Barefoot Mardi Gras 2017

We are proud to be a significant sponsor of Barefoot Mardi Gras for the 5th Year in a row!!

Barefoot Mardi Gras
February 24 – 26, 2017
Padre Island, Texas

Add a little cayenne to your weekend & leave the shoes at home!

The Barefoot Mardi Gras returns on February 25, 2017 for a 8th year in a row on Padre Island raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters and now the Island Foundation Schools.

A Family Parade takes place along the beach off Park Road 22 between Whitecap Blvd and Bob Hall Pier. Parade starts at 11am. The Parade Judges Float will open the parade followed a few minutes later by color guard and Mardi Gras themed floats in different divisions like Float, Jeep and Golf Cart. Many colorful characters enter the parade making it a unique activity for friends and family.

New this year is the Barefoot Mardi Gras Festival, a fun filled family event with Cajun music, food, drink, displays, exhibits, artists, children’s area, children’s stage and more! Admission is $5 with Kids 8 years old and younger FREE!

An adult-themed Party, The King & Queens Ball, will let the good times roll on the evening of the 25th from 7pm – 11pm at the Veranda Restaurant & Bar at Schlitterbahn. Miss Neesie and the Earfood Orchestra will perform and a special menu of Cajun style food will be served. Signature Barefoot Mardi Gras drinks will also be available. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes. Dancing and a live video stream from Bourbon Street in New Orleans will be part of the merriment. Attendees must be 21 years old and above. Tickets are $30 and available at various locations.

Events:

Barefoot Mardi Gras Parade

February 25, 2017
Begins at 11:00 am

Floats and fun for the whole family! The parade starts at Whitecap Beach and runs along Padre Island to the Briscoe King Pavilion near Bob Hall Pier.

2017 Barefoot Parade Registration & Rules

View the parade route map

Barefoot Mardi Gras Festival

February 25, 2017
11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Cajun Music, food & fun for all ages! The festival is located at the Briscoe King Pavillion in Bali Park on Padre Island and features live music, artists, car displays, exhibitors, a children’s area, food, drink and more!
Admission is $5.00 paid at the door. Cash Only.

King & Queens Ball

February 25, 2017
7:00 pm – 12:00 am

Patrons must be 21 years of age or older to attend. The ball is located at the Veranda Restaurant & Bar inside the Schlitterbahn Waterpark on Padre Island. Includes a cajun style dinner and dancing to the live New Orleans style music from Miss Nessie & the Ear Food Orchestra. Costumes encouraged!
Tickets are $25 pre-sale and $35 at the door. Tickets are available at Padres Island Properties Owners Association and Schlitterbahn at the Veranda Restaurant.

Kick Off Party
February 7, 2017
Begins at 5:30 pm

The 2017 Barefoot Mardi Gras Kick Off Party will be at Doc’s Seafood & Steak Restaurant at 13309 S Padre Island Dr, Corpus Christi, TX 78418.
Includes food, music and a silent auction to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Island Foundation Schools. Admission: $8.

Fat Friday Party
February 17, 2017
Begins at 6:00 pm

The 2017 Fat Friday Party will be at the Boathouse Bar & Grill at 15241 Leeward Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78418.
Includes food, band and a live auction to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Island Foundation Schools. Admission $5.00. Reserve a table in advance for up to (4) four people for $30.00.

Our Cause:

The event was founded as a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters by Denise and Duane Ebert and has grown into a signature event for Padre Island. The Eberts asked the Padre Island Business Association to take on the management of the event and the two groups worked together in 2015.

Added into the mix by 2016 was an Island charity that will also serve as a beneficiary, The Island Foundation (Seashore Charter Schools).  EM Marketing Company located on Padre Island, along with the Barefoot Mardi Gras Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, numerous Committee Members and volunteers will all work together on producing the events.

Buy T-Shirts:

Exclusive 2017 Barefoot Mardi Gras T-shirts will be available starting on Tuesday, February 7 at the Kick Off Party at Doc’s. They will also be available on Friday, February 17 at the Fat Friday Party at the Boathouse. Available at participating Island businesses up to February 25 and then during the parade and festival.

Further Information:

Barefoot Mardi Gras Information:
barefootmardigras@yahoo.com

Padre Island Business Association:
info@padrebusiness.org

Exerpted from BarefootMardiGras.com

 

CCPD launches Summer Crime Initiative

KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Unfortunately, as The temperature goes up, so does crime. That’s why The Corpus Christi Police Department unveiled their plans to fight crime.

The difference between The Summer Initiative, compared to others is, what parts of town officers will be focusing in on. With each initiative, CCPD crime analysts determine where The “hot spots” are at different times of The year. During The Spring Break initiative, beach goers will notice more law enforcement on North Padre Island, so they’ll drive along The beaches and visit bars, focusing on underage drinking.

During The Holiday initiative, implemented at The end-of-The-year, Police presence is focused in The parking lots of major department stores but The Summer Initiative, which lasts longer than other initiatives, will bring more officers to The Downtown and Uptown area.

The biggest problem in The Downtown and Uptown area? Synthetic marijuana.

Assistant Chief Mark Gutierrez said, “Not only are we targeting The users, but we’re also targeting their dealers and that’s part of what our Narcotics Unit will be doing. They’ll be working to take The dealers off The streets.”

Synthetic marijuana isn’t The only thing they’ll be looking for. Police will also keep an eye out for minors breaking curfews or underage drinking and distracted drivers.

Commander David Blackmon said, “We’ll be out there in unmarked units actively enforcing and frankly, making examples of these people that are just blatantly putting other people in danger.”

This is The 5th year for The Summer Crime Initiative. The first day of Summer (June 20th) kicks off The first day of CCPD’s Summer Crime Initiative and ends after Labor Day weekend.

Ridley Turtle nest numbers up this season

It takes a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle about 45 minutes to nest.

“They are quick,” said Donna Shaver, chief of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery at the Padre Island National Seashore.

That’s how long it takes from the moment they crawl out of the water, scuttle up the beach, dig a hole with their rear flippers, lay eggs in the hole, cover the nest with sand and head back into the water.

And this year, about 175 of those nests were found so far on the Texas coast.

“This season is looking pretty good,” Shaver said. “We have more nests so far than we did in 2015, 2014 and 2013. However it’s still lower than 2012, when we had 209 nests on Texas coasts.”

There’s one month left in the nesting season and Shaver said she hopes to get closer to the 2012 record with the help of staff and volunteers.

She said 84 of the nests were found at Padre Island National Seashore, and nine on North Padre Island north of the National Seashore.

Padre Island National Seashore will host about 20 public releases of Kemp’s ridley hatchlings this year, including one Friday and others through mid-August.

Release dates depend upon when the eggs hatch and the hatchlings become ready for release, officials said.

Jan Sawyer, 80, has been a turtle patrol volunteer since 2002.

She did not spot a mother turtle crawl out from the water until about two years after she started volunteering. Since then, she spots one to two turtles nesting every season, she said.

“To see the mother turtles is as exciting now as it was the first time,” Sawyer said. “To see them nest and then to be able to help out during the public releases is a wonderful thing.”

The fourth public release of the season will be at 6:45 a.m. Friday at the Padre Island National Seashore.

There will be no fee to enter the national seashore to watch the release in front of the Malaquite Beach Visitor Center, which is about 2 miles from the entrance.

Officials advise calling the Hatchling Hotline at 361-949-7163 to make sure the release has not been canceled. The cancellation notice will be posted on the Padre Island National Seashore Division of Sea Turtle Science & Recovery Facebook page by 2 a.m.

