I served on Galveston City Council from 2008 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2016.

On Nov. 19, 2015, I voted with six other council members, including the mayor, to authorize Galveston’s City Manager Brian Maxwell to sign a contract with Texas General Land Office, obligating the remaining $38.5 million of Round 2.2 funds to complete various projects essential to the city’s recovery from Hurricane Ike.

On Nov. 23, 2015, Maxwell signed a contract with the land office that stated in part: “The city shall renovate the Galveston Water and Electric Light Station for ‘public use’ to benefit the neighborhood surrounding the Galveston Housing Authority’s new Cedar and Carver Park neighborhood.”

Now, this tremendously brief commentary will focus only on the federal disaster relief funds that were used for Cedar Terrace, a community that was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ike on Sept. 13, 2008.

Who would’ve thought that once the Galveston Water and Electric Light Station was completed at a price of $2.9 million of federal relief funds, Maxwell would push forward his plan to rob the poorest neighborhood in the city of Galveston of a community center.

In addition, for over six years, he willfully overlooked various infrastructure projects such as new curbs, sidewalks and street lights that’s so desperately needed in that low- to moderate-income neighborhood.

However, with the stroke of a taxpayer pen, Maxwell literally took a federally restored historic pump station built in 1888 that was overhauled to serve Cedar Terrace and Carver Park neighborhoods and converted it into a sanctuary for his city marshal department without any remorse.

Now that Juneteenth is a national holiday, the majority of the residents who live in the Cedar Terrace and Carver Park neighborhoods are signing the Galveston County Coalition for Justice’s petitions to use the community center — that has never been open to the public — for a national Juneteenth museum.

But, Maxwell and Mayor Craig Brown are tossing around their unwelcome ideas to use the second floor of the Old Central High School as a Juneteenth museum.

Both Maxwell and Brown have known for years that Old Central High School had the distinction of being the oldest African American high school in Texas. They know that the facility is in desperate need of major repairs that’s necessary to come into compliance with the International Building Code.

They also know that the building doesn’t have an elevator to carry people to the second floor to visit their so-called Juneteenth museum.

Galveston is the birthplace of Juneteenth and the location of a Juneteenth museum at the city’s historic 30th Street Pump Station would get Galveston out in front of all the other Juneteenth museums springing up throughout the country.

But more importantly, the ready-to-move-in 6,800-square-foot facility located in the Cedar Terrace and Carver Park neighborhoods wouldn’t cost Galveston taxpayers one thin dime.

Please sign the coalition’s petition or contact your city council representative if you agree that Galveston should take the lead on a national Juneteenth museum.

The struggle continues ...

Tarris Woods is founder and president of the Galveston County Coalition for Justice and a former Galveston City Councilman for District 1.

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(21) comments

Brian Maxwell

Apparently Mr. Woods didn’t take the time to look inside the building.

It’s a community center. We have had events there.

The Marshal’s office is housed in the building behind it that was not restored nor was it part of the GLO grant.

Perhaps Mr. Woods should get his facts straight before embarrassing himself in the newspaper.

C. Patterson

[batman]

Walter Dannenmaier

This from the City Manager who denies that there was EVER revenue sharing on downtown parking meters after Hurricane Ike? Ok. Sure.

Brian Maxwell

Further city staff would love to give the former council person a tour of his former district to show him all of the street lights, sidewalks, new facilities and new streets as well as the current large drainage project.

David Hardee

You want it pay for it.

Donna Spencer

Anyone that sends in a guest column should research the topic first and at least get the basic facts correct.

Larry Grissom

Your facts are wrong and you should be well aware yet it appears your choosing to twist the facts to fit your meme. Why?

As for MY tax dollars going to fund a museum for a partial part of the city? Again why?

I love the fact that Galveston isn’t defined by the many nationalities that call it home. Don’t make it an issue now.

Jack Reeves

I thought that the Juneteenth museum was going to the old Customs House? Seems appropriate.

Bailey Jones

Jack, As I understand it, there are multiple proposals coming from multiple groups. The custom house museum is being pushed by a DC group called June 19 Museum, Inc. that "develops world-class tourist destinations dedicated to the Juneteenth Holiday." (Although I'm not aware of any other museum planned by them except the custom house.) They are in the fund raising stage.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/june-19-museum-announces-plans-to-bring-world-class-juneteenth-travel-destination-to-galveston-texas-301361813.html

A local group, Juneteenth Legacy Project, is interested in putting the museum in the pump house.

https://www.galvnews.com/news/article_0392fcd9-b109-5095-9b8d-cb8a6c1f084c.html

Jack Reeves

Thanks Bailey!

