The North Beach Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone is designed to fund development in that area, and now we have a better picture of how some of the money will be spent.
The Corpus Christi City Council approved the project and financing plans for the TIRZ on Tuesday, the last of the eight steps to creating a TIRZ. The move also clears the way for a proposed $40 million hotel there, but there is one major hurdle left.
“I think the greatest signal the city could send to everyone is the fact that they want the canal,” said North Beach Preservation Society member Chad Magill.
A canal or ditch are the city's options to solve North Beach's decades-old drainage issues, but only a canal comes with the promise of development.
“No one is going to put a $40 million development on a ditch,” said Magill.
Developer Lynn Frazier already has proposed building a $40 million hotel on North Beach. Frazier’s development would get nearly $8 million in reimbursements from the TIRZ board, roughly 25 percent of its total value.
The TIRZ No. 4 board now has met twice, even though all its seats aren't full. The board currently is made up of the Corpus Christi mayor, eight council members, county commissioner Carolyn Vaughn, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales, as well as executives from the Texas State Aquarium and USS Lexington. Seats reserved for Del Mar College and a community representative aren’t filled.
“The people on that board, most of them that I know, are working for North Beach, and are making some good decisions,” said long-time North Beach resident Carrie Meyer.
Meyer is also a North Beach Community Association member. That organization represents all five of the property owners' associations on North Beach.
“We are already very united on North Beach, to a large extent,” she said.
The NBCA wants one of its members in the seat reserved for the community, but the position has to be posted for 30 days before it can be filled. Meyer has applied, but, in the meantime, believes the board has residents’ best interests in mind.
“They're well-versed in the issues and are trying to move the city in the right direction, so I trust what they're doing,” said Meyer.
A commitment to a canal could come as early as Dec. 3. There's been talk of a North Beach drainage workshop that day, with a council vote coming a week later, on Dec. 10. As of now, there's nothing officially on the city council's calendar.
The TIRZ project and financing plans were approved with one reading in order to meet a Dec. 9 deadline for a federal opportunity zone on North Beach.