Ashley Strawmeyer" />
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Saturday, December 2, 2023


Island casino stunted by space

Galveston Island is moving forward after being devastated by Hurricane Ike in September, by rebuilding and revamping much of the island.

Ike made landfall on the east end of Galveston. It left behind damages brought on by 100-mph winds and a storm surge between 17 and 20 feet. More than 75 percent of Galveston was left severely damaged.

Six months after the storm, the Galveston Community Recovery Committee, formed shortly after the storm to renovate the island, proposed a 42-project plan created to push Galveston on to a road to a full recovery.

‘The Galveston Community Recovery Committee has been working for several months to develop a vision, goals and projects that will move Galveston along the road to full recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Ike,’ GCRC chairperson Betty Massey said at an open house on March 28.’

‘The committee quickly agreed that it was not good enough to develop a plan that returned this community to the same place it was on September 10. These projects demonstrate that commitment to a better Galveston.’

The plan, if passed by residents, should help the island’s environment, demographic and financial situation by cleaning up the island to make it inviting to business owners, tourists and future residents.

The 42-project plan includes the Casino Gambling Study Project, which is a study of the broad issue of casino gambling and how casinos might impact Galveston. The project would also seek to evaluate pending state laws and constitutional amendments related to this issue and how this might affect Galveston.

‘ ‘My family travels to Galveston for a week every summer,’ Sara Smith, hotel and restaurant management senior, said.’

‘We hang out at the beach and go to the Strand and Moody Gardens. I think a casino would bring a whole new ambiance to the island and also provide more job opportunities for locals as well as UH grads.’

This subject has been discussed for decades in Galveston, but following Ike, discussions on the pros and cons have re-emerged.

Different groups of locals are for and against casinos in Galveston, but some residents are more concerned with what is best for the city.

The island isn’t perfect and people see casinos as a quick fix, Galveston resident Adrienne Culpepper said.

Culpepper is neither for nor against casinos on the island, but she is for improving the atmosphere and spirit of the island.

‘There are so many other things we can to do improve the island, such as the commuter rail system into Houston, improve education on the island and make Galveston more walkable,’ Culpepper said.’

‘Once we did those things, then if we still wanted casinos on the island, … we could look into it.’

Culpepper has a point. The casinos in Galveston would be new, exciting and definitely bring in more tourism to the island, but I’m not sure Galveston is ready. ‘

Galveston Island is 27 miles long and no more than 3 miles wide, so there isn’t a lot of room for many big extravagant buildings.

The idea of riverboat casinos has been brought up as well, but even if the actual casino was in the water, there is the issue of massive parking areas and roads into the island.’

I grew up 30 miles north of Galveston Island and am too familiar with the traffic heading south on I-45 on a gorgeous sunny day. If the island also offered gambling, it would have to add more ways to get on and off the island. ‘

Ashley Strawmyer is a communication junior and may be reached at [email protected].

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