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Vote for a TIRZ now facing deadline

Posted at 6:24 PM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 20:52:52-04

CORPUS CHRISTI — A first vote on a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone for North Beach is now set for Nov. 12, but developer Jeff Blackard says time is running out.

That's because Blackard says for his project to move forward, he needs a "yes" vote before Dec. 9. That deadline was made very clear in a letter sent to Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni and other city leaders Wednesday.

The letter was sent by local developer Lynn Frazier who also is Blackard's partner. It explains how funding for opportunity zones such as North Beach works, stating there is a certain time frame in which those funds must be used.

"If there's a perception that we're pushing and we're just trying to get this done real quick," said Blackard. "Well, that perception is inaccurate."

According to Blackard, those funds must be put into action by the December deadline. That's why Blackard and others have been pushing for a vote on the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, also known as a TIRZ, for North Beach.

In the letter, Frazier said the TIRZ lets developers know the city is committed to improving North Beach, but are frustrated now that the TIRZ vote has been delayed by nearly a month.

"We offered and did educate as many council people that wanted to come get educated," Blackard said. "So for anybody to get up there and say 'We need more time. ...' I don't know how much more time I can give somebody."

Mayor Joe McComb says he and other city leaders were not aware of Frazier and Blackard's deadline until he received Frazier's letter. McComb also acknowledged being one of the officials who feels the vote on the TIRZ is being rushed.

Meanwhile, Blackard and Frazier continue to work on their multi-million dollar development on North Beach. The project eventually could bring enough money to build a canal in the area, which would solve longtime drainage problems.

"This is the tipping point, I believe, in the city, where great opportunities can come here," Blackard said. "But everybody has to work together."

Blackard and Frazier will meet on Dec. 9 to decide if they will move forward with a $60 million investment in the North Beach area.

The City Council and County Commissioners will hold a public workshop next Thursday to discuss North Beach. The following week, the council will hear a presentation on the North Beach drainage problems.