Do You Know the Way to Earth Day?

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Do You Know the Way to Earth Day?

Green Bank assists the forming Galena Park Chamber of Commerce get there

GalenaPark

When thinking about the costs of a booming petrochemical complex or living in the shadow of the City of Houston, many Texans think of Galena Park and other cities along the Houston Ship Channel. It’s no secret—these communities have a reputation that differs from H-Town. They are also trying to change it.

“What started as an effort to fix air quality issues quickly grew to the realization that local economy needed a major overhaul,” notes Community Outreach Director Bel Vasquez-St. John of Air Alliance Houston. “Green Bank’s sponsorship of bus transportation to Earth Day from Galena Park represents a coordinated effort and something new—a new, green business is interested in the old Galena Park economy and Galena Park is interested in changing its less-than green reputation.”

Believing that economic activity breeds more activity, local residents and members from the Pasadena Hispanic Business Association are creating the Galena Park Chamber. The new organization will present a unified message to regional businesses—Galena Park is also on the Houston Ship Channel, has an established community and is open for business. 

This group continues to tackle their environmental reputation in the hopes to attract new citizens. For the recent Earth Day Houston Event, free bus transportation to Discovery Green Park was provided. Several residents hopped on board and went to the annual celebration for a day of fun and learning.

The 1835 settlement of Clinton is the now headwaters of the well-known Clinton Drive; but then it was a farming and ranching community.  In the 1880s the town started to interact more with a growing Houston—first as a railroad center for the growing port and then transforming into petrochemical hub. Incorporating in 1935 as Galena Park, Houston grew and then boomed around the city.   

Galena Park’s economy started to dip in the 80s when improvements to ship unloading practices drastically cut the work force and US Steel and other mill closed. Then, after 9-11, the port shut it gates, requiring sailors to stay on their ships while in port. In recent years, the drying up of jobs has lead to more jobs leaving—the city of 10,000 lost their grocery store a few years ago.

“We had a meeting on April 16 to continue planning,” says Vasquez-St. John. “Our first order of business in a food mart; we even have a perfect location identified. We hope other businesses will follow Green Bank’s interest in Galena Park and consider expanding here.”

To learn more about the efforts in Galena Park, contact Bel Vasquez-St. John at belvasquez@airalliancehouston.org