On May 7, the citizens of Galveston overwhelmingly re-elected Jim Yarbrough to a second term as mayor of our community. I believe that this electoral victory was an affirmation of the positive direction in which Yarbrough, City Manager Brian Maxwell and the 2014-16 city council have led this community during the past two years.
City leadership is thinking in strategic instead of transactional terms. By and large, decisions are not “one offs;” they are made as part of a strategy guided by the framework of the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
The work that the city has embarked on in the neighborhoods north of Broadway and west of 25th Street is a good example of a strategic approach to addressing a long standing challenge. For decades, this area has been plagued with disinvestment, deteriorating infrastructure, abandoned properties and a reputation that branded it as “unsafe” at best. Under the leadership of Mayor Yarbrough, the city has begun an intentional effort to transform the image of and stimulate investment in the neighborhood.
Leading by example, the city is cleaning up, rehabbing and making improvements to all city-owned and operated facilities in this area. Beginning at City Hall with the demolition of the annex and the construction of a new central fire station and extending west to the redevelopment of the old Bersinger property on Market Street for the city of Galveston’s Public Works department to the repurposing of park space in the area as a dog park, city leadership is bringing people and resources into this neighborhood.
The Galveston Housing Authority’s mixed income development at the Cedars is attracting new residents to the neighborhood. The city is doing its part to support this investment with new lighting, sidewalks, improved appearance of the water storage tanks that are adjacent to these new housing units and stabilizing the historic Water Works building at 30th and Ball streets. GISD’s investment in Central Middle School is bringing results for the students who are educated on that historic campus. The city is right there doing its part to improve streets and signage.
The renaissance of the north of Broadway neighborhood is not just words … it is a strategic plan being deliberately implemented by city leadership with vision of what is possible for Galveston.
Just about a year ago, the Galveston Roundtable of Foundations invited Yarbrough and Maxwell to present the “state of the city” at a public meeting held on the Galveston College campus. The Seibel Center was full to overflowing with Galvestonians interested in the future of their community and enthusiastic about the new leadership at city hall. That event was so well received, the roundtable promised to host a similar event this year.
So, I hope you will join me at 5:30 p.m. June 13 back at the Seibel Center at Galveston College (corner of 39th Street and Avenue Q) for some light refreshments and a chance to visit with your fellow Galvestonians. The state of the city program will begin promptly at 6 p.m. I look forward to seeing you there.
Editor’s note: The Daily News is gathering questions for city officials to answer during the meeting. You can submit those to email@example.com.