Recently the Industrial Development Corporation ( IDC ) discussed the possibility of funding a new 4.8 million dollar Soccer Complex for residents and visitors, at the current location of the Sandhill Crane Soccer fields on Stewart Road.
During this discussion it became clear, that if Galveston wanted this sports facility and others to return the best possible benefit to the community and support the quality of life for our residents, it will require a collaborative effort of the City, GISD, Texas A&M Galveston, Galveston College and the Park Board.
The Galveston Economic Development Partnership ( GEDP ) has been exploring the potential of Sports Tourism for years and I and other IDC members attended their recent Tourism Task Force Meeting to discuss how a true collaborative effort could be developed.
Sports Tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the Tourism Industry and could possibly be made to order for our Community. Where many communities focus on attracting Sporting events, they don’t have much to do other than the games themselves. In Galveston a family can come for the Sports Tournament and also have multiple other things to do.
Recent research has outlined four significant ways that Sports Tourism can benefit a community:
* Stimulate the local economy (direct spending related to the use of sport facilities and services; visitors' and public spending for goods and services; employment opportunities, and tax revenue)
*Enhance the area's image
*Provide outstanding entertainment and in some instances, the opportunity for community participation
* Contribute to the resident's quality of life
Sports Tourists are family oriented, spend multiple nights on the Island and are prone to experience all the Island has to offer between games. As the Sports Tourism Task Force Meeting was coming to an end, all the participants were supportive of meeting again and discussing a more formal structure for managing this growing industry and to see how it might fit with our community. Galveston is known for our Beaches, Historic Structures and Island Ambiance and maybe, in a not too distant future, we will be known as the place to be for soccer, baseball, rugby cheerleading or gymnastic tournaments.
Have a Invigorating and Sporting March !
We are down to the final 2 months of our race for Mayor. What an exciting time for all of us to make sure my message and vision are communicated to all residents. Please join my campaign as we work together to continue the work and improve the quality of life for us all.
At February’s IDC Meeting, County Commissioner Ken Clark gave an update as to the status of a new Pelican Island Bridge.
The current bridge has a limited life span and a new 105 million dollar bridge, that will swing to the west and terminate north of the Texas A&M campus, is planned. Funding for the bridge will come from Tx.Dot, Houston Galveston Area Council, Galveston County, Port of Houston, TAMUG and 5 Million Dollars from the City of Galveston.
Discussions also include the concept that the City would take ownership of the bridge once completed and would share with the County, any cost overruns during construction. These two stipulations will need to be discussed much more before a final decision is made by the City.
Industrial Development Corporation
As mentioned earlier, the concept of a first class Soccer Complex was discussed at the most recent IDC meeting. Currently 4.8 million is preliminarily earmarked for the project that would approach completion in 2024. More discussion will take place at future IDC meetings before a final determination is made.
At that same meeting the operation of Lasker Pool was discussed. As you may remember the IDC initially provided some of the funding for the Community Pool and has made a commitment to continue assisting with maintenance funding in the future. The Pool is a wonderful asset for the Residents of Galveston and the IDC is committed to continue to provide operational assistance.
At the recent Cultural Arts Commission Meeting a number of topics were discussed.
Public Art: The Commission is awarded $50,000 annually for Public Art. The application for projects and the guidelines for submission are being finalized by the Commission and being reviewed by the City’s Legal Department.
There was discussion to initiate the call for projects in January of 2021 to allow for proper vetting of the application and guidelines. If that is approved at the next Commission meeting, it would allow for $100,000 to be available for allocation.
City Flag: The Commission discussed having a call for projects for designs for an official City Flag in the near future. The criteria for submission would follow the guidelines of the North American Vexillological Association for principles for Flag Design. The Commission will present to Council an update as to the process and timeline for the selection of a City Flag at their March 24th meeting.
For more specifics concerning guidelines for Flag designs, please CLICK HERE.
Port of Galveston
As is always the case, the Port has been very busy and the following are just a few of the projects that are ongoing.
Master Plan Priorities: The Wharves Board and Port Staff have taken the Master Plan and have itemized the most important projects for the near and distant future and identified funding requirements of each. The next steps will be to prioritize these projects and discuss funding options, which will then allow the Port to move forward with Cargo and Cruise infrastructure improvements.
Cruise Terminal #3: Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is finishing there due diligence at Pier 10 and is scheduled to begin construction of their new Terminal in June. This project will necessitate a Plan for traffic flow and the Port’s Traffic Study should be presented in April.
IDC Projects: The Port Staff, with input from the Board, has also identified four projects that may be taken to the City’s Industrial Development Corporation for funding consideration. The list is not finalized and meetings with the City are scheduled to discuss this in more detail.
To learn more about these topics and other activities of the Port please CLICK HERE to view the most recent Port Director’s Report.
Recently I had the pleasure of attending Loftwalk 2020. The event, at the National Hotel Artists Lofts at 23rd and Market, showcased various artists and art techniques in their living/studio space.
The Artists Lofts are another wonderful example of the blossoming Art Community on the Island and Congratulations to Becky Majors and everyone who made the event such a rousing success.
Galveston’s Beach Access Plan
On February 27th Council discussed a very important topic, Galveston’s Beach Access Plan. The most recent Plan was finalized in 2012 and approved by the General Land Office. The document controls all beach activities including Access Points, Beachfront Construction and the new Parking Fees on the Seawall.
In 2019 Council also appointed a Beach/Dune Ad Hoc Committee, which was tasked with reviewing our current Plan and making recommendations designed to make our Plan more responsive to the Community’s needs.
As the 2012 Plan was being reviewed it was noted there were areas that needed to be addressed to stay within the guidelines of our current Plan.
The Planning Department and the Coastal Resource Department of the City are currently working with the GLO to develop a workable Plan for Galveston and following the GLO’s approval, will work with the Beach Access Committee to consider changes they have recommended.
Please let me know if you have any questions and to view details concerning the status of our Plan, please CLICK HERE.
The Park Board recently presented to Council their revised five year Capital Improvement Plan. This Plan gives you the details of how and when the Beach and Bay Parks managed by the Park Board will evolve over the coming years.
Projects such as a pilot program to determine the efficacy of a breakwater structure to control erosion, a major drainage project to address flooding at Stewart Beach and the building of a Boardwalk and Interpretative Center at The East End Lagoon are just a few of the upcoming changes.
Please CLICK HERE to acquaint yourself with all the planned projects.
New West End Residential Tower
Recently Council approved a new ten story residential structure on the West End of the Island. As one of the first projects of this type on the West End the structure is designed to meet Audobon Bird Safe Building Guidelines, conform to Dark Sky Guidelines for lighting, incorporate Water Collection Systems to irrigate the landscaping and provide Energy Efficient building practices.
I applaud the developer for including current environmental principles and technology to support our Community standards.
To learn more about the project please CLICK HERE.
City Manager Report
What better way to get a little exercise than walking, running ......or just relaxing between the two, with the latest version of the City Manager’s Report. Please CLICK HERE.
City Council Snippets
Galveston Honored Again As A Tree City USA Recipient.
Palm Ordinance Deferred To Council’s March Or April Meeting.
Leave No Trace Beach Program’s Hours Are Now From Sunset to 7:00 am.
Trolley Barn Being Flood Proofed To Protect Trolleys.
Senior Citizen Discount To Begin At 65 Years Of Age For Lasker Pool.
Civilian Review Reinstated Following Changes To Comply With State Law
Council’s March Meeting Moved to Tuesday, March 24th.