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Council vote upcoming on North Beach improvement project

Posted: 10:12 PM, Oct 18, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-18 23:26:59-04

For years, there have been talks about improving the North Beach area. Voters approved a bond issue for this project four years ago and now, the city is finally ready to move forward with construction.

This $2 million project focuses mainly on road upgrades and beautification. There will also be some improvements to the problematic drainage system in that area. However, some city council members wonder if it’s worth spending this money to put a Band-Aid on that bigger issue.

Businesses in the area, including Pier 99, are glad to hear that the city could soon start with this project. The restaurant sees its fair share of tourists, sitting between the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington.

“Improving the roads, bringing in more tourists, making it easier to get to us. Of course, we’re going to be excited to have more business than we’re already getting,” Pier 99’s Joey Garza told KRIS 6 News.

In addition to pavement work and new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and ramps, the project will go below the surface, as crews will clean out the storm water pipes and manholes.

The city understand that this won’t necessarily protect North Beach against tidal flooding, but officials say it should still help with drainage.

Garza was pleased to hear that drain cleaning was part of the project since flooding has impacted Pier 99’s business just this week.

“We’ve had to actually close down the last couple of days due to the parking lot being extremely flooded to where you would literally need rain boots to get in here,” he said.

But it’s that continuous tidal flooding threat and the larger drainage issues around north beach that are making Mayor Joe McComb think twice about this project.

“Why are we spending 2 million dollars…and putting in new asphalt, curbs, gutters and sidewalks so that it’s going to flood and sit in water?” McComb asked during Tuesday’s council meeting. “If you don’t have a long-term plan to address the problem, then i think you’re wasting money.”

However, other council members and city staff say a lot more money and time are needed for a long-term solution. Meanwhile, North Beach could use this help right now.

Greg Smith, city council representative for District 4, said, “Trying to get ready for spring break, we know that North Shoreline doesn’t look good for our visitors. It isn’t that big a portion of what we’re spending here with it. I’d like to see us move forward.”

Council members will vote on a construction bid for the North Beach project at next week’s meeting. If it’s approved, the city hopes to have the improvements done in time for spring break.