GALVESTON, Texas -- A policy change at a popular Southeast Texas beach will mean swimmers and sunbathers will be allowed to use their own umbrellas.

The Houston Chronicle reported Sunday that the change takes effect next month in two areas of Stewart Beach in Galveston. Backers hope to draw more visitors to Stewart Beach, which is among seven paid city beach parks.

A recent decision by the Galveston Park Board will allow beach users their own umbrellas instead of relying on a rental concessionaire for the cover. Chairman Craig Brown says the board decided the concessionaire-only rental rule wasn t fair to beachgoers.

Stewart Beach accounted for more than half of Galveston s 215,000 beach park visitors last year.

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