CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS — The proposed North Beach canal project has its first day in front of Corpus Christi’s new city council Tuesday.
The council will hear a presentation about the findings of a feasibility study by San Antonio-based LAN Engineering for that canal, which would run along the old railroad line, through the center of North Beach.
While city officials have had the report for some time, North Beach residents have yet to see it.
North Beach residents are hopeful the project will move forward, but they are also feeling forgotten again. It’s been more than a year since the city council voted to move forward with the canal project.
Developer Jeff Blackard says a canal is the only way to solve the decades-old flooding problems on North Beach.
Blackard says he’s seen the study, which will confirm several of the points from his initial presentation, including that a canal would help the drainage, but a canal itself isn’t enough. Other needed improvements include a new storm sewer system, a seawall, and elevation changes for much of the land.
North Beach sits just above sea level, with a maximum natural elevation of around five feet. In order for the canal to be effective, as much as two-thirds of North Beach will have to be elevated to six and a half feet.
Carrie Robertson Meyer has been one of the most vocal North Beach residents when it comes to drainage. She and her neighbors hoped they’d have a more active role.
“We wanted to actually be a part of this more than we’ve been allowed to,” said Meyer. “We wanted to work withy city staff and give them our local knowledge, and I feel like during the process, that didn’t happen.”
She says the city owes it to residents to find a solution because they pay their utility fees just like everyone else.
“That money that we've paid has been spent all over the city to provide utilities and storm water in other places, but not here,” said Meyer. “For a long time the city said there's nothing they could do, there wasn't a solution. Well, there is a solution.”
iI’s been about 23 months since the North Beach Task Force first unveiled the canal proposal. The task force showed renderings of what North Beach could look like to groups across the city, generating excitement for the project.
The task force said the canal would cost $40 million to dig, which one council member says is accurate, however there will be additional costs which could easily end up costing more than $100 million.