In less than a month (November 5, with early voting October 21—November 1), the citizens of Corpus Christi in a special bond election will be asked to approve the City’s financial contribution to Destination Bayfront, an ambitions public-private plan to dramatically upgrade a 34 acre area along Corpus Christi Bay just south of downtown. The idea behind Destination Bayfront is to create an active, signature, city multi-use park space beside Corpus Christi Bay for the enjoyment of all the citizens of Corpus Christi and the City’s visitors. At the same time, it is expected that the park development, and the people and uses it will draw, will stimulate business growth and investment in an area of the City which has remained dormant for years.
Details of Destination Bayfront can be seen at http://www.destinationbayfront.org. The plans for the park were generated out of input from numerous public meetings. The plans call for the park to be divided into 9 separate but complimentary areas, with lots of shade and substantial available parking. Some of the areas to be included in the park are:
–a boardwalk along the seawall.
–shaded children’s interactive playground.
–improved access to existing McGee Beach.
–large family area with numerous available activities, and dog park
–an area of restaurants and shops.
–a great lawn and festival area which can be used for concerts and other performances as well as for City-wide festivals such as Bayfest and Buc Days.
–a memorial park for Corpus Christi’s veterans.
The cost for the two phases of park improvements is estimated to be $69 million, with $44.6 million of City funds to be voted on in the special bond election. The non-profit Destination Bayfront group has committed to raise a minimum of $15 million privately to fund an endowment for the Park, and no bond funds are to be released until that private money is raised. Additional park maintenance funds will come from an on-going special assessment of neighboring property owners. After its completion, the park will be run by a non-profit conservancy that is separate from the City, much like the operational structure for the Lexington, the Aquarium and Art Museum.
Based on similar recent urban multi-use park developments in other communities, it is expected that the approval of the park project will stimulate construction, investment and jobs in the areas near the park; with more jobs and development following as the project nears completion and more people are drawn into the area for events and to enjoy the site and its amenities. In addition to the investment and jobs, it is estimated the presence of the park will generate $3.5—$4.5 million annually in increased sales and property tax revenues, which would be more than enough to pay the debt service on the construction bonds.
This park bond vote has the potential to be a game changer in the development and future of the City, and even in how its own citizens think about the City. We certainly encourage everyone to vote in this important bond election.
For more information on this topic, please email Craig Williams or call him at (361) 886-3800.