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Lately, I’ve been getting some questions about the seawall parking program, facilities, and services there. I’d like to take this opportunity to offer some clarification.
How much has the parking program earned to date?
The City of Galveston handed the seawall parking program over to the Park Board in 2014. Since then, the program’s revenue has nearly doubled and has earned nearly $1 million in revenues. That money has gone back to the City of Galveston and is earmarked for future capital improvements like more facilities, lighting, and beautification.
What is the budget for services on the seawall?
The overall operating budget for the seawall urban park staff and maintenance is $855,000. This budget includes all the services like cleaning and maintaining the facilities there, personnel — seawall parking ambassadors, maintenance workers, and operators at the call station (including a Spanish speaker), plus credit card processing fees. Personnel accounts for 44 percent of the overall budget.
What kind of training is needed to clean a bathroom?
The staff that works on the seawall facilities are on the front lines of guest service. They interact with the guests every day. The staff receives Texas Recreation and Parks Services training, sea turtle monitoring and security training. They also receive Certified Tourism Ambassador training offered through the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Why is there such an investment in personnel?
The key reason for the investment in personnel is to allow the Park Board to provide a high level of service to both visitors and residents. When the Park Board began managing the parking program, they decided to deploy seawall parking ambassadors to help customers with the Pay by Phone system and with questions about Galveston. They serve less to enforce and more to interact with guests and improve their experience here. When the restroom facilities were installed, the Park Board tweaked the schedule for when they would be opened each morning to accommodate early-morning walkers and joggers. During the high season, the staff cleans the restroom facilities once per hour.
Park board meetings are typically at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 601 23rd St.
Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.