CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It’s been a long time coming, but a plan may finally be in place to address the flooding on North Beach. The City council rescinded a previous ordinance to put in place a new one with a more affordable plan.
“North Beach is a great place. We need to improve it on there, but we’re not a bottomless pit of money,” said Councilman Greg Smith
In 2019, city council passed an ordinance declaring they would begin funding and attempt to implement a navigable canal through North Beach. The idea would be to have shops, restaurants, and attractions lining the canal. It proved to be too expensive and the council repealed that ordinance this week.
TIRZ #4 was created for the reason of a canal, aiming for over $40 million.
“So, the estimates are 80 million plus with it. It’s just pretty unaffordable,” said Smith.
City council was given alternate options for addressing drainage back in August. They’ve opted to go with this smaller-scale design as opposed to a navigable canal and pass a new resolution to fix North Beach drainage issues.
"I think that it's a practical solution to drainage and I think that the previous solution was good. But we didn't have the funding and that's realistic," said Carrie Meyer, North Beach resident and board member of North Beach Community Association.
First and foremost a linear park or smaller canal will go in between Surfside Blvd. and Timon Blvd. on the north side of North Beach. It will let out in the eco-park wetland.
“The new council here today is trying to find a solution that they can afford that will still solve the problem and still give a little bit of amenities, like park amenities along the drainage solution," said Meyer. "And so, to me, it’s a happy medium.”
Using a 2021 study, this was the route that was recommended with now $7 million approved for the first phase. Money from the 2018 bond was already earmarked for the raising of Beach Ave. and Gulfspray Ave.
Phase one includes raising these streets so water will run into the canal effectively.
Imagine looking at a plate. The center is a bit lower with the edges slightly raised. That’s how Meyer described many streets on North Beach.
From the grassy area near the beach towards Surfside Blvd. the water pools because it has nowhere to go after it rains. Same condition from Timon Blvd. to the highway.
The roads will need to be raised and graded towards the canal.
Meyer doesn’t believe too many structures will be affected by phase one, but some property owners may require changes to their yards or driveways.
“We’re asking though that as they move through the project, that they continue to engage with individual property owners who are going to be impacted through the changes," she said. "And make sure any impact to those properties is mitigated.”
Councilman Gil Hernandez brought up the question if the canal will have culverts under the roadways or if bridges will be put in. If the canal is able to be used for conveyance, it allows for another source of funding. With a project like that is used for the conveyance or transporting people down the water say from hotels to attractions, the city could use the state hotel occupancy tax.
Hernandez was told there's no specific language in the ordinance and that the city can discuss with the engineer that will be hired to include bridges. It will be dependent on the funding available.
The city could start looking for an engineer to design the project next month. Construction is estimated to begin in the summer of 2023.
As was presented in August, one solution will not fix all flooding problems. That’s why this will be a multi-phase project to add many components. More drainage pipes will be added, dunes will be built between the beach and coastal properties and pump stations will be installed.
Although the construction of the drainage project will coincide nicely with the new Harbor Bridge project, the bridge will also be a hurdle for the drainage project.
The second phase of this drainage project cannot begin until the old Harbor Bridge is taken down.