Should the city of Galveston sell the city rights of way to Porretto Beach for a few thousand dollars? One could look at this as an opportunity to receive some cash and have a property placed on the tax rolls with the expectation that a structure will be built that will provide revenues in both property and sales tax revenue.
On the other hand, this would be a large loss to the city’s quality of life. Now we have an unobstructed view of the gulf, which gives many a sense of joy and pleasure.
The city is currently addressing the needs and wants of its citizens — building a community pool, landscaping and improving the 27th Street corridor, adding city bike lanes, a new fire station, and greatly needed infrastructure needs (storm drains and streets). The priority of the city council is the safety and the well-being of its citizens.
Visitors should come behind the needs and wants of our residents. If we give up these rights of ways now they will be lost forever and there will be no turning back. This is a time when the city council needs to look beyond today and gather a vision for tomorrow.
There are pros and cons to everything. If we were to look at how Galveston has advertised and promoted itself, we will find we have increased the visitors to island and have increased our sales tax income. At the same time, the seawall has become more difficult to drive down during the summer months, due to the additional cars.
Are we getting close to a saturation point on how many cars the island can accommodate? How much of the city do we want to give up to our visitors? This returns us to what quality of life do we want on the island. Do we want more development, more cars and congestion? I would like to see us come to an understanding, that the island can only hold so many cars before we lose all the qualities that have drawn and kept us on the island.
The city does not have to give up these streets rights of way at Porretto Beach. They would be doing the city a disservice should they decide to proceed with a sale. They should look at ways the city could purchase the Porretto property. The city’s priority is to its residents, so take the time now to see how moneys could be raised to purchase the property. The property is worth a great deal less to a developer without the rights of ways, and we, should pursue every avenue possible to make the purchase a reality for the city. The most logical source of funding is the IDC’s beach silo.
I encourage all the citizens of Galveston to contact our city council members and tell them that the area at Porretto Beach should be saved from development for future generations to enjoy. We should do all we can to protect and preserve our natural resources.