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City Council to vote on funding canal project Tuesday

Posted at 6:28 PM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 20:22:31-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX. — The Corpus Christi city council is expected to take a vote on Tuesday, that could decide the fate of a proposed canal project on North Beach.

Last week, KRIS 6 reported that four council members wrote an ordinance for the council to consider paying for the project.

On Friday, the city's attorney issued an objection to the ordinance because it violated the city charter or state law 10 different ways.

However, Jeff Blackard and Lynn Frazier, developers who want to transform North Beach, also want the city to commit to funding the canal during tomorrow's city council meeting.

But they were thrown for a loop when they heard of Friday's news that the city's attorney has concerns about the $41 million project.

"It was a complete surprise," said Frazier. "This was the first we heard of it."

Project developers say one option to solve the long-term drainage problems is to build a canal on North Beach.

"You have to fix the problem on North Beach," said Blackard. "So do you build a ditch that has no economic benefit, or do you do a canal that has huge economic benefit to the city?"

Blackard and Frazier also believe the project would pay for itself after voting to turn the area into a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone last month.

"The new hotels, the new restaurants, the new entertainment," said Frazier, "they are the ones that are going to be paying for all this."

Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb says if funding for the project is approved it would actually be paid for by you, the taxpayer.

"This canal is a taxpayer, ratepayer, funded project," said Mayor McComb. "So that's why it's so important that we get this right."

Mayor McComb is also worried about the total cost of the project and how the city moves forward with construction. Those are concerns that are similar to the city attorney's which, were presented last Friday for the first time.

"I'm not interested in breaking the laws or passing anything, or taking any actions that's going to be against the law," said Mayor McComb.

However developers want the city to commit to the canal tomorrow, in order to take advantage of the federal tax incentives.

"I just hope that they vote for the people of North Beach, and not be afraid of all the threats," said Blackard.

Frazier also has plans in place to build a $40 million hotel on North Beach. He says if the council votes 'no' on the canal project, he will not move forward with developing the hotel.

The ordinance that would commit the city to paying for the canal project will need at least five 'yes' votes to pass. The city scheduled an executive session to discuss legal matters with the city attorney.