Summer Seawall Series: Part Three - Marina Arts District in Corpus Christi, TX

Aug 27, 2019

By: Alexandra Scott

Part Three:

Next Steps

After discussing the problems plaguing our beloved seawall in our Seawall Series: Part One and the dollars involved in Part Two, we are left wondering where we go from here? It seems simple; fix what needs to be fixed. However, with a multitude of problems that need to be addressed, it can be hard to know where to start.

According to city engineers, the highest priority should be the levee and floodwall systems. Remember from Part One? These systems are a continuation of the seawall we see along the bayfront.

The systems are located along the ship channel by the Museum of Science & History and the Port of Corpus Christi. In fact, some of the levees that protect Uptown and the Marina Arts District are located even west of the Port. These systems also protect the likes of Downtown Corpus Christi including, but not limited to Whataburger Field, Heritage Park, The Ritz Theatre and all the downtown businesses you love.

What else needs to be repaired? There have been extensive conversations about repairs needed for the Watergarden and Shoreline Park fountains as well as the dredging of the marina boat basin, restoring the breakwaters and upgrading two pump stations. Multiple projects that were identified in a 2009 study have been on the books for years but have been held up in contract and bidding processes.

Currently, the city is finalizing a scope of maintenance contract to make repairs to the fountains and other structural elements.

We at the DMD believe that, in order to utilize the economic development tool we have in the seawall, we need to fast track the two problems listed as the highest priorities by city engineers (the salt flat levees and the museum floodwall) and invest in seawall maintenance.

While we are still waiting on the feasibility study ordered by the Type A Board, we’ve heard from numerous stakeholders that expedited structural repairs for the 2020 hurricane season are a top priority. They would also like us to utilize the $45 million in the seawall fund for these repairs and continued maintenance.

An estimated 5% of the United States Coast is ‘hardened’ in seawall and most water-edged cities are conduction rehabilitations such as this. We have the potential to create a policy and system that can become ‘best practice’ for cities around the country.

Our 2019 Perception Survey identified that 87% of participants who use the seawall for activities such as jogging, recreation and dining highlight ‘Seawall Maintenance’ as their number one concern in Downtown Corpus Christi. Even 69% of those who don’t use the seawall listed it as the number one priority. This maintenance means daily cleanings and investing in quality of life projects that draw more people into downtown.

These quality of life projects, such as the Mirador de la Flor, updating the water fountains and what may even be a promenade along the seawall by the Art Museum of South Texas, are ways we can help our citizens fall in love with Corpus Christi again.

Once the litany of projects is complete, they will secure the safety and future of Downtown Corpus Christi. Plus, they create opportunities to make downtown beautiful and livable but fun and lovable. And who doesn’t what their city to be livable, lovable, fun and beautiful?