CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The neighborhood around the old Lamar Elementary School is in line for some extra protection.
The Ed Rachal Foundation offered the city and police department a $50,000 dollar grant for increased patrols between Port Avenue and Crosstown Expressway to the east and west; and Agnes Street and Morgan Street to the north and south. That money will help pay for officers' overtime, as residents there have complained about crime in their neighborhood for years.
The grant is part of a larger effort by the Rachal Foundation to address crime and clean up the neighborhood around the former Lamar Elementary School.
The school was slated to be the new home for the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission, but Good Sam backed out of the project last week because of neighborhood concerns. However, it leaves a major question: what will the foundation do with the vacant school?
“We will have to find another non-profit that we can house here or do something else that we think would benefit the citizens of Corpus Christi and this neighborhood,” said Myra Morris, the foundation's chief legal counsel.
The foundation says it wants to clean up the neighborhood and is putting its money where its mouth is.
Since buying Lamar Elementary in 2018, the Ed Rachal Foundation also spent more than $250,000 buying several run-down or vacant properties nearby. Most are already torn down, others soon will be. The idea came from CCPD, as part of a list of potential neighborhood improvements.
“We're just basically helping the city and the police department go through with what their wish list is, but in an expedited manner,” said Morris.
Residents resisted Good Samaritan moving in to the school because they were concerned about more crime in their neighborhood. However, now that work has stopped, the building sits empty.
“The most dangerous thing in the world is an empty building like this for those scoundrels to get into,” said Carol Murphrey, Good Samaritan Executive Director.
The Ed Rachal Foundation says Lamar Elementary won't sit vacant permanently, but the property does still need to be re-zoned before it can be used as anything but a school. The city council is scheduled to hold a public hearing at the end of the month.