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City leaders say they're ready for population growth from new industries

Are city services ready for population growth
Posted at 3:14 PM, Feb 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-06 19:30:36-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With the opening of the Exxon-Sabic plant in San Patricio County and the Steel Dynamics plant Sinton in the coming years, Corpus Christi will likely see an influx of people.

City leaders say they're ready for it.

"We're anticipating some pretty significant growth," City Manager Peter Zanoni said.

Since taking the job last year, Zanoni has replaced the leaders of several of the city's 32 departments. He says that's key to making sure the city is ready for more workers and their families.

"It's just a matter of making sure we're attentive, making sure we have the right leaders, making sure we have a good strategy," he said. "I think we can easily handle the growth that's coming in."

One city department that saw a leadership change is the Streets Department which will soon have new guidelines under which to operate.

"We're going to develop a five-year road improvement plan that'll get approved by the (city) council," Zanoni said. "And then the community will know when their road will be done. If it's not this year, which year in the next five years. So, having planning and budgeting multi-years at a time is one way to also help keep up with the growth."

With growth comes the need for more infrastructure like water and wastewater systems. That's an area in which one local home builder says the city is behind the curve.

"Right now (the city has) stopped the infrastructure at (Oso Bay and Creek)," Don Caballero said. "They're just now starting going past it and thinking about it, and they should have started that about five years ago."

Caballero is concerned he and other developers will be hamstrung by a lack of available land on which to build in the city's hottest neighborhood -- Southside. Zanoni says the city is in the process of extending infrastructure to other parts of the city, but he says there's still plenty of room on the Southside.

"(The Southside has) a lot of vast tracks of what was farm land," Zanoni said. "But when you look to the east of that there's a lot of undeveloped land still in between tracts of land that have been developed on the Southside. Along Saratoga, there's tracts of land that developers have skipped over and now developing in the more southern regions."