While 2017 produced some great accomplishments, the park board has an ambitious work plan in place for 2018 and beyond. The organization will continue to protect and improve Galveston’s natural resources and to build its visitor base.
The park board recently learned it is set to receive more than $10 million in Restore Act funding for two major projects. The first will allow the park board to construct an ADA accessible, open air pavilion and make other improvements at the East End Lagoon. The second will provide funding for a beach reconstruction project at Babe’s Beach, west of 61st Street, in 2019.
Keeping the beaches healthy and wide to provide protection from storm surges and for recreation is a priority for 2018. Though no new major beach reconstruction project is slated for next year, the park board staff will spend time researching new sources of sand, innovative sand harvesting technology, and the use of structural solutions to reduce beach erosion. This work will be done thanks to $3.2 million in grants the park board staff expects to receive from the Texas General Land Office. Additionally, the Coastal Zone Management team plans to place more than 1,000 dune plants along seawall beaches to help retain sand there.
The park board has contributed funding to support two new exciting events coming to the island in 2018. Tall Ships America will bring its Tall Ships Challenge Race Series to Galveston April 5-8, 2018. The event will bring a fleet of visiting vessels that will anchor at Galveston’s historic waterfront. While the ships are here, festival goers will have the opportunity to experience ship tours, sail-away excursions, music, food and other special events in a family friendly environment.
The Third Coast Music Festival will make its debut on the island April 26-29, 2018. The festival is expected to feature 40 bands playing 50 shows at locations throughout Galveston. This isn’t a festival in a field; it’s a unique experience for guests to hear some of the nation’s best live music. The event will coincide with the 10th annual Galveston Island Beach Revue on April 28, 2018, with a free afternoon of vintage-inspired music, and the world famous Bathing Beauties contest. Park board staff will lend public relations and marketing support to both of the events in order to draw tourists to the island during what is typically a slow time of the year.
With plans like these in place, 2018 promises to be an eventful and successful year for the park board. I am thankful to be a part of this innovative and enthusiastic team.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.