Brian Maxwell, Galveston’s interim city manager, has a back-of-the-envelope plan for a new 27th Street corridor that would redefine Kermit Courville Stadium.

Part of the plan is easy to imagine. It’s built with bricks and mortar.

The other part of the plan is a bit tougher to imagine. It’s built with things such as trust, partnerships and cooperation.

Let’s start with the easy part.

Old, historic stadiums can be attractive places to gather. If you doubt that, try getting a ticket to Wrigley Field in Chicago or Fenway Park in Boston.

Both stadiums are old and historic — and well kept. Part of the attraction is the character and atmosphere.

Suppose the city worked with the school district on Courville. What might that look like?

The city could abandon Avenue N, Avenue M and 28th Street in the blocks around the stadium. The idea is to increase the stadium’s footprint.

The area to the south would become a plaza that links to Kempner Park. Picture a grassy, lighted area where fans could tailgate before and after games. Picture trees, picnic areas — maybe even a sculpture of Tuffy Tor, the Ball High mascot. It would be the entryway to the stadium.

To the north, picture an area for bus parking where Avenue M is now. Picture new locker rooms, a concession area and restrooms. The vacant lot at the north end of the stadium would be paved and landscaped.

Worried about money?

Well, the school district might have some money for renovations, and the city has its 4B sales tax, administered by the Industrial Development Corporation.

Suppose the city began to use some of that money to help with this project. Suppose it began to buy some of the surrounding properties, west and north to Avenue K, focusing on dilapidated properties that could be converted to green space.

The city could also use 4B revenue to improve the 27th Street corridor between Avenues O and K with sidewalks and decorative lighting on both sides.

Why stop there?

Twenty-seventh Street is one of the major corridors connecting the Seawall to Broadway. If you haven’t figured out it’s a main entry to the Pleasure Pier parking area, you’re behind on the news.

Eventually, this renewal could run to Broadway, giving visitors a route to a renovated, historic stadium.

Maxwell’s summary of the advantages:

• It could be done for a fraction of the total cost of a new stadium.

• It would invest capital into a neighborhood that desperately needs it.

• It would complement one of the city’s finest parks.

• It may also make Kermit Courville more of a venue, rather than just a football stadium. It also would preserve history.

That’s an attractive idea — and it’s easy to picture.

The hard part?

It would take a lot of cooperation — school district, city, Industrial Development Corporation.

And, since the money would be spent in one council district, it would require at least a temporary suspension of the mentality that sees capital funds divided so that each district gets its cut.

Do you think Galveston can beat that “divide by six” mentality?

The idea suggests the kinds of things that would be possible if Galveston can.

Heber Taylor is editor of The Daily News.

(13) comments

Susan Fennewald

Much of the "divide by 6" mentality was derived from the total lack of spending where full-time residents lived. It was a way to insure that SOME money was spent in our neighborhoods.

Brian Cann

Can you picture a huge hole Galveston throws money into??!!

George Croix

Of course, this would be after the city tax revenues are used to insure that streets are all fixed, sewers all draining, faucets all flowing, lights all lighting...
Then go for it.
Is there any way it could possibly be a bad idea to use general tax revenues to fund improvements for a school district's sports facilities.

Matt Coulson

Great idea, and at this giddy, idea stage creative ideas come fast. The opposing view will talk about spending, the neighborhood, and many other objections. How about having a civic minded architect or urban planner donate a plan that others can look at and get excited? How about getting a commitment from some local bussinesses to donate to the cause? Local contractors could commit to concrete, paint and whatever else is needed. When people commit with their money and energy they become invested in an idea. Plans can be done incrementally to spread the costs out to fit yearly budgets. The end result would be civic pride and some needed unity. The message to the neighborhood could be that we want them to be part of a better future. Hell, we could help fix houses up instead of tearing them down.

Island Lover

Tailgating? Doesn't that usually involve alcohol? This is a High School football stadium. That is asking for trouble policing and enforcing rules. They don't even sell alcoholic beverages at high school events, so why would you provide a space for consumption and hanging around? These are children, minors . . .?

Carlos Ponce

I have seen tailgating parking at Hitchcock High School and Santa Fe High School. No alcohol is there nor permitted. You are thinking about Professional and college stadiums, not high school sports venues.

George Croix

What is a great idea? Yours, or the authors?
I reread the article 3 times, twice with my glasses on, and nowhere in it does the author mention donations from private businesses, contractors and citizens.
The suggestion made was to use city funds in partnership with school district funds.
That's two different approaches to a similar outcome.
I'm gonna take a guess that the taxpayers would prefer your idea, at least until the city's honey-do list gets caught up.
Maybe not...

Richard Worth

Dear Galveston Residents: Grab your ankles, and think happy thoughts. You are about to spend several hundred million on consultants and architects before the first shovel hits the ground. And they'll all be from Harris County, of course...

Jeff Smith

Thank you to Mr. Maxwell for caring about all aspects of the city. It is refreshing to hear new ideas that could have significant merit. If they work out, great! If the partnerships don't pan out, thank you for bring a concept to the table for fruitful discussion. Nice to see a little vision.

GISD Communications

I can tell you from a school district standpoint, this is a wonderful idea, but we have not been approached officially by anyone at the city. The district is currently committed to making some minimal repairs and complete some beautification projects to the stadium to make it more inviting to those who visit. That includes removing the barbed wire, painting rusty fences and placing new placards up in the north and south entrance.

If these projects can add to improving the overall look of the neighborhood, that's an added bonus for everyone.
-GISD Communications

Margaret Allen

Mr. Maxwell has come up with a great idea. The impression that visiting teams and their fans get when getting to and arriving at our historical, aging stadium is not a very good one. Of course the nay-sayers have already began their tearing down of the idea, but it certainly makes sense to me. AND, since the street leads to Mr. Fertitta's Pier, any beautification of this part of town would benefit his business as well. This idea deserves some positive attentionl

Steve Fouga

Glad to see someone promoting a positive vision! Hard to tell whether it's practical or not, but it's appealing. I love it!

My feeling is that the best way to bring both tourists and new residents to Galveston is to make it a more attractive place to be, prettier and more pleasant. This vision is a step in that direction, so good on ya, Mr. Maxwell.

Now let's see if it's practical.

George Croix

Only in America does questioning how something will be paid for, or perhaps even expecting it to be paid for, get's one a 'naysayer' label...[beam]
It's an excellent idea to make anything better than it is now.
But, the game of progress costs money, and takes a bit of bumping and shoving in the bargain.
Nobody ever won a game by being on the cheerleading squad, no matter how good their crowd motivation...
With all due respect, of course...

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