Food is prohibited. To not disorient the turtles, viewers should not wear white clothing or white shoes or take photos using a flash.  via Callertimes.com Twitter: @CallerNatalia

Dine Island

dineisland

Here on the Island, we all speak one common language, and that is FOOD! It’s something that since the beginning of time has brought people together – we have holidays for food, special rooms in our home for making food and eating food, and food is a very universal topic of conversation.

For those of you who are familiar (or, rather, unfamiliar) with Dine Downtown, this event, hosted by Marina Arts, went on from January 18th-31st. It featured some of Corpus Christi’s best restaurants who were able to offer a three course value-priced menu. Residents bought tickets, dined, had a wonderful time, and were able to check out local eateries they may not have been to prior.

It was such a huge success, that Island resident, Debbie Noble, is bringing this concept right to our front doors! But her model is slightly different.

Sponsored by the Padre Island Business Association and the Padre Island Moon, Noble is bringing us together to break bread. This is the first restaurant-type event the Island has ever seen. Restaurants all over the Island have signed up to offer unique three-course dining experience at value price. This does not include beverages, tips and taxes.

The idea is to get both Island residents to try the local fare they haven’t yet made it out to, and to also encourage non islanders from all over the Coastal Bend to come see how special our restaurants are!

“We are so excited to show off our great Island restaurants to the rest of the city and give people a reason to come OTB,” Noble exclaims!

Currently, participating restaurants include: Veranda, Costa Sur, Boathouse, Angry Marlin, Padre Pizzeria, Island Time Sushi, JB’s German Bakery, A La Mode Gelateria, Mikel Mays, Scuttlebutts, Surfside Sandwich, Texas Mesquite BBQ, Black Sheep Bistro, Dragonfly, and Docs. Many will likely offer drink specials or signature drinks for the meal.

What’s best? Every meal that is sold, the participating restaurant gives $1 that goes toward the Corpus Christi Food Bank. Padre Pizzeria is so excited that they are donating $2 for every meal! According to the Food Bank, every dollar allows them to provide 7 meals. Talk about a delicious event for a worthy cause.

Coastline Properties has also graciously offered to match the money from the restaurant that does the most dine island meals. “Cheri Sperling is an instrumental member of the community and wanted to get involved as well,” Noble says.

Mark your calendars, and get ready for two weeks of marathon meals! The hope is to make this an annual event, so mangia!

 

North Padre Island Canal Construction Underway

KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

KIIITv has recently reported on all the dirt moving around on the east side of Park Road 22. If you live in the area you have no doubt noticed all the heavy equipment moving sand on the Gulf side of Park Road 22. It is all connected to the Riverwalk-style development that is soon to be going up there and the planned bridge over Park Road 22.  Lots of excitement Developing here on North Padre Island, as the “Upper Padre” Development project is well underway.

THE REVERSE MORTGAGE, REVISED!

reverse-mortgage-corpus-christi

It’s no longer just a refinance tool, but now also for use with purchases!

First let’s review what a reverse mortgage is. It’s a loan available to homeowners who are at least 62 years old, where instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to the borrower. The idea is to aid elders and retirees who have wealth in their homes, but have limited income, to cover their basic living expenses and health care expenses.

BUT there is a new program that we should know about. It is called the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase product. This can greatly enhance the real estate service options we can offer our senior customers who would like to purchase a new home while still maintaining their retirement goals. Many mortgage companies in our Coastal Bend now have departments offering this option, which could be valuable for many seniors looking to relocate closer to family members, downsize, upgrade, or move to an active adult community.

This is an exciting option for qualified homeowners who are purchasing a home. This mortgage option allows homeowners to keep the home in their name while not having any monthly payments.

Who qualifies?

If you are 62 or older, will use the home as your primary residence, have no federal debt delinquency, can pay annual property taxes and homeowners insurance, vow to keep the property presentable, the property meets FHA guidelines, and agree to participate in a counseling session, YOU are qualified!

So how does it work?

When bundling the HECM with a new home purchase, the buyer can buy the property by mixing the HECM loan proceeds along with the proceeds from their previous home sale and/or savings to complete the transaction.

For example: Charlie is looking to downsize. He receives $700,000 from the sale of his home. He buys a home for $300,000. HECM loans Charlie $160,000 ($10,000 to cover closing costs). Charlie puts $150,000 as his downpayment. The remaining $400,000 goes straight into Charlie’s pocket!

  • It involves financing that doesn’t require monthly principal and interest mortgage payments
  • It includes increased purchasing power for those who are upsizing or downsizing
  • It has a streamlined closing process as the buyers are purchasing and getting a HECM all in one transaction
  • It may include supplemental income to support a better retirement, including a growing line-of-credit

Repayment

Just like other loans, the HECM loan must be repaid. But it is unlike traditional loans in that this repayment isn’t due until the owner has sold the home, no longer uses it as their primary residence, or passes away. When one of these scenarios occurs, the HECM and any accrued interest and mortgage insurance must be paid, but the perk is that the homeowner will never pay more than the home’s market value at the time of repayment.

So run, don’t walk! Your dream retirement home is waiting…

New Plans being Laid for Lake Padre Area

What do Bricktown, Oklahoma City and North Padre Island, Corpus Christi have in common? A water taxi system! Or at least, soon to be.

With Schlitterbahn, Harbor Marina, and Island Walk Village coming in phases to Padre Island, this picturesque canal system linking the island’s main attractions will bring new tourism and new life into the Island. Paul Schexnailder, a partner in the project, highlighted some of the main and most exciting aspects today at the State of the Islands talk, held at the Comfort Suites by San Jacinto Title Services.

CLICK ON PICTURE BELOW TO BLOW UP AND DOWNLOAD OR PRINT A COPY

Schlitterbahn, still set for a soft opening at the end of May, is part of Phase I. Although rain and labor has hurt the construction schedule, Jeff Henry, co-owner, has said this is the best park he has ever built. And we’re OK with that…good things come to those who wait! Here’s why!

The main clubhouse boosts four stories of fun.

  • 1st Floor: “Fajitas” restaurant and retail space
  • 2nd Floor: The floor for the locals – will have TVs, a lounge, a game room, and food and drinks
  • 3rd Floor: A 4500 square foot event center, equipped with 6 meeting rooms
  • 4th Floor: Fine dining open to the public, as well as  a private dining room for golf course and park members only
  • There will also be roughly 80 hotel rooms in the building 

To top it off? The clubhouse overlooks an Amphitheater that can hold approximately 2000 people. This was not in the original plans, but it sounds like the perfect place for some great island venues. You got fins to the left, fins to the right… 

Harbor Marina, set to be operating this time next year, will be instrumental in the “Water Taxi” System. Referring to the maps provided, Cruiser canal is being expanded to continue straight and curve to go toward the marina. See the arrows on the maps? That is where a new bridge is going to go (between Commodores and Whitecap). It will orchestrate boat and pedestrian traffic by 3 separate arches. The center arch will be for the boats, and the two arches on either side will be for pedestrians and golf carts. The canal archway will have a 13 foot clearance, whereas the two pedestrian archways will have a 10 foot clearance. The canals will be finished late 2015, early 2016, and the bridge has an end-of-the-year completion date. 

Island Walk Village is an Ingredient in Phase II. And yes, I am talking restaurants. It will be the site of at least 6 restaurants all up and down the newly dug canal system (will there be gondola rides in our future?). The structures will house the eateries on the main levels by the water, and then living spaces above that. Worried about parking? Don’t. The village has been drawn to have about 1400 parking spots.

