(9) comments Back to story

David Schuler

A more holistic approach, like in the 60's when Postoffice street was turned into a pedestrian mall at the behest of 'enlightened urban planners' and killed all the downtown businesses? Both profit-driven AND 'do-gooder' planned development need to be looked at with reality and practicality at the top of the list.

Tim Thompson

Um, I don't think it's quite fair to blame the decline of downtown business on the pedestrianization of Post Office St., remember, this was an era where downtown businesses all over the country were in decline, there were a lot of factors at work, urban decay of the cities' downtowns, so called "white flight" to the proliferating suburbs, America was building malls left & right, & either at that time or several years later they built the Galvez Mall, to which several of these businesses moved, if I recall, like Nathans, some of the shoe shops. Pedestrianized malls work very well in many cities, such as Burlington, VT & Boulder, CO, the city just needs to build parking garages nearby. Good, sensible urban planning can have a beneficial effect.

David Schuler

It would be interesting to poll the current business owners on Postoffice to see if they want the pedestrian mall back.

Theresa Elliott

If the City follows this plan and tax dollars are used to develop housing, isn’t this more subsidized housing? It sounds lovely but how much more can local citizens afford to pay to house others. And why doesn’t the free market work in Galveston when 20 miles up the road housing is booming? Is it the crazy increases and the way the CAD appraisal system allows our values to be raised so much higher each year? Is it the red tape contractors have to deal with at the City? I would like to see Vision Galveston focus on to the root of why development doesn’t work rather than throwing tax dollars (our money) at it.

Susan Fennewald

I would like more information about who the people behind Vision Galveston are. They've apparently spending money to promote the vision. Whose money? As long as its not public money, they're free to spend it. But they are trying to promote a specific vision of Galveston to public officials, and I'd like to know who's footing the bill.

Susan Fennewald

I always worry when someone uses the term "affordable housing" - which often means subsidized housing and public housing and "low income" housing and often does NOT mean housing for working families. Galveston has enough subsidized housing. It seems more of the concern is with making Galveston housing more reasonably priced. And I don't see how they can do that.
It is especially troublesome when they have plans for a specific geographic area (north of Broadway) and talk about keeping the character of the neighborhood - and still want the housing to be more reasonably priced for people like teachers.
As long as they spend private money to do what they want, they're free to it and I hope they succeed. But it sounds like they want public support in the end in some way (or why bother with wooing the public).

Don Schlessinger

Well said Susan, thank you.

David Schuler

Every house on Galveston is affordable by someone. None of this 'vision stuff' would be happening if Galveston didn't have a somewhat seedy reputation, ancient infrastructure and vulnerability to storms. As those problems are corrected one by one, a wave of profit-driven development will rise up and overwhelm these attempts to create artificially cheap housing. The city needs to be involved ONLY to the extent of maintaining a transparent level playing field and demanding quality product from developers.

Caron Walior

When I was younger I lived in Aspen, Co. and I worked for the Aspen Skiing Company. I lived in employee housing that they provided with two other girls. It is very common up there for hotels to build employee housing to house employees when they do the hotel build. It was in an area away from where the guests stayed. Maybe that is an option that should be explored here vs building more public or subsidized housing. And I don’t just mean for hotels; it would be for any island employers that struggle to find employees; maybe they should look into developing employee housing of their own.

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