The city of South Padre Island envisions itself as being a destination where people can travel by vehicle, bike or water.
To that end, the city wants to create a kayak launch behind the convention center.
City officials received the county’s support through a memorandum of understanding last week.
“It’s a very exciting project. We’re an island, a unique environment. It makes sense that part of our transportation system is on the water,” City Manager Susan Guthrie said.
The City Council will meet Wednesday to discuss the MOU and decide whether to move forward.
“We leased that property from the county, so, of course, we wanted to know that they felt supportive of the project before investing money into preliminary work,” Guthrie said. “It wasn’t something we needed to do, but something we wanted to do to make sure all parties are on board with it.”
The launch pad is also part of a larger project: a windsporting park, which would feature activities like windsailing and kite surfing, Guthrie said.
“On an island, the people who come to a convention will not necessarily sit in the conference room. They might be windsurfers or kayakers. We can hold events in this venue and really attract people if we have the infrastructure in place,” Guthrie said.
The city is in discussions with property owners about the windsporting park.
Also, city officials have issued a request for quotation for preliminary work to provide parking at the South Padre Island Convention Centre and to extend the boardwalks.
The boardwalk improvements would connect the convention center to other popular destinations, such as the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.
The projects are paid for through a 2 percent venue tax on hotel and condo rentals. The venue tax raises between $1.7 million to $2 million per year.
As the Island creates more attractions, it will see a more consistent flow of tourists throughout the year, Guthrie said.
“Our objective, ultimately, would be to put heads in beds. We’re very busy in March and pretty busy in the summer, but attracting people is critical and it stabilizes our economy to have visitors in equal amounts all year long,” Guthrie said. “A lot of times, some of the other windsports are attractive during non-peak seasons, so it’s a win for the hotels and all the businesses on the Island.”
There will not be a timeframe for the project until after the city agrees to move forward with it and award a design contract.
“The City Council is so committed to really making South Padre Island the crown jewel, and projects like this just add to that and make it the place anyone in the world would want to come visit,” Guthrie said.
By FRANK GARZA Staff Writer