..And even though gossip of a grocery store is spinning, those in “the know” are being understandably coy about the details. The good news is, there WILL be one!

This hardly touches the exciting developments the island will see over the next 5-10 years. The good news is that we have a built-in market here on our coast, and something tells me it won’t be “off the grid” much longer.

WIN a KINDLE FIRE HD Goodie Basket!

REMINDER CONTEST DRAWING EXTENDED UNTIL MAY 31st at 8:00pm

TO CELEBRATE SPRING, We are GIVING Away a Spring Goodie Basket including a KINDLE FIRE HD!

DUE TO POPULAR REQUEST, The Contest has been extended to MAY 31st at 8:00pm.  In order to enter the CONTEST, text the word “basket” to 71441 (yes, only 5 digits, look at the picture below) and you will be entered to win.

You May Also ENTER YOUR MOBILE NUMBER Below to be Opted into the TEXT TO WIN Contest!  Once you are opted in you will get a message asking you to reply with “yes” to confirm your entry into the contest.  Also, feel free to download our FREE MOBILE Application for your smartphone so you can be searching the Real Estate market locally in Real Time.  Go here http://bit.ly/smarterMLS

**Contest RULES: Must be 21 years or older to win. Must be able to come to our office to receive your prize, we will not ship this item. 1 entry per mobile number. Contest will end on May 31st at 8:00pm promptly. You will be notified by text if you win or lose. Best of luck to all of you!

It’s a new year, but what’s in? New vs. Existing Homes

North Padre Island (Upper Padre Island)

….started developing in the 70’s, and with Schlitterbahn on the horizon, the island is becoming more and more desirable to purchase. It seems like building your dream home has been on the upward trend. But what are the advantages of an existing home? A buyer has one of two options: Embrace the new or embrace the existing. Here are some variables that outline the pros of each!

Character and Uniqueness

New: Build the character that you want! Do you like the bay windows of a Victorian, the half-timbering of a Tudor, and a central chimney of a Colonial home? You have the liberty to mix and match!

Existing: You get true history, vintage hardware, and maybe a hidden crawl space! Personality shines through, as this house is less likely to look like your neighbors.

Bang for your buck

New: If you’re building, you can choose which materials to splurge on, and where to cut costs. Go for brick on the exterior, but laminate floors on the interior. If a huge crystal chandelier in your entry reigns supreme, consider offsetting your must-haves with less expensive detailing in other areas.

Existing: You can often get a larger, older home for less per square foot than you might pay in a new home. Looking to gain a little profit? Flip it!

Quality Craftsmanship

New: Builders have fine-tuned their skills and in a timely manner! The average 3-bedroom house can go up in about 3 months. Here, you can get efficiency, and have it done quickly.

Existing: In years past, craftsmanship was an art and materials are more likely to be the real deal: Brick, hardwood floors, custom molding.

Desirable Location

New: You have options! There are lots to buy, or houses to renovate or demolish. With the right vision and plan, you can have the location of your dreams.

Existing: More times than not, the fabulous locations were snatched up a long time ago. Location, location, location. You’ve heard it a thousand times. But that’s because it’s important! Here on Padre, the first homes built probably have the best views and biggest lots.

Test of Time

New: You don’t have to wonder how previous owners treated the property. If you maintain your home and property, it is probably going to last you a very long time. The ball is in your courtyard!

Existing: If the home is still standing, something was done right! This goes hand in hand with the craftsmanship. If properly built, that house will last to see many generations play capture the flag and to host decades of turkey dinners.

Landscaping

New: You have a blank canvas! Plant the trees, bushes, and flowers that you want to see grow over the years. Prefer the maintenance free kind of yard? Rock out with a rock garden.

Existing: Mature landscaping can be a huge advantage to buyers and sellers. It takes many years for trees to grow big! The older the home, the bigger the trees.They provide privacy, shade, curb appeal, and heck, they can even increase the value of the home!

Grandfather Clauses

New: Your home will be up-to-date with all the most recent requirements.

Existing: When a new zoning ordinance or code comes into effect, these older homes will likely be granted a grandfather clause, meaning they are not in violation of the law. For instance, you may be given a grandfathered rate of flood insurance in a place where the risk of flood has since increased. Always ask about grandfather clauses on an older property – you may be pleasantly surprised by what advantages you have over your neighbors!

There is so much to consider, and lots of options awaiting you on Padre Island. Best of luck in your adventures!

Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi – 7 months from Opening!

KiiiTV3.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend
Seven months. If all goes as planned, that’s how long it will be until the new Schlitterbahn Beach County Water Park and Resort on Padre Island is up and running.

If you have been watching the construction process, you know that things are now at the point of dramatic change.

“We’re really seeing some big changes now,” said Jeff Henry, co-owner of Schlitterbahn. “Really seeing this start coming out of the ground.”

From the beginning, there were plenty of people who were convinced the project was never going to happen; but now, 65 acres of what used to be the Padre Isles Country Club have been transformed.

“We’re running four-inch fire protection to the buildings that are going to be sprinkled, and we’re running two-inch fill lines that we’ll use to fill the rivers and fill the rides,” Henry said.

Jeff Henry is the creative genius behind all Schlitterbahn parks, and to say that he’s a free spirit doesn’t fully describe his reputation for thinking outside the box. He actually owns more than 60 patents for thrill rides that he has built all around the world.

“He’s always creating. He’s got a vision, and he tries to make the architects understand what his vision is,” said Sonia Gill, Henry’s assistant.

“This is fun. This is like artwork. It’s enjoyable,” Henry said. “I do get tired of corporate — that would be my brother and my sister, and all the people in New Braunfels who are trying to get me to comply with the rules and regulations of society, which I prefer not to.”

“He’s a wild and crazy guy, but he gets the job done,” Schlitterbahn Senior Designer John Schooley said. “He’s creative, and he really makes things happen.”

“These are treehouses that we’ve added,” Henry said. “Here, we’re doing something very unique.”

Henry was talking about the company’s unique upscale lodging for guests who want to extend their stay. The treehouses, as they’re called, are being constructed using wood left behind from the devastating fire in Bastrop, Texas, back in 2011. Ultimately, there will be a couple of hundred tree houses on the site.

Like the Schlitterbahn parks on South Padre Island and Galveston, the one in North Padre Island can stay open year round, but “this one is going to blow those other two away,” Henry said.

As of right now, construction workers — about 150 of them on any given day — are finishing up the in-ground infrastructure, working on foundations for the various slides and rivers, and adding a second floor to what will be a completely refurbished clubhouse.

As for the actual water slides and attractions, many are being built right now in the company’s fabrication plant in New Braunfels. Colorful butterflies and mushrooms, an elaborate locomotive, and a cool pirate ship — the C.C. Christi — all of it will be headed to Padre Island soon.

Also on the way are devices called Archimedes Screws. They work on a 2000-year old principle named after the Greek inventor who first used them. They will help propel the massive amount of water in the park’s moving rivers.

In New Braunfels, experts from around the country are collaborating online. They can actually stay in constant communication with project managers on the ground in Corpus Christi.

John Schooley, the company’s senior designer, is particularly proud of the park’s signature attraction. They call it “Shoot the Chute,” a unique adaptation of a classic waterpark ride that takes riders up a steep incline and then drops them into a large pool.

Local businessman Stan Hulse is the park’s general manager. He said he can’t wait until people can start splashing around in it. That’s still set to happen in June of next year.

Eventually, as 3News has reported, the $41 million water park will be the central component of a $550 million resort community on the Island. It will have more restaurants, shops and hotels. Plans also call for a riverwalk and new residential areas.

