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.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

(5) comments

Miceal O'Laochdha

"The park board isn’t sure yet how much it would cost for its contractor to produce a scaled back design of the pavilion...". Our guess is it will cost $550,000.00.

Don Schlessinger

As long as the citizens of Galveston Island have a chance to yes or no on absurdity we might be okay. Anything agreed on by the COG and the PB without a vote is disaster for tax victims. We can't trust either, especially the PB, when it comes to spending our money on tourists.

Rusty Schroeder

Studies and designs and absolutely nothing done. Did anybody take a look yesterday at Stewart Beach with the high tide ? I did, it was Lake Stewart.

Ron Shelby

If the original design estimate at $25million was pre-Harvey construction estimates, then they may find it costing quite a bit more today. There is a major construction employee shortage going on across the US pushing up costs.

Steve Fouga

Here's what I don't understand: What, exactly, is the incentive for building a new pavilion?

Does someone think that even 1 more tourist, beyond the 7.5 million who came to Galveston last year, is waiting for a new pavilion to be built?

Does someone have statistical evidence that even 1 from that 7.5 million has decided, "Welp, sure won't be going back down to the coast until that old pavilion is replaced...?"

Does someone really believe that municipal offices should be built on a beach that is routinely battered and flooded, rather than in relative safety behind a seawall?

Does someone think that tourists will purchase enough food and merch from beach retail to even begin to recoup the costs of building this thing?

In my opinion, there is no legitimate business case for building a new pavilion. Bathrooms and showers, probably. Beach Patrol facilities, maybe, though personally I don't understand the need.

Won't somebody please stop this expensive boondoggle, before any more money is spent on it? And please upgrade the parking and roadways; there is a definite need for that.

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