A swimming pool on the city's northside remains inaccessible as 2017 draws to a close, prompting residents and city leaders to question the pool and its neighborhood's future.
Corpus Christi residents in the Hillcrest and northside neighborhoods nearby have been without access to their community swimming pool for months. T.C. Ayers Pool closed for maintenance and renovations, as we've reported, but despite considerable expense has not yet reopened.
"I can't see where that kind of money was spent and if it was, it really doesn't resemble it, and if it does, somebody should question it. Is that what $600 thousand dollars looks like," questioned Gwendolyn Coleman, owner of Unity Chapel Funeral Home, which sits nearby.
City officials overseeing parks including T.C. Ayers said yes, the pool looks like just about any city pool this time of the year that's not in use.
"They all look like that this time of year unless they are up and operating," explained Jay Ellington, Director with Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation.
Coleman said she's discouraged about progress in her area lately, describing, "some work has been done, but I don't believe as much as they initially said would be."
Parks and Recreation has their work cut out for them when it comes to the neighborhoods surrounding the upcoming Harbor Bridge construction project, which cuts straight through the northside neighborhood where T.C. Ayers lies unused.
"As we look forward to the community and what the community will look for in the future, we've got several park decisions to make around the bridge," Ellington said.
However, the neighborhoods nearby aren't what they once were and that fact hasn't fallen short of local residents, some of whom question whether plans to revitalize the area will be effective.
"Actually I think the pool is a nice suggestion for the remaining children in the community, but at the present time I don't see any new children coming into the community, so how much usage will that pool receive," Coleman asked.
In April, T.C. Ayers is scheduled to reopen. That's when the City will further assess its status and future. Officials expect more development to the city's northside in 2018.
"There is money allocated for park improvements in the Harbor Bridge area," explained Ellington.
What those plans will amount to is still uncertain, even as construction begins on the new bridge. As plans move forward and more assessments await, locals are left with more questions than answers, for now.
"I'd like to see it come back, whether I'm here or not...it deserves to be revitalized," Coleman added.
As part of the process of planning improvements and changes to the northside communities under the influence of the upcoming Harbor Bridge project, the City will hold a Citizens Advisory Board Sub-Committee meeting open to the public.
That meeting will focus on livability in the northside area and will take place on January 18, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. in the Williams Senior Center.