According to our sources, a major announcement about that is coming soon, and 3News promises to keep you posted. via KIITV.com

Waterparks, Power of Persuasion in the Numbers!!

High unemployment, crunched budgets and lower tax revenues have put financial stress on many locales. Those pressures can make a new waterpark very appealing.

Forget the fancy slides. While a new waterpark will need to wow visitors with all the latest technology once it opens, that day may never come unless local officials believe that the proposed park will bring jobs. “Three, four years ago, I don’t believe we had to emphasize the jobs piece so much,” says Craig Wilkinson, principal owner of Wisconsin Resort Consulting in Madison, Wis. “Ultimately, everybody wants jobs right now.”

With the national unemployment rate still higher than most economists would like at 7.7 percent in February 2013, many localities are hungry for new jobs. State budget crunches and depressed property tax revenues also have put financial stress on many cities and counties.

Those pressures can make a new waterpark an appealing prospect. “When you come in with an $18 million to $20 million payroll, 1,200 jobs and a tax base that solves their tax problems, most welcome you with open arms,” says Todd Nelson, owner and president of Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., which has begun planning a new $350 million waterpark resort in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.

Such enthusiasm is critical for waterpark developers, who say public support is a crucial part of financing a new project.

“The most important thing to us is how we’re going to be received by the community and whether it will be an uphill battle,” says Jeff Henry, CEO of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts in New Braunfels, Texas. “We go to places where we are needed and wanted.”

However, even with a promising location and excited community, the development and financing of a large scale waterpark can still be a herculean undertaking.

Economic engine

A waterpark proposal offers the promise of serious tax dollars as well as a mix of temporary, seasonal and permanent jobs.

“It’s a large economic package,” says Wilkinson. “There are property taxes, hotel taxes, park taxes and retail taxes.”

The numbers illustrate why. In Wisconsin Dells, which has the highest concentration of waterparks in the country, the industry has helped build what is now a tax base of $1.1 billion for a city of only 2,700 residents.

That sounds mighty appealing to a place like Garden Grove, Calif., where local officials currently serve 175,000 residents on a tax base of just $42 million and can’t wait until Great Wolf opens its long planned 600-room waterpark hotel in the city. The Southern California city, located in the shadow of Anaheim’s Disneyland, spent years pursuing an attraction of its own and finally landed a Great Wolf Lodge in 2010.

“It’s a means to a better, more attractive and more financially solid community,” Garden Grove City Manager Matthew Fertal said of the waterpark when the project was announced. “It’s the shot in the arm every city wishes it had, especially in these economic times.”

Three years later, Fertal remains just as committed to the project, which promises to bring 600 jobs and $8.5 million in annual tax revenue to Garden Grove.

“It will be a huge economic engine for the city,” he says. “Right now, 12 hotels generate $12 million in hotel tax for us. This one [Great Wolf] hotel will generate $8.5 million.”

As the project’s size and scope increases, so does its potential economic impact. In the Poconos, the $350 million Kalahari project is estimated to create 1,200 construction jobs, 700 full- and part-time jobs at the resort and bring more than $18 million in tourism dollars to the surrounding area.

Public decisions

Depending on the project and locality, public officials have a number of tools to encourage a waterpark firm to develop a facility in their area.

“Waterpark developments have received a variety of economic incentives, including tax abatements, room tax rebates for waterpark resorts, infrastructure funds, income tax rebates, and assistance in acquiring land,” says David Sangree, president of consulting firm Hotel & Leisure Advisors in Cleveland, who does feasibility and economic impact studies for the waterpark industry. “It’s all about the metrics of the deal,” explains Henry. “If a project has great metrics, existing infrastructure, and is in a well developed area, then a city doesn’t need to offer as much.”

Garden Grove, for example, offered Great Wolf a $62 million package to locate its lodge there, agreeing to provide the company with $15 million worth of land, $5 million in cash, and $42 million in redevelopment bonds.

“Outside of hotel attendance and visitation, it’s been a flat economy for us,” Fertal says. “Thank goodness the hotels are performing well, otherwise we’d really be in bad shape. That’s why we’re willing to do this.”

Not everyone can.

“Several municipalities would like to do these [waterpark deals], but financially, they are so burdened, they can’t make it happen,” says Wilkinson, who evaluates deals for clients.

In the Poconos, Kalahari is hoping to tap into tax increment financing (TIF) for the project, which would help pay for infrastructure improvements such as utility lines and road improvements. While the details of tax increment financing can vary from locality to locality and state to state, Kalahari has used these tools before.

In Sandusky, Ohio, Kalahari relied on a TIF to pay for more than $7 million in infrastructure improvements for its resort there, according to the company. And in Corpus Christi, Texas, Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts recently broke ground for a new $41 million waterpark that will be just one part of a larger $552 million mixed-use development that will take 18 years to build and produce $259 million in revenue.

Those are some big numbers, and the city’s contribution is no different; in exchange for the massive project, Corpus Christi agreed to provide $117 million in incentives, much of it in funds to promote tourism, for Schlitterbahn and its partners.

“As we looked at the economic impact, this was a good return,” says Foster Edwards, president of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce. “Our economy is excellent, and we are not desperate by any means, but why turn down a good opportunity? It’s that simple.”

Officials at Garden Grove felt similarly about Great Wolf, whose project is expected to generate enough tax revenue to cover the cost of the $62 million economic development package within the city’s desired time frame of seven to 10 years.

“As long as the payback fits within that threshold, we feel that’s a reasonable return,” Fertal says.

Doing the deal

Why do public incentives matter so much in the private waterpark industry, which is a tourism sector that everyone says is growing? The answer is financing.

“The lending situation has never been easy,” Schlitterbahn’s Henry says. “I’ve always found it to be hard because waterparks are not considered mainstream financeable products, so you have to go to alternative label financing, which asks you to promise not only your firstborn, but also your second, third, and fourth child as well.”

But industry consultants say the lending situation has become especially challenging of late, with even major hospitality brands such as Marriott turning to alternative sources of construction financing for new projects.

Banks, so eager to lend during the economic boom, today seem leery of anything but the safest deals, and waterparks often combine the risks of real estate, hotel, and amusement park projects. As a result, a single lender may not be able or willing to provide all the debt that a waterpark company may need for a project.

“With the new rules in banking, projects can only go so large without getting many banks involved,” says Wilkinson. “Tax breaks that a project can take and monetize in some way are the best for a project. From my experience, most lenders are not going above 60 percent lending on projects. This means a project owner has to have 40 percent of the project in the deal. If this can be reduced by taking land off the costs or [using] state bonds, then that makes a project much more fundable.”

Public dollars can also make a waterpark more profitable, which also appeals to investors and lenders.

“We’re severely at risk on these projects, so everything we get makes it easier for us to get it built,” Henry says.

Of course, economic incentive packages have their own challenges. If a site or location is a bad bet for a waterpark due to demographics or other factors, public money probably won’t be enough to persuade a firm to take the risk.

“For us, the most important thing is that the project has got to make sense and be viable without incentives. No matter what incentives are offered, the plan and the project are the most important factors,” says Tim Black, COO of Great Wolf, which currently operates 10 waterpark resorts in the United States and one in Canada. Depending on how the incentives are structured, public money can also be slow, arriving only after a project has met certain targets or started generating tax revenue.

“You’re already so far into the deal [by the time the public dollars show up] that if the public financing falls through, you better be able to finish it,” Henry says.

It can also disappear, jeopardizing the project. That’s what happened in Garden Grove last fall, when Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated the state’s redevelopment agencies and put the city’s economic package to Great Wolf on uncertain ground.

