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Task force recommends moving forward with North Beach canal plan

Posted at 7:02 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 11:09:08-04

The city council heard a presentation Tuesday from the North Beach Infrastructure Task Force on its proposed $40 million canal project.

The first recommendation from the task force, hire an engineering firm to provide a more accurate cost estimate for the canal project.  That includes exploring private-public partnerships to bring down costs.

“The city has never done it, but lots of other cities use them,” said Carolyn Vaughn, Task Force Chairwoman.  “They’re going to have to look into it.”

The second recommendation set up a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) for North Beach.  According to Vaughn, the TIRZ puts property taxes from new development into a fund.  This particular fund would go towards infrastructure maintenance on North Beach.

The proposed canal would along the old railroad line.  The task force has a vision to make the canal the centerpiece of a Riverwalk style attraction on North Beach.

That proposed development has turned heads, but the task force stresses the canal is the most important part, because it finally solves drainage issues on north beach.

“You’ve got three different engineers who’ve said it will work,” said Vaughn.  “I have confidence it will work, the city’s never been able to fix it; we have engineers telling us it will work, and they do it all the time in other areas.”

The third recommendation called for city staff be sent a copy of the city’s Employee Ethics Policy, and Fraud Prevention and Awareness Policy.

The council took the task force’s recommendations, and directed staff to move forward with the process.  The TIRZ will be discussed at a future meeting.