GALVESTON — City Councilwoman Marie Robb said Tuesday she would recommend shifting money from the city’s convention center surplus fund to the city’s parks department as a short-term way to ease some problems plaguing West End property owners.
Robb, who represents District 6 on the island’s West End, broached the idea during a meeting of the Park Board of Trustees, of which she is an ex officio member. The park board is an independent body with an appointed board that oversees some aspects of Galveston’s tourism industry. The parks department is a division of the city government charged with managing city parks.
Giving the parks department a small amount from the surplus would allow it to place and maintain portable toilets at Hershey Beach and a few other of the city’s free beach access points, Robb said.
Condominium owners near Hershey Beach have complained about what they describe as large, loud, unruly crowds of people who litter, trespass, trample dune grass and use the beach and environs as toilets.
They have been demanding portable toilets and a more consistent police presence at the city of Galveston’s Beach Access Point No. 10, and some want the city or the park board begin charging fees for people to park on Hershey Beach.
The owners said they worry the problem will get worse when the city begins charging people to park along the seawall, which could happen soon.
Officials have acknowledged the problem and agree that imposing parking fees along the seawall probably will push more people to the free West End access points.
The city council asked the park board to explore long- and short-term solutions to the problems.
Robb, Park Board Chairman Craig Brown and Executive Director Kelly de Schaun all agreed that a long-term solution would need to be comprehensive and would require planning.
The park board’s finance committee planned to meet Monday with City Manager Michael Kovacs and other senior city staff members to gather information and make a recommendation about long-term solutions at a future board meeting.