“The waterpark hotel is one of the surviving projects that will keep our city financially afloat,” Fertal said at the time. “I can’t be more serious when I say that without it, our revenues may find themselves in rough waters.”

After a lengthy review process, the state in February agreed with Garden Grove that it was legally obligated to honor the agreement with Great Wolf. That put the project back on track and allowed Great Wolf to start pursuing its own financing.

Such deals also can be controversial, angering residents who think hiring teachers or firefighters is a better use of that money than helping a private waterpark, even if the funds are only available for economic redevelopment.

Clearly, tax breaks come with strings of their own, and smart waterpark executives acknowledge that.

“It’s not free money,” says Henry. “We know they’re giving us help to build a facility, and we owe that back to the people who we are serving.”

via Aquatics

We are extremely blessed to have the opportunity for Schlitterbahn Waterpark coming to our island, in the past few months we have seen great progress and look forward to the opening in Spring 2014. ~Cheri Sperling

Corpus Christi Schlitterbahn Park Being Fabricated in New Braunfels

Schlitterbahn is still scheduled to open on the Padre Island next summer, but you wouldn’t know it by passing by the park site. That’s because a lot of construction is being done in New Braunfels.

Just behind what will be the main entrance on Padre Island, construction crews are working on a pool. They’re building small huts, while at the clubhouse just across from it, construction is planned soon.

“There’s a crew that will be working at this building, they’re going to start refurbishing this building,” said General Manger Stan Hulse.

170 miles away though, in New Braunfels, screw pumps able to push 36,000 gallons of water are already built and ready to ship. So is a large butterfly for the children’s park and dozens and dozens of segments that will be put together for all those Schlitterbahn-famous slides!

The next step is shipping them here.

“Its such a huge endeavor that it’s already been the subject of a couple of episodes of Shipping Wars,” said Huse.

Yes, we could see those parts on national TV, although, that is still in the works.

Once the parts are shipped to Corpus Christi the park will come together rather quickly.

“It will almost look like its going up overnight,” Hulse said.

There’s no date set for putting together those components yet, but we’re told right now, the park is on schedule and we should see Schlitterbahn open its doors by Summer 2014.

via KRIS TV

NEW Plans for Gulfside Development Along Whitecap Blvd.

Plans for the BeachWalk Village Development located along Whitecap Blvd. between SPID and the Gulf beach are now complete.  Gulf Shores Joint Venture has released its plans for BeachWalk Village Development fronting the Gulf of Mexico adjacent to Whitecap Boulevard. The plans include single-family beachfront homes, multi-family lodging, and an Island village which wraps around the existing Island House and fronts on the seawall.

The 40-acre site will be Coastal Vernacular architectural style reminiscent of the low country architecture found along the coasts of Georgia, and the Carolinas.  The BeachWalk Village Development is constant with the Island Master Plan and the developments on the west side of SPID.  It is intended to compliment the Schlitterbahn Beach County Development making product available for those looking for beachfront settings.

BeachWalk Village will serve the portion of the market interested in a beach setting and compliment Schlitterbahn Beach Country and IslandWalk now under construction on the west side of Padre Sound (Lake Padre) and on the west side of SPID.  Gulf Shores will shortly make the preliminary drawings for the marina on Padre Sound available in the near future.  “BeachWalk Village ties together the plans for the marina, the Schlitterbahn Beach Country and the BeachWalk,” said Developer Paul Schexnailder. “When completed The Island will have a comprehensive development that is second to none on the Texas Coast.” ~Island Moon Newspaper

Schlitterbahn is a very GREEN Company!

Give him time, and Jeff Henry may one day find a patent on raindrops.

The creative force behind the Schlitterbahn water park success story, Henry knows the value of water and has no problem explaining to a drought-parched city like Corpus Christi how a water park like his will not be a drain.

It’s a skill cultivated through more than four decades of developing, designing and opening water parks in a variety of conditions, including in times of drought.

His family’s first park — Schlitterbahn New Braunfels — grew during a drought that had the park’s wellspring, the Comal River, on the ropes.

“In ’84, we became very cognizant of water usage because we were worried the river would run dry,” Henry said.

So they learned to build closed-loop systems, fill them once, and channel them into a variety of purposes, filtering the water as they go.

Now, Schlitterbahn is building a $41 million water park in Corpus Christi, set to open in summer 2014. What few counted on is a drought that weather experts say is going to tighten its grip on the city’s fast-sinking reservoirs.

In an average year, Nueces County gets between 30 inches and 34 inches of rainfall, according to weather records. In 2011, rainfall dipped to fewer than 13 inches. It inched back up in 2012, to 18 inches.

As of Friday, the city had received 1.92 inches of rain since Jan. 1.

Inflows to the reservoirs total more than 724 million gallons through the first three months of the year. That is enough water for about 4.5 months, based on the city’s annual consumption.

The combined level of the city’s reservoirs stood at 35.4 percent of capacity as of last week. The level could dip below 30 percent sometime in June or July, according to city water planners, which would put the city into Drought Stage 3.

Should the city enter stage 3, the Schlitterbahn park would be subject to the city’s conservation plans. Another wrinkle resides in a city ordinance that allows the city manager to curtail all new water connections during a stage 3 drought.

Master plans call for a resort hotel to go with the park, but the park will be built first.

If business owners near Schlitterbahn’s master plan were in the beginning concerned that the park will use more than its fair share of water, the concerns have been addressed, said Stan Hulse, executive director of the Padre Island Business Association.

Hulse said with one deluge, water consumption could become a moot point.

“Although we are in a drought situation, there’s no way of predicting it will be the case when they fill the park,” Hulse said.

But Henry isn’t waiting on it to rain.

He does not need to.

TRANSPORTAINMENT

It is a lot easier to get into than out of the water flowing around the Pirate’s Cove at Schlitterbahn South Padre Island.

The cove, a new indoor-outdoor section of the park, is surrounded by a 3-foot deep river with a current meant to be enjoyed but strong enough to get what it wants.

The current is the product of unseen pumps and a sump that continuously fills and then releases the more than 750,000 gallons of water coursing through the system.

The river also is the wellspring of the rest of the cove. It feeds the two corkscrew slides and a children’s watergarden nearby, plus two wave pools, a heated lagoon and swim-up bar.

Video: Schlitterbahn: Wasser, wasser everywhere

 

The river helps accomplish the goal of keeping the water inside the park and the guests inside the water.

The concept is called Transportainment, trademark, and it is the liquid backbone of an entire business model predicated on doing more with less.

And over it all is a retractable greenhouse canopy — purchased secondhand from the San Antonio-based Schulz Nursery — that shelters guests from colder weather and allows the park to operate when others are closed.

The canopy saves energy costs by trapping warm air inside the park, which in turn keeps water temperatures comfortable.

There is another benefit.

As warm air rising from the park meets the cold surface of the canopy, condensation can develop.

“It actually can rain in here,” said Jack Soto, director of operations for the South Padre Island park, during a recent tour.

Eric Hansen, an architect who has studied water consumption in water parks on behalf of the Hotel & Leisure Advisors, a national hospitality and consulting firm, said though it may be counter intuitive to think of a water park as a conserver, the data backs it up.

“Water is a bottom line consideration for a water park, as much or more than other leisure businesses,” Hansen said.

Henry said it takes about 2.5 million gallons — the equivalent of about 100 swimming pools — to fill the average Schlitterbahn park. The city’s largest commercial water user, a power plant group, consumes 70 million gallons a year.

“Some is lost to evaporation, but that’s it,” Henry said.

