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Galveston’s comeback

I wish the city of Galveston all the best with this.

Community leaders here, concerned that 50 years of steady population loss could transform what was once one of Texas’ great cities into a hollowed-out tourist resort, are scrambling to reverse the decline.

Hurricane Ike bit into the island city’s population in 2008, knocking it from 57,000 to about 48,000.

“Our population is going to recover from a bottomed-out low point,” Mayor Joe Jaworski said. He wants to restore the population to 50,000 in one to two years. “My sweet spot is to get it up to 75,000,” he said.

The idea, echoed by others in the community, is to capitalize on the layout of the historic neighborhoods, historic downtown and seashore by making the city greener and pedestrian- and bike-friendly.

Jaworski says people are leaving the island for three reasons: a misperception that the schools are poor, the shortage of affordable, attractive housing, and a sense that the city lacks cleanliness and safety.

I don’t know how much fear of hurricanes plays into that, but as there’s not much to be done about it they may as well concentrate on the things they can control. It won’t be easy, but a great city like Galveston deserves the effort. I hope they succeed.

On a side note, apparently some people are circulating a petition to recall Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski. I don’t know anything more about this.

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