Coming Next Fall: Completion Of The Sylvan Beach Pavilion Restoration
September 5, 2012
by: Pat Hernandez
The beach on the bay in La Porte had the largest dance pavilion in the South.
Barbara Cutsinger says her memories won't be forgotten.
"Went to Pasadena High School, and we had our 1967 prom here. Boy, that was so much fun."
It was once known as the playground of South Texas, and especially Houston, just a half hour away. Over the years, Sylvan Beach Pavilion, with its unique octagonal design, was the scene of many memorable gatherings.
Ted Powell is with Friends of Sylvan Beach Park and Pavilion.
"Dance pavilions have always been a signature feature of this park since its inception in the late 19th century. This pavilion opened in 1956, continued the tradition by providing an octagonal ballroom that appears to hover over the shoreline, encompassed by a glass curtain wall, that has provided expansive Galveston Bay vistas to generations of Harris County residents."
When Hurricane Ike ravaged the pavilion in 2008, restoration became a priority for Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman.
"It took us a while. It took us a while to determine how would we restore the pavilion, but more importantly how would we pay for it. But once we worked out those problems, we've actually moved quicker, or at least quicker by government standards on this project than most. And the reason for that speed, has been the constant motivation to honor all the hard work and efforts of Ted Powell and the Friends of Sylvan Beach Pavilion."
"Yes, because without their support and insistence, we very likely would not be here today."
Because of the pavilion's historical designation, it became eligible for Hurricane Ike recovery funds. Once again, Ted Powell with Friends of Sylvan Beach and Pavilion:
"For future stewardship, this building is gonna be in a good state, because nobody can do any work on this building without an historical permit. So that ensures that nobody will come forth in the future and say, 'Hey, we need to replace this building with something else. It's tired or we don't need this anymore.' They're gonna have to do their due diligence to show why this building can't be preserved for future generations."
The restoration is expected to cost almost $5 million, and it should be completed in the fall of next year.
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