Water used to clean water filters — called backwash water — is captured and stored to irrigate the drought tolerant landscaping.

Both Schlitterbahn and Hurricane Alley — the only water park now in operation in Corpus Christi — played it close to the vest on actual water consumption.

Hurricane Alley did not provide information and the city could not provide it because of a privacy clause on water consumption between Durrill Properties, which owns the park, and the city, said Kim Womack, spokeswoman for the city of Corpus Christi.

Schlitterbahn would not provide specific data on average daily water consumption at its water parks and resorts.

According to Hansen’s study, a 100,000-square-foot water park resort might consume up to 160,000 gallons of water per day.

If the resort was located in Corpus Christi city limits, 160,000 gallons per day translates into a minimum utilities tab of $12,000 a month, based on the city’s commercial rate.

But when broken down by per capita use per day, a water park may actually consume less than a residential home, based on another study by Hansen.

Using two parks as examples, Hansen calculated that a water park guest will consume about 40 gallons per day. A single family residence, which could include several people, may use 70.

“In the overall water park water system, the maintenance and topping off operation accounts for 2 percent to 3 percent of total water use on a daily basis,” Hansen wrote in his report. “In other words, a water park is reusing approximately 97 percent to 98 percent of its water system.”

Hansen said a golf course, by comparison, averages between 300,000 and 500,000 gallons consumed a day, according to the study.

“The idea that a water park is a big water consumer is false,” Henry said. “The truth is, it is actually a water conservator.”

LIQUID DNA

The water park also has no guarantee on water from the city, said Winter Prosapio, Schlitterbahn’s corporate communications and government relations director.

“We depend on water just like anybody else,” she said. “But for us, it’s a codependency. It’s in our DNA — we were built on a river.”

Because there are no guarantees, Prosapio said the company has a contingency plan of operations for drought restrictions.

The parks feature drought-resistant landscaping, river-ride basins and tube walls extending far above the water line. In New Braunfels, the park has a permit from the state to drawn water from and return it to the Comal River.

On windy days water lines to landscaping and water fountains are shut down to reduce waste.

And every employee is drenched in water-conservation principles, said Soto of the South Padre Island park.

“Everyone, even life guards, are taught the importance of water conservation,” he said.

No specific design plans have been released, but every park follows a basic pattern and the Corpus Christi location will be hewed from its predecessor on South Padre Island, Prosapio said.

There will be a “Master Blaster,” a “Boogie Bahn” and a tidal river, which all are signatures of the Schlitterbahn plan, she said.

But from there, it is anyone’s guess.

“(Jeff Henry) is so creative,” she said. “He can change on a dime.”

An inventor and world-renowned park designer, Henry’s park design company, NSBG International, has introduced the Transportainment model at the Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai, where it rains less than a half inch a year.

He has patented a variety of water park technologies for everything from a polymer coating on rides to water propulsion devices.

Such dedication to reusing and recycling trickles down through the entire organization, said Michael Bigelow, director of marketing and sales at Schlitterbahn South Padre Island.

“Jeff is always looking for ways to protect the environment,” Bigelow said.

A FLUID VISION

So Henry is impatient with the idea that a water park will not carry its weight in water for the community in which it is located.

“All water is borrowed water,” he said, invoking a mantra his employees have come to appreciate.

The system of pumps and filters — including two the size of compact cars — that serve an area of the New Braunfels park similar to what may be seen in Corpus Christi, recirculate more than 100,000 gallons an hour, during peak times, said Ace Horan, maintenance director at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels.

Leaks and drips are addressed by the small army of maintenance workers who swarm the park, Horan said.

“We are pretty hysterical about it,” he said “It is in our best interest to conserve as much of it as we can.”

Henry said Schlitterbahn has a strong bond with its communities.

“This Schlitterbahn will be built and belong to the people of the city,” he said. “We are caretakers of the land and the water, and our job is to be good stewards and manage it.

“I work for the people that buy tickets — those are my shareholders — not the guys that put a few million in,” he said. “They’re just facilitators applying their wealth back into the community.”

Henry, who blends Warren Buffett’s focus with Jimmy Buffett’s style, said he is not in it to conquer the world or waste its resources.

“We don’t believe in building things for ourselves to amass wealth,” he said. “We build it for everybody and that money should be plowed back into the community to create more.”

The bottom line, Henry said, is the satisfaction in seeing families set aside their tablet computers, cellphones and daily stresses and just have a little fun.

“Everybody needs a swimming hole, even in a drought.”

via Caller Times

Schlitterbahn Beach Country Resort – Ground Breaking!

It’s official. The planned $41 million Schlitterbahn Waterpark is one step closer to becoming a reality. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday on Padre Island.

Kiii News Reporter Bill Churchwell went Live from the Padre Isles Country Club with the details.

There was plenty of excitement from the crowd as they watched the mayor and the owners of Schlitterbahn break ground with golden shovels and construction equipment.

For the first time, we were able to see what the waterpark will look like, as an artist rendering of the 65-acre project, including rivers, rides, slides, surf and lodging, was put on display. It will be the fifth waterpark built by the family-owned and operated Schlitterbahn.

“This park is going to be our newest, most modern, prettiest, best park we’ve ever built,” said Jeff Henry of Schlitterbahn Waterparks.

“We’ve had our eye on Corpus for a long, long time,” said Robert Henry, also of Schlitterbahn Waterparks. “We had to develop our techniques to a finer point. Takes a lot of time and money. We’ve waited for Corpus to grow up to it, and I believe you’re there.”

Early during the development, there was some concern that the country club and golf course would be removed, but that will not be the case. It will remain in place, and it will be improved.

Schlitterbahn plans to open by March of 2014.

SCHLITTERBAHN BEACH COUNTRY RESORT MAP (CLICK HERE)

PHOTOS FROM THE GROUND BREAKING CEREMONY!

SCHLITTERBAHN DEVELOPER “Everything is on schedule for Spring 2014 opening!!

LATEST NEWS: The park developer and part-owner Jeff Henry says all is on schedule.  “Our concepts for the park haven’t changed much.  We are close to groundbreaking, and it always takes the lawyers and bankers twice as long to do their work as it takes for us to build it.  All the money is in place, financing for the project is completed and is ready to go.  The plans are done but will change right up to the time we start building.  Once ground is broken, we will be working straight through to completion.”

Jeff Henry also said his crews have begun to build the equipment at their construction yard at their New Braunfels headquarters; those include some of the castles and other custom equipment that his crews have also built for their other parks.  He also said his crews usually take two weeks off in December and equipment should begin arriving at the Island site around the end of December or early January.

The $41 million resort will be located on a 65-acre tract that is currently the site of Padre Isles Country Club on Padre Island.  While no new drawings of the park have been released in almost a year, the concepts haven’t changed much.  You can see the plans on the website:  FREE SCHLITTERBAHN MAP

With the $177 million Incentive Agreement with the city of Corpus Christi, Phase I of the park must be finished by summer 2013.  The water park is part of a proposed $552 million master plan for Padre Island, which investors Willard Hammonds, Paul Schexnailder and the Henry family (owners of Schlitterbahn) are developing.

They are shooting for an opening by Spring Break 2014 but it will probably be May 2014 before it actually opens – but no later than the summer of 2014.  They won’t move any dirt until everything is ready, all the way around, and then they will hit the ground running.

Phase I of the build out will include the water park and about 20 or so overnight stay rooms.  “After that we will build out as the market allows,” Jeff Henry says.  “We will get the park open and then expand as the market stabilizes.  Once that happens we will go to Phase II immediately.”

