$450,000. That’s how much the four wind turbines near the Bayfront Fountain cost when they were built in 2010.
Now, they don’t even spin.
“The corrosion has overwhelmed the mechanical equipment to where they just don’t rotate,” said Jeff Edmonds, City of Corpus Christi Engineering Director.
Voters approved the turbines as part of the Bayfront development plan in Bond 2004.
“It brought together the community in a way we hadn’t seen before,” said At-Large City Councilwoman Debbie Lindsey-Opel. “When you walk through that whole park area around the arena, and it really creates an ambiance, I think it gives Corpus Christi a little swagger factor.”
But that swagger quickly faded. The turbines were designed to generate enough wind energy to power the Bayfront fountain and nearby kiosk. That never happened.
“There was an intent to try to incorporate the emerging energy source, make it part what we do,” said Lindsey-Opel. “What ended up happening was the technology wasn’t ready for prime time.”
Now these turbines might get a second wind… as wind art.
Earlier this week, city engineers asked the Type A Board for more than $300,000 to repair SEA District water features. Listed in the presentation were optional turbine repairs, which would essentially turn the structures into giant pinwheels. Edmonds says if repairs are made, costs will be kept to a minimum.
“We thought that it might be more defensible to restore them to a rotating condition so that it would be sort of an art feature,” said Edmonds.
These repair projects are starting the design phase now. Officials hope the actual work starts early next fall.