Birthday wishes for Port Aransas
When the time capsule that is buried (or preserved in some other way that will withstand the environmental elements of, and natural disasters that may befall, Port Aransas), I hope those who open it will know what a newspaper is.
In 2010, the South Jetty newspaper is in its 40th year of providing news coverage of Port Aransas.
“Strange name,” may be the first thing that comes to mind if, in fact, there is no South Jetty newspaper in 2110, so let’s clear that up first.
The Aransas Pass is the channel that leads from the Gulf of Mexico to the city to the west of us by the same name, and that intersects with the Corpus Christi Ship Channel that leads to the Port of Corpus Christi. Two granite rock jetties flank the pass. The one on the north is called the north jetty, and the one on the south -- you guessed it -- is called the south jetty.
According to Suzanna Reeder (whose late father Ray Reeder provided the seed money to start this newspaper), her partner in the venture, Steve Frishman, came up with the name. By 1970, newspapers in Port Aransas had come and gone, but, like the granite rocks of the south jetty, Frishman’s aim was that this newspaper would remain. So, he had the idea to name the newspaper after something that would withstand the test of time with the objective that the newspaper would follow suit.
We hope he is right, and that in 2110 the north and south jetty still stand as sentries for the Aransas Pass, and the South Jetty is still reporting the news of Port Aransas, whether in print, online or both. Who knows? By then there may be yet another form of media by which the news is distributed.
Port Aransas in 2010, while much changed from the village of sandy streets, mostly wooden structures and modest retail offerings of the early 20th century, has become a tourist destination, primarily for families.
Access to Port Aransas in 2010 is an issue, just as it was in the early 1900s. Vehicles arrive in Port Aransas today by one of two means: State Hwy. 361 South (from Corpus Christi), or aboard one of six 20-car ferries. A 28-car ferry will be added to the fleet, operated by the Texas Department of Transportation, before the end of the year.
My guess is that in 2110, the city still will be wrestling with the same issues that were reported in the first edition of the South Jetty in 1970, and that have continued to occupy the time and minds of city leaders. Since the early days of the South Jetty, and with the growth of the city (no longer a village) a few new issues have cropped up, and they, too, may occupy the leaders of the community 100 years hence.
• Beach maintenance
• Streets and drainage
• Commercial signage
• Noise pollution
• Light pollution
• Building/architectural restrictions
• Dog (leashes and leavings)
From what I gather, Port Aransas barely flinched during the Great Depression, and even with a devastating recession in the 1980s, Port Aransas, the State of Texas and the nation rebounded, but the development that ensued in the 1990s and the early 2000s was not as well-anticipated as it might have been. Rather than welcoming the inevitable with a plan to accommodate it, we found ourselves reacting to the issues development raised, largely because of resistance to growth and the “lock the gate now that I’m here” mentality.
Now, in 2010, we are in the third year of a recession that is showing signs of at least leveling off, however slowly. If history repeats itself, we again will recover and development will resume.
Issues of access, traffic, parking, density, pedestrian safety and ambiance, I hope, will have been anticipated so that the residents of, and visitors to, Port Aransas in 2110 will enjoy an exceptional quality of island life.
There is one particular quality of island life I encountered when we first bought this newspaper in 1981 that I hope never disappears: Our ability to disagree agreeably. That has been a critical factor in this community’s capacity to move forward against all odds.
And, while the outside world has, indeed, come to Port Aransas, my fervent hope is that we will hold dear these three things: tolerance, compassion and respect for one another.
If I could bequeath one gift to the citizens of Port Aransas in 2110, it would be those three things that have enabled Port Aransans to agree to disagree and proceed in the best interests of this unique community.
Mary Henkel Judson is editor and co-publisher of the South Jetty. Contact her at southjetty@centurytel. net, (361) 749-5131 or P.O. Box 1117, Port Aransas, TX 78373.