SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — As 2019 nears its end, a city committee is making preparations for the new year.
During a committee meeting held Dec. 10, the City of South Padre Island Shoreline Task Force took action on a few items regarding portable restrooms, native plants and a pilot program.
Shoreline Task Force Committee members and city council, voted to renew its contract with A Clean Portoco for the rental of 20 ADA portable restroom units at 11 beach accesses.
“Our survey said people are using the restrooms,” Mayor Patrick McNulty said during a city council meeting held Dec. 11. “They appreciate the restrooms and all of the customer service — and tourist friendly so I think that we can invest.”
The contract was first put in place in January of 2019.
The total cost of the temporary facilities cost close to $13,842 per month.
According to Shoreline Department personnel, the creation of the pilot program stemmed from the community’s request for more access to restrooms while at the beach.
In total, the city currently has brick and mortar restroom facilities at two beach accesses — Treasure Island Beach Access #11 and Gulf Circle Beach Access #3.
Boburka said the ultimate goal the city will look at is making sure there are more brick and mortar restrooms at beach accesses.
In October, the Shoreline Department was awarded a $1,500 grant from the Texas Urban Forestry Council to help improve the Island’s bay endings by adding plants.
According to Rolling Grants and Special Projects Administrator Erika Hughston, a big focus for the grant is adding community work and having the ability to access urban forest areas within communities.
During the committee meeting, members voted to place native plants such as Black Mangroves, Padre Island Mistflowers and Seaside Goldenrods in bay areas near these locations — Cora Lee Drive and Dr. Joseph and Jeanne K. Lis Memorial Park on West Esperanza Street.
Hughston explained to the committee members that those native plants are great for bird and butterfly migration.
According to Hughston, the project will take more effect toward the spring because winter is not a good time for planting.
Rakes, shovels and other beach toys are items often found left behind on the beach.
During the meeting held Dec. 10, Shoreline Task Force committee member Abbie Mahan proposed a “borrow bin” program, which aims to combat the issue.
The idea of the pilot program is to place bins with toys at some beach accesses so beachgoers can borrow and return them.
“A lot of times, they’ll leave it on the beach thinking other kids are going to pick them up and play with them,” Mahan said. “They get washed out to sea and it finds its way back to our beaches, in our turtles and wherever else it doesn’t belong.”
Mahan said the program would start small with five bins.
“I really do think it’s something that if we go overboard and throw a ton of toys out there, we could see an influx of them on our beach,” she said.
Committee members voted to proceed with a plan to receive an estimate for the pilot program.
“Hopefully it’s successful and everybody is asking for more at more beach access points and that’d be great,” Mahan said.
They plan to discuss which beach accesses they will place the five bins during their next committee meeting.
By ALANA HERNANDEZ Staff Writer