This time of year, many of us spend our Sunday evenings watching as movie stars and musicians step up to the stage to receive industry honors. Though it wasn’t a Grammy or an Oscar, the park board recently received regional recognition for one of its projects.

In January, the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) gave special recognition to the park board for its seawall beach replenishment project. The $19.5 million project took honors in the On-the-Ground Projects over $500,000 category.

Founded in 1966, HGAC is the regionwide voluntary association of local governments in the 13-county Gulf Coast Planning Region of Texas. The organization works with local government officials to solve problems across the area.

The Galveston Park Board is a member of HGAC’s Parks and Natural Areas Subcommittee. The committee established the awards program in 2006 to highlight the best practices and innovative approaches to park planning and implementation. Last year, the park board’s long-term sand management plan earned honors in HGAC’s Policy Tools category.

According to HGAC, award entries are evaluated on innovation, merit and regional impact. Winning entries demonstrate the best practices and collaboration between developers, local governments, engineering and planning agencies, businesses, resources, environmental groups and residents.

When it came to collaboration, this project was no exception. Led by Texas General Land Office staff, the project team was comprised of Nebraska-based engineering firm HDR, staff from the park board and the city of Galveston, and New Jersey-based Weeks Marine. In addition, park board staff made multiple public presentations about the project and actively sought community input.

The project, completed in May 2017, expanded the beaches along Galveston’s historic seawall. More than 1 million cubic yards of sand were placed along the nearly 4 mile stretch of beach there.

“This is easily the single largest nourishment project implemented along the Texas Gulf Coast,” Ruber Trevino, park board director of operations, said. “The finished project resulted in a beach approximately 60 feet wider than its pre-project width.”

These beach projects seek to increase the overall health of the coastal ecosystem and all of the species that interact within this area, including both humans and others. The expansion serves to protect property from storm surges, provide more recreation area for visitors and protect marine and bird life.

“A resilient beach and dune system promotes the health of native endangered species by helping to sustain their nesting and foraging habitat,” Trevino said. “Wide, sandy beaches also promote an array of diverse opportunities for people to enjoy and be active.”

Park board meetings are open to the public and the public may address the board of trustees during the meetings. Park board meetings are typically held on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. at 601 Tremont St. If you are interested in seeing a park board issue discussed in this column, or if you have any questions, please send them my way. I can be reached at

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

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