GALVESTON — Fifty acres of Galveston’s West End is now unavailable for commercialization.

This part of the Marquette property, off Settegest Road, will be added to another 156 acres previously purchased by Artist Boat. Together, they make up Coastal Heritage Preserve.

“We would like to acquire everything available on the bay side of Stewart Road,” Karla Klay, executive director of Artist Boat, said. “To complete that goal we need to acquire another 150 acres, which will cost probably $4.5 million.”

The section of land was purchased for $1.1 million with funding from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Galveston Bay Estuary Program and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Artist Boat has been working on acquiring the land since 2008.

“The goal is to have trails, boardwalks, piers, soft kayak launches and some managed public access throughout the preserve,” Klay said.

The preserve will allow Artist Boat to hold hands on activities for members of the community.

Artist Boat originally sought funding through the island’s Industrial Development Corp. The grant would have been from the city’s 4B sales tax, which funds economic development projects, and would have required certain stipulations for the preserve. Instead, the group chose to apply for other grants meant for land conservation.

“We applied and realized that it wasn’t in the best interest of conservation, so we did not use any of (4B sales tax) funds,” Klay said.

Coastal ecologist Cherie O’Brien said the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department would continue to work with Artist Boat and help secure future funding.

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