The Galveston Park Board of Trustees will host a “give back” weekend in late September for Hurricane Harvey relief.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday to waive beach user fees at its parks on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The group will instead ask for donations at the gates for people affected by the hurricane.

“The idea is, you’ve been working hard; it’s on us,” park board Executive Director Kelly de Schaun said.

“What it does allow us to do is be in the Houston market with a really kind message.”

While Galveston didn’t report intensive damage during the storm, North Galveston County was hard hit, with an estimated 40,000 people displaced because of flood damage to their homes.

The park board will ask the city to waive parking fees along Seawall Boulevard and in downtown and to also waive trolley fares, de Schaun said.

The park board is also encouraging other island tourism groups to participate and host similar events.

Shop owners, restaurateurs and hotel owners are worried about the effects of the hurricane. Tourism has been slow on the island since the storm, de Schaun said.

“It’s grave for people out there,” de Schaun said.

The park board will launch an aggressive marketing campaign through the early winter to encourage people to come to the island, de Schaun said. The focus will be on fall events, such as Lone Star Rally, a motorcycle events that attracts thousands, so the island can get back in a groove by the summer season, de Schaun said.

Trustee Maureen Patton said the park board needs to be assertive in its efforts.

“When times get really difficult, this is not the time to pull back,” Patton said.

Samantha Ketterer: 409-683-5241; samantha.ketterer@galvnews.com or on Twitter at @sam_kett

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