Samuel Collins III

I suggested the pump station as a temporary location while we work with students from Texas A&M University to create three different options for a potential museum. The students will also include multiple related sites that tell a more complete narrative of the Juneteenth and Galveston history.

David Hardee

Here is a suggestion. Let's have an ALL AMERICAN MUSEUM. We could have sections for each ethnic group that has contributed to this great country,

Chinese for the railroads,

Italians' for the working the docks.

Jews for the clothing industry.

African slaves for the cotton harvesting.

American Indians for corn and horsemanship.

And the list goes on to credit all that contributed and became the Mosaic of citizens

that made America the best hope of humanity.

Bailey Jones

That's a great idea, David, let's put it on the mall in Washington. But this is Galveston, we need a Galveston museum.

David Hardee

Your right, again Bailey, A public funded GALVESTON MUSEUM should represent GALVESTON HISTORICALLY and inclusively of all events and any significant contributions by people indiscriminately. Are you not aware that this town was built by many of those ethnic groups. Don't they deserve to be represented in any museum that is sponsored with PUBLIC funds. Any PUBLIC funded museum must herald contributions of the native Karankawa Indians, José de Evia,, Lafitte, the merchants, the Ursuline Nuns, the cotton industry, and the event of federal troops disembarking into Galveston, the 1900 storm reconstruction, and etc. If it is a public project it should represent the PUBLIC in total.

Bailey Jones

You spill a lot of ink trying to avoid a Juneteenth-specific museum, David. I could see your point about spending "public" funds on a too narrowly defined event-specific museum - if this event wasn't one of the greatest events in our history. Juneteenth / Emancipation is, as I have said so many times before, the event that created America as your "the best hope of humanity". It's second only to July 4th in importance, and I'm willing to debate even that.

David Hardee

Bailey, My "WASTED" ink is worth as much as you begging opinion. If you want it pay for it. Your personal opinion is not universal. Start one of those "go fund me" accounts and let the public donate. This constant "give me" at the public coffers for entitlements has banlrupted our country.

Observe some of the comments about the other more pressing needs and accept that roads, lighting, the borders, fentanyl, education and etc. will serve all Americans. No one is stopping this ethnic oriented project. Again, all that is required is getting to work and earn or beg the funds and pay for it.

My "WASTED" ink is worth as much as you begging opinion. If you want it pay for it. Your personal opinion is not universal. Start one of those "go fund me" accounts and let the public donate. This constant "give me" at the public coffers for entitlements has banlrupted our country.

Observe some of the comments about the other more pressing needs and accept that roads, lighting, the borders, fentanyl, education and etc. will serve all Americans. No one is stopping this ethnic oriented project. Again, all that is required is getting to work and earn or beg the funds and pay for it.

Incidentally, the EMANCIPATION MUSEUM is more appropriate, and should be, and is heralded as making America the best hope of humanity.

David Hardee

Pardon me for the redundancy do to a "pasting" error.

Chris Donatelle

You are late ... Contracts awarded ... IT IS IN GOING TO BE BUILT IN FT Worth .... Galveston lost for lack of funds and a suitable location

Chris Donatelle

YOU ARE LATE .. CONTRACTS AWARED .... STOP THE LIES

A museum dedicated to sharing anecdotes about the significance of Juneteenth will soon open in Fort Worth, Texas, the city announced Tuesday. The National Juneteenth Museum will be built as part of a mixed-use development. President lets GO Biden officially made June 19 a federal holiday during the summer of 2021.Nov 1, 2021.... please try to keep up ....

Chris Donatelle

YOU ARE LATE ::::: Contracts have already been awarded ...A Federal museum dedicated to sharing anecdotes about the significance of Juneteenth will soon open in Fort Worth, Texas, the city announced Tuesday. The National Juneteenth Museum will be built as part of a mixed-use development. President HO Biden officially made June 19 a federal holiday during the summer of 2021.Nov 1, 2021.. and that's about the only thing he has done for the community ...

Bailey Jones

Because America is only allowed to have one Juneteenth Museum?

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