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.