLO ended up providing $2.1 million, with $600,000 from the county and about $700,000 from La Porte.

 
The restored beach, I've got to say, is spectacular. It may open this Saturday, Jan. 30, if the final inspection on Friday goes OK, Barr said.