South Padre Island Makeover?

Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 8:04am

This is what the entertainment district on South Padre Island looks like today, and this is what it could look like five to 10 years down the road.

Town officials met today and held a community meeting to revise a plan that includes building a boardwalk along the bay, reverse parking, more pedestrian-friendly walkways and room for more restaurants in the entertainment district.

Island officials say this plan will set new and more efficient code standards for development on South Padre Island.

"We've gotten a lot of positive feedback so far from different community members we think that overall it's going to make South Padre Island a better place to come and visit for all tourists as well as all the people living here in the Valley," said Tim Howell, SPI spokesperson.

The renovation plans also include adding more bus shuttle stops, bike lanes and increasing business and shop front visibility by getting them closer to Padre Boulevard.

But Island tourists who have been visiting the Island for years are at odds on these plans.

Irma Sanchez de Villarreal and her family travel from Monterrey, Mexico to the Island several times a year to get away from the city life.

"I feel the island should be left just as it is because this is a tourist destination and little by little it becomes more like a city and that takes away from the tourist feel, because it's the city feel that we're trying to escape," Sanchez de Villarreal said.

During some workshops to get feedback on these plans, some described the island as it is now as tacky. But some tourists do not agree with that description.

Carol Aubuchon from Memphis,Tennessee said, "I think it's beautiful here, it's my fourth year here and it's kind of hot but I don't think it's tacky at all."

And while Aubuchon said the Island is beautiful as it is, she wouldn't mind seeing some of the suggested plans put in place.

"I really like the boardwalk idea, I think it would attract some more visitors and more restaurants and stuff would attract more," Aubuchon said.

The vision is for a long term period. Town officials say they will look for federal funding and grants for the project if they decide to continue moving forward.

Reporting in South Padre Island, Daisy Martinez, News Center 23.

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