Former Galveston Mayor Barbara Crews is spearheading a proposal to spend $20 million in Ike-recovery funds to renovate the downtown area, a project which would eventually cost $70 million.
The plan would turn parking lots into green spaces and use "the very good bones" of the historic buildings downtown in a way that would attract more retail, she tells Hair Balls.
"We've got to look like we care about our downtown," she says. The project includes a major park south of Harborside Drive.
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She and others raised $550,000 in private funds (an additional $50,000 came from the city) to do a comprehensive study that looked not only at regional economic conditions and potential, but also how to actually get the plan implemented.
"This is not going to be one of those plans that sits on a shelf for 20 years," she said.
The Galveston County Daily News reports that the proposal got a pretty positive reaction from the mayor and city council yesterday.
Galveston is due for a new round of $100 million in Ike-recovery funds this spring, and Crews is asking that about $20 million of that be applied to Phase 1 of the proposed downtown project.