It’s something we’ve all driven past on the way to the beach. But never really noticed until now.
Several feet from the entrance to J.P. Luby Beach off Zahn Road, there’s a large masonry wall with a gate. But it’s the public utility equipment behind that wall that has City Councilman Greg Smith concerned.
“It shows how careful we need to be that we need to have a very strong guarantee that something is going to have before we reach out and make those kinds of investments,” he said.
Smith is talking about the city’s investment in the Zahn Road Sewage Lift Station.
It was built 10 years ago and cost about $2 million. The money came out of a city-managed developer’s trust fund. The decision to spend the money on that project was made by a previous city council and was based on a promise by an Austin-based company called Forestar Real Estate.
The plan in 2008 was to build a beachside housing development called Tortuga Dunes. That never happened.
The lift station has sat unused and accumulated rust.
Now a different developer has entered the picture and Smith said he is hopeful.
“Jeff has a great reputation here on Mustang Island as a get-her-done and a quality development, so when they became involved I said, ‘This thing is going to go,'” Smith said.
That developer is Jeff Lamkin, who runs a company out of the Atlanta area. He along with Steve Berkus of California are building Lively Beach – a development plan that includes vacation rentals.
Construction is underway, according to the city’s Development Services Department. Lamkin also built Cinnamon Shores on Mustang Island.
The lift station should operational within a year – in time for the opening of Lamkin’s development, according to a written responses from the Corpus Christi Utilities Department.
A city spokeswoman did not provide a response for questions about whether any repairs to the lift station are needed, and if so, how much those would cost and how they would be funded.