Report looks to Galveston's east end for future development

The report's major recommendation is that future development moves from the island's more vulnerable west end to the east end.
October 27, 2011 3:46:24 PM PDT
Researchers have some pretty direct advice for the city of Galveston -- start paying more attention to the east end. It's all in a new study by Rice University, which looked into where it pays off for the city to focus its development. And it's not what folks on the west end want to hear.

For more than 30 years, Marty Baker has called Galveston's west end home. So, his view of the Rice University report is as harsh as west end seaweed.

He said, "It is absolutely amazing that Rice University would incorporate an idea of abandoning the west end."

The west end was devastated by Hurricane Ike in 2008. In the aftermath, rebuilding has been challenged. A $40 million sand replenishment state project was halted because of an ongoing court case on what defines the public easement along the beach. So, west end residents are especially sensitive to the thought of halting any growth west of the seawall.

Rice University Professor John Anderson, who co-authored the study clarified, "We certainly did not intend to convey that we need to abandon Galveston Island this year."

Anderson co-authored what has become the controversial book called "Atlas of Sustainable Strategies for Galveston Island." The point of the book, says Anderson, is to look at long term development of Galveston Island and it points to Galveston's east end as a place of potential future development.

However, the tract of land he suggests is owned by the government to contain dredge spoil. The city has in the past tried to negotiate for the land, but there's been no resolution.

However, we found neighbors who liked the idea of more east end development.

"Because it's beautiful," said resident Janey Saylors. "That's historic, that's where Galveston started down there and that's where all the money is at."

The east end is where you see the cruise ships and the wharves, as well as UTMB Medical Branch.


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