Galveston mayor Joe Jawarski and his election opponent Betty Massey are both in favor of plans to revitalize parts of the City of Galveston, according to an October 24 article by Ian White in the Galveston County Daily News. In a rare show of bi-partisanship, the candidates are teaming up to raise the quality of life in the city, improving areas such as schools, public housing, neighborhoods with urban decay, and the image of the city’s neighborhoods as a whole. This is particularly needed in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in 2008.
The news of this proposal comes as good news because it has been sorely needed for some time, even before Hurricane Ike. Galveston has slowly been in decline as a city of significance since it’s days as a gambling and organized crime mecca and because of Hurricane Carla in 1961, let alone the Great Hurricane of 1900 which to this day is the deadliest natural disaster in US history. Although the city only has a population of around 50,000; Galveston is very much like many major cities because of the amount of business and commerce, the age of the city and it’s history as a primary city in it’s region though obviously on a much smaller scale.Crime and urban decay, though not
Another reason is because of the history and the charm of the city. Few cities have had the charm and history that Galveston possesses. Spending time in Galveston should remind one of similar (though larger) cities such as Charleston, New Orleans, Boston, and even San Francisco, though obviously without the hills. The Victorian architecture, the beaches, the number of Texas firsts, its role as an immigration center, etc… make Galveston a crowned jewel that needs to be protected. If the city leaders don’t step up then the city will continue to decline and be infested with crime and disorganization, lending itself only to a trivia question of which US suffered the worst natural disaster of all time.
In my so humble opinion, the city needs to tear down decrepit housing, revitalize or re-build houses in low income areas try to lure and create more low income jobs for residents in the area who aren’t quite qualified for the higher paying jobs, keep plugging the tourism angle and most of all promote Galveston as an excellent place to live to outsiders. These steps would help move the city forward in it’s quest to avoid declining fully as a principle city in the Houston area region.