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Council set to vote on North Beach canal at 11 a.m.

Posted at 9:59 AM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 15:55:29-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The ordinance for building a grand canal on North Beach will be voted on in today's city council meeting. This will determine whether the city moves forward with the project.

Several council members were working on creating an ordinance for constructing the canal when city attorney Miles Risley objected because of noncompliance with state law.

"I'm not interested in breaking the laws or pass(ing) anything that can take any actions that will be against the law," said mayor Joe McComb. "So I think we need to get a clear understanding: If it can't be done, it can't be done."

McComb said there are still a lot of unanswered questions before moving forward with the canal project.

Developers Jeff Blackard and Lynn Frazier both were surprised with the pushback.

"We've been talking about this project for well over a year, and here they just, all of a sudden, just start coming up with every excuse in the world to not do the project," Frazier said.

Frazier, aside from owning Fajitaville, currently has a few other multi-million dollar projects on North Beach, but believes the canal is something that could bring big money to the area.

He and Blackard also said the grand canal would would be the biggest fix to the drainage issue on North Beach.

"So do you build a ditch that has no economic benefit or very little, or do you do a canal that has huge economic benefit to the city?" Blackard said.

The canal is proposed at $41 million, but said estimates have ranged from $100-300 million.

McComb says the biggest discussion will be on the final cost, as well as, who will pay for the project?

According to McComb, the canal project "is going to be paid by the taxpayer or the rate payer on their water bill."

However, Blackard and Frazier both disagree, saying the canal and development of North Beach will pay for itself.

"That the new tax base, all the new people that come onto North Beach, the new hotels, the new restaurants, the new entertainment, they are the ones that are going to be paying for all this," Frazier said.

Both developers are eager for today's meeting, but believe the vote should be 'Yes' for the canal.

"Tte people that vote 'No,' don't have vision, and don't see the potential of this town," Blackard said.

Blackard and Frazier both said they will pull out of the project if the vote is 'No' for the grand canal. Today's city council meeting is set for 11 a.m.