The much-anticipated consultant’s report recommending ways Galveston might make the Broadway corridor look better seems to have raised more questions about that long-running effort than it answered.

Some of that’s to be expected. Members of the Broadway Ad Hoc Committee, which got a look at the consultant’s work Wednesday, had taken on a daunting task.

Anybody who thought it was going to be easy to reverse an aesthetic decline happening over several decades and involving a whole lot of privately owned property was engaged in wishful thinking.

Some of the questions at hand today, however, seem to fall outside of the reasonably expected.

One of those questions is whether the committee, and ultimately the taxpayers, got what they had asked for and paid more than $100,000 for and whether they got anything that can actually be used to do some good.

There was a range of opinions about that Tuesday after Design Workshop, the firm hired to study and make recommendations about beautifying Broadway, presented the results of its six-month project.

It was a pretty narrow range, however.

Some committee members seemed completely disappointed with the plan and some said it needed much more work. None that we heard said the result was exactly what they had hoped to get.

If there was a consensus, it seems to be that, at best, the plan is far from complete, which means it won’t be presented to the city council for consideration this month.

“We’re going to call a time out,” committee Chairwoman Betty Massey said. “We obviously have a long way to go.”

District 5 Councilwoman Terrilyn Tarlton-Shannon said six more months were needed to develop the plan.

“We’re right back where we started,” Tarlton-Shannon said. “If we’re supposed to vote for this in two weeks, I don’t see we’re anywhere close in doing that.”

Back in February, we argued the city shouldn’t spend a considerable amount of public money hiring a consultant to look again at a problem that has vexed islanders for as many as 40 years.

We argued then that what Galveston needed more than another study was commitment from individual owners along Broadway to improve and beautify their property and ways to incentivize that commitment by providing material and financial assistance when possible.

That financial investment likely would be cheaper and yield more immediate and visible returns than another study.

We were skeptical about what another study might accomplish other than spending money for consultants to create findings and recommendations that would join forgotten findings and recommendations on dusty shelves somewhere at city hall.

We’re doubly concerned about that now and urge city leaders not to spend any more money on this project until the committee and the community have had a chance to dig into the details.

Likewise, don’t park it on a shelf.

The consultants Wednesday spent a lot of time talking about a grand vision for the Broadway esplanades, which was puzzling and, we argue, off-putting to a lot of people.

The esplanades aren’t the problem, so spending years and heaps of money on them won’t do any good. We’d have then what’s there now — a grand esplanade flanked, in places, by ugly.

That aspect of the plan stole the show, but there’s much more in the recommendations. Now’s the time for careful assessment and reflection about what’s in the details.

• Michael A. Smith

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206; michael.smith@galvnews.com

Editor

(9) comments

David Schuler

Get 100 people, pay then $1000 each, put them in a room at the Convention Center with lots of yellow, red and green sticky notes and felt tip markers and you could have gotten a far better result. And I'm only partly joking. What an incredible waste of money. Galveston, apparently, lacks the political will and leadership necessary to reshape the thought patterns and (low) expectations that exist here. Broadway looks like it does for the same reasons that nothing has been done about the Martini, the Piggy Wiggly at 45th and S and the other abandoned and decaying structures that dot the landscape. Fixing Broadway will require a fundamental mind-set change, not a well-meaning but ineffective ad-hoc committee nipping at the toes of the problem.

Joe Flores

TOTALLY Agree ... mindset , some ordinance changes and a pretty not UGLY attitude.

Don Schlessinger

Very well said David. Once again our city council is wanting to waste OUR money.

Lisa Blair

Design Works held several public meetings where the audience was surveyed extensively. I hope the final plan represents the opinions that were expressed at the public meetings. If I remember correctly a majority liked the idea of a walk/bike path down the esplanade.

Joe Flores

Totally agree with Michael ...waisted money when all the city needs is some ordinance changes to get people to clean up the sidewalk merchandising , get cars off the sidewalks and ENFORCEMENT !!! Spend the money on downtown and the beach where tourists visit !!! have a mo' bettah day ...

Jim Forsythe

if you want to look at plan http://galvestontx.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/6364

Charlotte O'rourke

Jim, Thanks for posting. Is there a more detailed version?

Based on the above and news articles ...

1. Leave the median as is with current upkeep, but more frequent trash collection. It actually looks nice because the curbs and flower beds are being maintained.
2. Implement heavy fines for littering
3. No walk/ bike trail as it would be even more build/maintenance for the city and poses safety issues. The city should concentrate on a plan/method to incentivize - with stick and carrot- property owners along Broadway to landscape, fix walkways, and curbs. The city -without a paid study - should determine safety of having pedestrians walk/bike in median. Think seawall and new posts going up for pedestrian safety.
4. No to the trolley (how much would the city really owe the government if not replaced)
5. Yes to trolley cars paid with hot tax

Just my thoughts which could be changed based on more detail and input. I didn’t attend and participate in these meetings so I’m interested in hearing from others who did and would like to thank them for their time and dedication to Galveston.

Don Schlessinger

All great points Charlotte, especially items 3,4,and 5. Since the whole project is to entice tourists, and not residents costs SHOULD paid for with HOT, or let the taxpayers, who will be PAYING for the project vote for or against it.

Jim Forsythe


From  http://galvestontx.gov/894/6672/Building-A-Better-Broadway
I found 
Current Draft: http://galvestontx.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/6365 (very large document, may take a few minutes to open)
but did not look, at because of size.

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