He expects Phase I of the park to require the hiring of about 20 local contractors who will be selected from a group of about 1,000 already compiled.  “We are the general contractor and we are responsible for seeing to it that everything is right and on time.”

He said Schlitterbahn will not be hiring off a low bid.  They will hire who they think can get the jobs done right and on time.  Their company is vertically integrated from design to finished construction and their crews know how to do every job required to keep the project on time and done right.  They will try to use as many local contractors and workers as they can.

Jeff Henry said there have been a couple of surprises as the process of planning and construction for the park has moved forward.  He said there are still some unresolved permitting issues with the Island Walk portion of the project which will be a 3500-foot canal connecting the water park on the west side of SPID to Lake Padre, where a marina is planned, via a 40-foot wide water exchange bridge under SPID.  The Island Walk will also connect the current canal system to Lake Padre and through it to the open Gulf of Mexico through Packery Channel.

There are plenty of places to begin building while any permitting issues for the Island Walk are worked out.  Henry says they are excited about the project and ready to hit the ground running around the first of the year.

We’ll keep you posted as to progress along with photos once things begin.  Happy Holidays to all of YOU!!

Cheri Sperling, Owner Coastline Properties

Schlitterbahn NEWS! Construction equipment expected to arrive this month!

— Some construction on the proposed Schlitterbahn water park and resort has begun — just not on Padre Island.

Materials are being prefabricated in New Braunfels — where the company opened its first water park in 1979 — said Gabriele Hilpold, chairwoman of the committee that advises the city on island development.

Members of the Island Strategic Action Committee said they’re baffled when they hear from people who still don’t believe the park and resort will become a reality.

But they may not hear as much of that by the end of October, when construction equipment is expected to arrive near the Padre Isles Golf Course, said developer Paul Schexnailder, of Asset Development. He briefed the committee Tuesday night.

Drawings and surveys are being completed, he said. Schexnailder wouldn’t say whether they’ve found a way to keep nine holes of the golf course open during construction — as hoped by some island residents — but said project details are being worked out.

The $41 million resort planned west of Park Road 22 tentatively is set to open in March 2014. Early designs showed the park would include a 65-acre water park with lodging, golf and restaurants. It will be built on the existing golf course and tied into a master plan for the area that includes a marina in Lake Padre, an extension of the residential canal system, hotels, condos and single-family homes on about 500 acres of mostly undeveloped land.

Under a $117 million incentive agreement with the city, Schlitterbahn must begin construction within five months and be finished with the first phase by summer 2013.

Schlitterbahn is part of a proposed $552 million master plan for the island, which investors Willard Hammonds, Schexnailder and the Henry family, owners of Schlitterbahn, are developing.

Padre Island Project Updates

Packery Channel

Dredging of Packery Channel from the SH 361 Bridge through the jetties was cut short due to the beginning of the turtle season and stopped about 500 feet short of the mouth leaving a 24,000 cubic foot sand plug which has left the opening with a depth of about 6 (6-10 ft depending on where you are across channel) feet. The natural sand movement around the channel’s opening has changed since Hurricane Ike passed through in 2008 and the result is less scour (deeper region) at the mouth and the formation of a bypass bar just offshore of the mouth of the channel which may be either beneficial, by transferring sand around the channel mouth seasonally from side to side, or a problem depending on what happens this summer season.

Deidre Williams at the Conrad Blucher Institute at A&M Corpus Christi who monitors the channel for the city told the Island Strategic Action Committee Tuesday night the remaining shoal near the mouth (the shoal is inside the Entrance Channel NOT outside the channel) could be of benefit by blocking the entry of sand into the channel mouth directly from the Gulf.  The opportunity for sand to enter the mouth of the channel would be new for Packery. In the past the channel mouth was very shallow due to shoaling and the region around the mouth in the Gulf was very deep- the uphill climb clearly limiting sand entry from the Gulf. Should the plug of sand be removed, the channel mouth and nearshore would be nearly the same depth, possibly allowing for sand to enter  directly from the Gulf. However, she said if the sand begins to be impounded along the west side of the Entrance Channel shoal it could lead to the growth of the shoal and would need to be removed in the future. A survey will be conducted during July to determine if the Entrance Shoal is expanding enough to require removal or if it serves the channel better to leave the shoal for now as a protective measure.  Current plans call for a wait and see approach through the summer season.

She told the ISAC that since the premature opening of the channel by Hurricane Emily in 2005 the width of the channel at (-5 ft depth) inside the SH 361 Bridge has doubled in some sections due to water flow. Between 2006 and 2008 the channel widened at a rate of up to 34 ft/yr and since 2008 the width has increased by about 1.5 ft/yr. Most of the expansion has been on the east side of the channel in the tidal flats but some rest on the west side, where residences are located, have lost as much as 1-10 ft (Note for your information-20ft was only in the water- the navigable channel bank- —).

Williams said the beach on each side of the channel jetties has pushed seaward since the channel  pened increasing the width of the beach to about 500 feet nearest the jetties. The beach is afforded protection by the jetties an alongshore distance of 2,000 ft to the north, just past Turtle Cove development and 4,000 ft to the south, up to about the Holiday Inn. The sand from the recent dredging of the channel was placed from just south of the Holiday Inn to the south end of the seawall, the first major dredging since its opening in 2006. The beach has increased in width by 80-100 feet at the south end. She said the prevailing southeasterly wind is already moving some of that sand north where it will serve to increases the width of the beach from there to the South Packery Jetty.

Inside the channel a small portion of the Basin Shoal was left after dredging and is located near the entrance to Lake Padre which Williams said does not impede boat passage through the channel but if it persists may need to be marked with a buoy.  “The channel is healthy and hasn’t required a lot of maintenance,” Williams said. “That is not by happenstance but by design.” During planning, dredging was predicted at 1 to 3 year intervals but was not needed until 6 years after the channel opened, indicating a successfully designed inlet.

Park Road 22 Bridge

Permitting for the Park Road 22 Water Exchange Bridge is ongoing. Currently the city engineering  department is waiting on a decision form the Army Corp of Engineers about what the exact nature of the impact from the bridge will be. That determination will impact the bridge’s design which has been done but is contingent on the Corp’s decision. Once that decision has been made the city will push forward with the permitting process. A tentative start date for the bridge has been set for the end of 2012.

Gypsy Bridge repairs

Repairs to the underside of the bridge on Gypsy are complete and work is set to begin soon on the road surface which still has a metal plate to cover a pothole. The guardrail which was recently destroyed by a car has been replaced.  Street lights on the new Aquarius Extension The city engineering department has put in a request with AEP to install the lights. The  normal turnaround time for such projects is 4-12 months.  Improvements to Whitecap Water Treatment Plant We recently reported that the Whitewater Treatment Plant has exceeded state limits on bacteria in its outflow more than twenty times since 2009, in some cases as much as 27,000% over the allowable limits. The cure for the problem is a Ultraviolet Light treatment process that is expected to cost between $3-$5 million and will not be installed until at least 2014. In the meantime the city is looking for other ways to stop the problem in the interim which may be cheaper than the UV system to install but will be more expensive to operate.

