Park board officials want to move ahead with designs for a scaled-down pavilion at Stewart Beach, trustees said Tuesday.
After balking last year at the cost of a proposed $25 million pavilion at the beach park, the city tasked the Galveston Park Board of Trustees with improving drainage problems at the popular tourist spot.
The park board, which manages island beaches, has been working on drainage studies, but now wants to move ahead with updating the pavilion plan, officials said.
“It would be short-sighted on our part to only focus on drainage,” Executive Director Kelly de Schaun said.
Improving drainage at the beach could take 15 years, she said.
The current pavilion, built in the 1980s, already is well past its expected expiration date, park board officials have said in previous interviews.
But the Galveston City Council wants drainage improved first, District 2 Councilman Craig Brown said. Brown is the city’s representative on the park board.
“They want the drainage moving forward at Stewart Beach before any approval for some type of structure is done,” Brown said.
The park board must get city council approval for capital expenditures of more than $125,000.
Last year, the park board allocated $550,000 for drainage work and for design and study of the next permanent structures at Stewart Beach, according to reports.
The park board has allocated about $102,000 just to engineer needed drainage work at the beach park this year, according to reports.
Both park board and city officials agree drainage has been a problem for the beach, which often floods during heavy rains.
The park board can’t move ahead with drainage improvements until next year, when it can get on the city’s street improvement schedule to elevate the road at Stewart Beach, de Schaun said.
In the meantime, the park board should move forward with determining what kind of structure is best for the park, Trustee Victor Viser said.
The park board has discussed scaling back the proposed $25 million pavilion and building mobile units with bathrooms, concessions and shade that can be moved on and off the beach.
“I still love the design with some adjustments for space, usage, siting,” Viser said.
The current design isn’t the finished product, but is a good starting place, Trustee Jan Collier said.
The park board should use that plan as a springboard to scale down the size and cost of the pavilion, Collier said.
“We put a lot of money and a lot of thought into the design that we have,” Collier said. “Why can’t we just take the design we have and do a workshop?”
The park board isn’t sure yet how much it would cost for its contractor to produce a scaled back design of the pavilion, but that will likely be brought before the board at the end of June, Projects Manager Sheryl Rozier said.