GALVESTON (Galveston County Daily News) – Phase 1 of a $102.7 million buyout program began this week, as county commissioners received formal approval to purchase and convert as many as 900 Hurricane Ike–damaged homes into open land. 

Just over 500 applicants were notified that their properties were approved for buyout. Most properties on the county’s priority list are beachfront on the Gulf side of the Bolivar Peninsula, including properties just east and west of Rollover Pass in Gilchrist.

 Properties purchased will be county-owned and will not be available for private development. Instead, properties will become green space under the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The land can be used for drainage improvement and open park space.

 After the initial phase is complete, 111 properties will be considered in a second round of buyouts.