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Long-term livability plan in the works for remaining Hillcrest, Washington-Coles residents

Posted at 10:34 PM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 23:57:05-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — KRIS 6 News has recently reported on concerns that Northside neighborhoods have not been well-maintained since the new Harbor Bridge project started. But what's being done to address those issues after the bridge is built? It turns out that plan has been years in the making.

Some people are claiming there's been long-time neglect in the Hillcrest and Washington-Coles area. A recent crash where a stop sign was covered by overgrown grass called attention to those problems.

It just so happens a meeting organized by the Texas Department of Transportation was already planned to discuss how these things will be addressed years from now. The agency meets once a quarter with the Community Advisory Board that was formed to serve as a voice for the neighborhoods during the Harbor Bridge Project. During Thursday's meeting, they started reviewing the first draft of the livability plan.

"This plan is supposed to be a tool used by the community to really identify what the needs are for the people who are left," explained Christopher Amy, Title VI program administrator for TxDOT.

He says those needs range from housing to environmental concerns to mobility. The blueprint came after years of planning and feedback from residents.

"We had over a dozen meetings to get to where we are now and we really feel like we're getting close," Amy told KRIS 6 News.

Pastor Adam Carrington leads Brooks AME Worship Center in Hillcrest and is also chair of the Community Advisory Board. He was excited to take a closer look at what's outlined so far but he also doesn't want some issues to be kicked down the road.

"There are some parts of this that we believe should have already been started. for example, like some of the parks that should have been renovated by now," Carrington said.

The city has also been a partner in these meetings. New city manager Peter Zanoni was at the meeting to let residents know he hears their concerns.

"It's on our radar," Zanoni said about the code compliance issues. "It's been on my work plan and it's something that's going to take some time to address and tonight is a good way to get some of that background information."

When it comes to these current issues, Zanoni has already sent staff to assess the Hillcrest and Washington-Coles neighborhoods. He said he will meet next week with the Port of Corpus Christi, which is helping with the Harbor Bridge acquisition program, to come up with a plan to minimize those problems.

The completion of the new Harbor Bridge is still years away so, as of now, there's no clear timeline for when the livability plan will be finalized.