By KEVIN RICH
Special to the PRESS
The proposed Clayton’s Fishing Pier, the loss of one of the Island’s founders, and the election of a new mayor were major topics of discussion on South Padre Island over the last year.
The Island mourned the loss of longtime City Attorney Paul Cunningham, who died on Feb. 27, 2017. “Paul was one of the founders of the City Charter and so forth and did a lot of work over the years,” reflected then-Mayor Barry Patel during a March 1 City Council meeting.
“He was quite a man, and deserves all the recognition we can give him,” said former SPI Mayor Bob Pinkerton. In response, Council voted in April to rename its City Hall building as the Paul Y. Cunningham, Jr. City Hall in his honor.
The topic of Clayton’s Fishing Pier first arose during the March 6 Shoreline Task Force meeting when members were asked to consider recommending a beach and dune application to the Texas General Land Office (GLO) for the construction of a 1,000 foot pier which would stretch into the Gulf of Mexico. “There is support for the pier in this location and I believe it’s going to be a good project, and I believe it’s going to bring tourists to the Island,” said Clayton Brashear at the time.
But the pier project had its share of detractors, and the issue became one often discussed at city meetings throughout the year.
Chuck Costanza, HOA president of The Villas of South Padre presented the committee with concerns over the pier and its proximity to nearby residences. “Although I can tell you there is no conclusive evidence that there is a relationship between the piers and the shark attacks, there is some logic,” noted Costanza, citing concerns over anglers potentially dumping bait buckets and fish guts into waters shared with swimmers.
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