Restrooms along Packery Channel

The city has placed a portable restroom at the parking lot north of the Packery where street lights are soon to be installed. Plans to build a permanent restroom there are on hold until new FEMA maps are released later this year which may change the designation of the area’s vulnerability to flooding and ease restrictions on the design requirements for the structure and reduce the cost. The original estimated cost of the restrooms was placed at $1.4 million but ISAC members declined to approve payment at that amount from the Island Tax Increment Finance fund. A similar restroom facility on Corpus Christi Beach was put out to bids and the price came back at over $600,000 due to the Americans with Disabilities Act which requires a ramp to reach the facility which must be at least nine feet above ground level. If the area around Packery Channel is rezoned in the new FEMA maps that requirement may not be necessary.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort

Developer Paul Schexnailder told ISAC members in their Tuesday meeting that the park’s developers now have a term sheet in hand from lenders, meaning that negotiations on financing for the park are nearing completion.  “We’re moving forward,” he said. “We will be doing work on the site in August but not turning dirt. There is still much work to be done on permitting before we start digging.” He said the previously stated schedule for the $524 million dollar park and development that calls for it to be open by next summer is still in place, “at this moment.”

Article by Dale Rankin – Padre Island Moon

SCHLITTERBAHN Corpus Christi Incentive Package Announced!

Latest NEWS May 22, 2012 –

CITY Council Unanimously Votes in Favor of Incentive Package!!

The 2 Items remaining before the Project will begin is Contract Signings and Private Financing to begin breaking ground by June 2012.

Stay Tuned….As we will continue to Update you on the Status of the Island’s First MAJOR Project!!

117 Million Dollar Incentive Package Revealed at Latest City Council Meeting:

VOTE WILL BE FINALIZED at the Council Meeting on May 22nd, 2012.

NEW MAP Laying out DISTRICTS for the proposed Island Development (CLICK HERE)

REVISED PROPOSED TAX INCENTIVES: (CLICK HERE For the Legal Document Layout out the incentives)

SCHLITTERBAHN Corpus Christi – Performance Based Incentive Plan (PDF-CLICK HERE)

CITY COUNCIL answers all the citizens Questions and Concerns (FAQ’s CLICK HERE)

PROPOSED TAX INCENTIVES:

Economic development sales tax: $5 million

Property tax: $20.6 million

Waived development fees: $1.4 million

City sales taxes: $11.5 million

Hotel occupancy tax: $78 million

Local construction tax: $699,000

Total: $117 million

Source: City of Corpus Christi

BY THE NUMBERS:

2 years of Schlitterbahn construction on North Padre Island.

Number of Jobs Created Locally – 40 full-time and 300 part-time Employees Recruited.

400 -Feet in the buffer zone between Schlitterbahn and property line neighborhoods.

25 years – Terms of agreement

18 years – Expected resort project build-out

574 Total acreage for entire Resort Project

$117 million -Public investment

$552 million – Private investment

Source: City of Corpus Christi

North Padre Island Local Beach Scene

North Padre Island, just off the coast of Corpus Christi is a barrier island off the coast of Texas. With mild winters and the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico as a playground, residents and visitors alike enjoy a laid-back beach lifestyle with a whole lot of Texas attitude.

The crown jewel of the area is the Padre Island National Seashore, is 70 miles of beach and protected shoreline designated as a US Park. Unspoiled and pristine dunes are home to more than 380 varieties of migratory birds, and wildlife abounds. As a barrier island, the West side is bordered by the Laguna Madre. The Laguna Madre, which is Spanish for “Mother Lagoon,” is home to a beautiful diversity in wildlife, vegetation, and unique habitats. With steady winds and mild weather, the Laguna Madre is a favorite spot for windsurfers and parasurfers alike. Fisherman enjoy a protected launch from Bird Island Basin, with ample parking for boats and trailers. The east side of the island is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, with sand beaches and miles of shells.

 

North Padre Island National Seashore PINSVisitors enjoy the Malaquite Visitors Center, open year round offering great educational opportunities for visitors about the history of the area, and it’s most significant concern, the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, the most endangered sea turtle species in the world, which nests on the beach from late April through mid-July.The National Seashore is also one of the few places people can see newly hatched Kemp’s ridleys released into the wild. Vehicle access to Malaquite Beach is limited on PINS, so plan a short walk from the Visitors Center down a boardwalk to enjoy the main beach. Vehicle access is available on PINS “North Beach” – but 4×4 vehicles are generally suggested. With a small fee to enter the park, paid either annually or as a day-pass, crowds to PINS are generally less than the open beaches of Padre Island. A beach parking sticker is required for the main beaches on Padre Island, which include those near Bob Hall Pier, at the Seawall, next to Packery Channel, and into Mustang Island and Port Aransas.

 

Surfing is a popular pastime on the Island, with a few shops that rent and sell equipment, and even provide lessons. Whatever beach you choose to visit, be sure that you adhere to a few simple rules. First, be sure and have a parking sticker; fines are as much as $250 if you’re ticketed. No glass is allowed on any beach areas and open fires (bonfires) are subject to seasonal bans – be sure and plan in advance. Lifeguard stations are also seasonal with hours that vary from week to week. Be sure and check the boards as you enter the beach for specific information. Driving on the beach is allowed, but be sure and obey all traffic signs and speed limits and watch out for pedestrians!
We think you’ll agree, North Padre Island has some of the most accessible, natural and friendly beaches anywhere in the world. Come Coast Awhile!

 

Top Restaurant Picks for “The Island”

North Padre Island’s proximity to the Gulf Coast is often cited as one of the reasons for moving. The affordable homes, mild temperatures, local school choices and active lifestyles are just a few of the reasons why more families are choosing “The Island” as their full-time home.

Dining choices on North Padre Island and the surrounding communities are just as pleasing, with something sure to please everyone. Here are a few of our favorites:

Dragonfly – Dragonfly would certainly be right at home on any street in the South of France. Locals and visitors to Upper Padre Island alike are delighted that Chef Dominique and his staff offer fresh, local cuisine with a decidedly International flair. Try the Tomato Basil Soup or any of the salads – they’re well-loved favorites and don’t skip the Creme Brulee for dessert. Hours vary depending on the season and specials change daily – but they’re always amazing.

Curacao Blues – Dragonfly’s little sister is all grown up. Serving tapas (small plates) of similarly prepared deliciousness, Curacao Blues also offers an eclectic beer and wine selection, and added “family-style” seating.

Snoopy’s – The local fresh-fish joint. Counter service and cash-only make this place an efficient haven for great fish and chips, oysters, shrimp and sides. It needs to be efficient – it’s very often the busiest place on the Island, with the best view of the sunset over the Laguna Madre. Everything is battered and cooked to order so be prepared for a short wait, but it’s definitely worth it. In the summer be sure to visit “Scoopy’s” next door for ice cream!

Doc’s – Next door to Snoopy’s is the fine dining choice, Doc’s. A full bar, weekend entertainment, hand-cut steaks and innovative seafood selections keep Doc’s patrons coming back week after week. Try the stuffed flounder – trust us, you’ll have enough for the next day’s lunch, and the freshly prepared and never frozen seafood stuffing is sublime.

Padre Pizzeria – Islanders know that they’ve got it pretty great when it comes to pizza. Locally owned Padre Pizzeria is gourmet pizza through and through. Hand tossed crust, fresh ingredients, perfect spices… and they deliver, too! Nothing beats an Amore Roma, with a caesar salad after the long 15 minute commute home from work.

Sushi Bar – We all wondered if Islanders would embrace a gorgeous, upscale sushi bar here on Upper Padre Island – after all, being a fishing village of sorts, most of us think of sushi as bait! We’re all delighted that Sushi Bar is now world-famous for the freshest, most flavorful rolls, as well as the perfect presentation and taste – and we’re proud that they’ve help put Upper Padre Island on the culinary map.

North Padre Island offers locals and visitors a wide variety of dining choices – these are just a few of our favorites. If you have a favorite tell us about it in the comments!

Writer: Chelle Honiker-Yarbrough