Part of a Vision for the City Is Realized

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Government and Politics
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Ralston Avenue, Corpus Christi, Texas

     Tuesday’s Council meeting started with long, heartfelt “goodbyes” and “thank yous” as the current mayor and council members held their last meeting together.  The items on the agenda included the possible impeachment of Councilman Mark Scott, the rezoning of .86 acres across from Tuloso-Midway High School for the building of a controversial faith-based transition home for women, a resolution  opposing proposed Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) rule amendments that give TCEQ broader discretion to order boil water notices, Ethics Commission recommendations that further define “conflict of interest”, and a few other less significant topics. However, one agenda item stood out as an example of what Councilman Chad Magill accomplished as part of his vision for the City.  He along with other council members, community members, and City staff made possible something that has been long in coming, the appropriation of funds to start rebuilding residential streets, albeit only two at this time.

ralston-map

    One of the streets is Ralston Avenue, located between Alameda and Staples, and the other is Rogerson Drive, which runs between McArdle and Sunnybrook. The two projects are expected to cost about $4 million combined.   The reconstruction of these two streets will serve as a testing ground for collecting data for moving forward with the reconstruction of other residential streets in years to come, including the initial program implementation planned in the Bond 2016 approved by voters last week.  This test project also provides additional analysis and considerations for the selection matrix for future candidate streets.

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     According to the report prepared by Valerie H. Gray,  Executive Director of Public Works, “Staff will use these two projects to further refine the Residential Street Reconstruction Program including developing better pricing, street selection process, and construction recapitalization strategies.”  This is a far different way of handling road reconstruction than what has happened in the past.  It seems that the data collected and compiled by the Ad Hoc Residential Street Reconstruction Commission, which was championed by Councilman Chad Magill, had some influence on the process as the language of the agenda memorandum suggests.

Chad Magill portrait

     Magill expressed how pleased he was with the projects and thanked City Manager Margie Rose and her staff for taking the lead on the project.  “Even though this is not the big ticket item, this should be the big news of the day.  This is achieving the impossible, and when we achieve the impossible in this city, it often doesn’t get shared.” Magill and fellow Councilman Brian Rosas talked of how they were committed to making this happen even when they were running against each other for the District 2 seat.

     “District 3 is open for new streets as well as for business,” said Magill to District 3 Councilwoman Lucy Rubio, a play on a line used frequently at Council meetings by Rubio concerning her district.

      Rubio thanked Magill for being a major supporter of District 3.  “You did your job as an at-large member, and you did it very well.”

     Rosas thanked the Council for allowing part of the project to be in his district as well as in Rubio’s district.  He also asked Margie Rose not to forget him when the projects are finished.  “I definitely want to be there for the ribbon-cutting.”

      Ralston Avenue (Staples to Alameda) and Rogerson Drive (McArdle to Sunnybrook) are anticipated to receive:

  • full depth reconstruction with limited utility upgrades/adjustments,
  • complete removal and replacement of existing HMAC Pavement
  • new curb & gutter, sidewalks, ADA ramps and signage/markings

project-schedule

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Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.

Takin’ It to the Streets: Mystery Solved

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Opinion/Editorial

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     When people attempt to solve a problem, they are either dealing with a puzzle or a mystery, two forms of deception.  Puzzles have a single answer; once that answer is apparent, the puzzle is solve.  Puzzles exist when there is not enough information.  Mysteries, on the other hand, have an abundance of information.  A mystery requires a skilled sleuth to collect the facts, sift through the plethora of data, make observations, question the relevant players, and arrive at a solution to the problem.
     Malcolm Gladwell, writer and journalist, said, “If things go wrong with a puzzle, identifying the culprit is easy: it’s the person who withheld information. Mysteries, though, are a lot murkier: sometimes the information we’ve been given is inadequate, and sometimes we aren’t very smart about making sense of what we’ve been given, and sometimes the question itself cannot be answered. Puzzles come to satisfying conclusions. Mysteries often don’t. Enter Andy Taubman and his team of street detectives, aka the Corpus Christi Ad Hoc Residential Street Infrastructure Advisory Committee.
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Committee
     The Corpus Christi City Council empaneled the nine-member group to gather the facts and make recommendations to get the most out of every dollar spent on residential streets and to suggest the best way to go about fixing the problem.  This team of dedicated citizens spent over seven months digging into every aspect of street construction in Corpus Christi, including poring over the limited historical data, examining the current methods for tackling the streets, talking with contractors and analyzing current contracting methods used by the City, working with City Staff to collect information, exploring potential financing solutions, seeking alternative methods of street construction, and actually driving the streets of the city to identify the real problems. Then, they generated a 41-page document of these findings, which will be presented to the City Council in June.  They even included a really handy section devoted to defining the “street language” in the document.  The report focuses on 7 areas:
  1. Identification of the current residential street problem;
  2. Observation of what is good and bad about the current residential street reconstruction process;
  3. Creation of the TAR (The Targeted Area Reclamation), a proactive, intensive maintenance cycle applied throughout the City to extend the functional life of streets until reconstruction can occur through the Residential Street Rebuild (Rework & Reconstruction);
  4. Prioritization of street rebuilding according to a process that considers road condition, safety, maintenance history, proximity to schools, population density, utility coordination, transportation coordination, and road network connectivity;
  5. Explanation of funding scenarios of $10 million, $14 million, $15 million, $17 million, and $20 million per year;
  6. Identification of possible funding sources for the proposed new residential street programs, including RTA Funding of City Street Aspects,  Budget Savings and/or Reallocation of Existing Dollars, Dedicated General Fund and Industrial District Revenue, Re-purposed Whataburger Field Debt Service Funds, Charter Revision for Additional Dedicated Operations and Maintenance Property Tax Revenue, Dedicated Spending from Revenue Growth, and Ad Valorem Tax Increase.
    
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     There will, no doubt, be questions about the findings, as there most certainly should be.  It’s part of the process.  However, the best part about this whole story is that the nine “detectives” will have answers, answers founded in good information.  The report they have generated leaves nothing to guesswork, so the council members will certainly be able to solve the mystery about what to do with our residential streets, something that has never been done and that many thought was not even possible.  Hats off to this dedicated and hard-working group of skilled citizens! They have been good and faithful servants of the people.

 

 

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Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.