Some want federal Ike money to revitalize Galveston's Strand

November 19, 2010 5:50:24 PM PST
Galveston is a city that could soon be in for a transformation. A lot of people go to the island for the beaches, but downtown has its own unique draw and a new proposal could bring revitalization to downtown Galveston. Just off the bus, some University of Nebraska boosters are ready to shop the strand, and gladly admit they'd spend more if there were more opportunity.

"It's very nice, what we've seen so far and more stores and walking would mean more fun for everybody," said Steve Brunken.

The proposed revitalization would stretch the Strand area shopping all the way east to the University of Texas-Medical Branch. The area between 14th and 19th streets and from Harborside to Market is in question. Now it's considered a no man's land with vacant lots where public housing used to be, destroyed by Hurricane Ike.

There are a few businesses, but not what you'd call tourist attractions. With over 10,000 people working in the corridor, it is the largest concentration of employment in Galveston County.

"What that means is there is some power some retail power that's being missed so there is every single reason in the world to ask council to promote this," said Barbara Crews with the Historic Downtown Strand Seaport Partnership.

The partnership wants City Council to dedicate at least $20 million from Phase 2 federal Ike recovery money to revitalize this area with more shopping, entertainment and parks for tourists.

Fine say supporters, as long as it doesn't comprise what the Strand is known best for.

"Everything needs to be done in a synergistic way where we introduce modern economies with set in a historic setting," said Leslie Sommer with the Historic Downtown Strand Seaport Partnership.

Officials say it will take about six months to start the project once the money is in hand.


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