LIGHT APPROVED AT INTERSECTION OF AQUARIUS AND SPID

LED_traffic_lightSTOP! Or, you soon will be! On August 18th, a traffic light at the intersection of Aquarius and SPID was approved by the City Council.

After years of monitoring the intersection, results showed a daily average of over 33,000 vehicles during the summer months of 2012, and that number has continued to increase over the years. And on other parts of our barrier island, such as Galveston and South Padre Island, the speed limit is much slower going through their business districts.

Drivers coming over the JFK Causeway toward the island will be given a warning to the upcoming light when the traffic is backing up to the high peak of the bridge. This is meant to decrease the likelihood of collisions with the cars that are stopped at the light. There have been numerous attempts over the years to place this light, but the short distance between the intersection and the top of the JFK has been a reason for several failures to get the appropriate approval. But, city traffic engineers have done their due diligence and have given it the thumbs up.

Word on “the street” is that Turner-Busby Development, based in San Antonio, is looking to use the site on the east side of SPID near the intersection of SPID and Aquarius Street for a development called Packery Pointe Subdivision. This traffic light is simply part of their plan, and is set to be coordinated with the other lights along SPID. The light may cost up to $600,000, and will provide a convenient physical stop for vehicles to turn into this new development.

Turner Busby Development has apparently been working on the plans for the $30 million development for a few years. It will likely include a hotel, retail sites, Starbucks, small bar/restaurant, and even possibly some single family homes.  Now that Schlitterbahn is in full swing, it sounds as though the developer is more confident in beginning the project.

But, change is often met with opposition, as many residents are weary to the whole thing. The main concern seems to be that the signal could cause large traffic backups, and the new development with its possible chain restaurant(s) and commonality feel will ruin the quaint, quiet, and familiar island feeling.

Hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

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.

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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.

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

Design Plans for Island Water Exchange Bridge Takes Major Step Forward!

Design plans for the proposed Park Road 22/SPID Water Exchange Bridge will move forward before final decision is made on permitting by the Texas Department of Transportation, which means work on the bridge could begin much earlier than expected.

Until last week City Engineers did not plan to begin final design work on the $8.1 million bridge until the TxDot ruling on permitting which is not expected until at least the fall of 2013; this meant that final design of the bridge could not possibly be done until well into 2014, delaying the bridge’s construction and causing potential delays in the digging of the proposed IslandWalk Canal to connect the Schlitterbahn waterpark to amenities including a marina, on the east side of the highway.

That logjam was resolved last Friday when City Manager Ron Olson directed the city engineering staff to proceed with the detail
design of the bridge while awaiting the ruling from TxDot on permitting, which is expected within the next month and will likely be
followed by a public hearing.  Olson’s move clears the way for work on the canals to begin much earlier.  Under his existing permits developer Paul Schexnailder must build water exchange culverts under the roadway connecting the new canal on the west side of the
road to Lake Padre on the east.  However, last year the Corpus Christi City Council approved the use of $8.1 million in bond money to instead replace the culverts with the bridge which would allow for boats to pass underneath as well as pedestrian and golf cart paths.

The current design would allow for water passage through a six-foot deep channel and would include walking and cart paths on each
side along with about a 14-foot clearance from water level to the bridge for boat passage. It would take about one year to complete and
during most of that time traffic on SPID would be reduced to one lane each way As the city moves forward with the final design of the bridge all required permit work is proceeding on the IslandWalk Canal.

by Dale Rankin Island Moon Newspaper

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.

IMPORTANT NEWS FROM PADRE ISLES POA

UPCOMING ROAD CLOSURES ON WHITECAP

Improvements are being made to equipment at a waste water lift station.  Existing equipment was installed in 1974 and is approaching its useful service life, resulting in multiple repairs in the past year.  The improvements will restore the structural integrity of the line, which should last approximately 50 years.

Phase 1 – Monday, July 23 for approximately 1 week

Eastbound Whitecap traffic will be reduced to one lane as the left lane between

Gypsy and Cruiser will be closed for pipe welding and site preparation.

Phase 2 – Monday, July 30 for approximately 1 week

Eastbound traffic on Whitecap will be shifted onto the westbound lanes between

Cruiser and Barataria.  Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction.

WINDSTORM INSURANCE

You may have read the various articles regarding proposed legislation from the Texas Department of Insurance to divide the fourteen coastal counties based on proximity to the Gulf.   A surcharge to all insurance rates (Windstorm, homeowner policies, automobile policies, boats and RV policies) would cost Island property owners the most, and increase in lesser increments the farther inland you go.

Right now the 14 coastal counties are treated differently than the other 240 counties in Texas.  In the other counties, wind and hail are included in their homeowner’s policy.  It is only in the 14 coastal counties that we have separate windstorm and hail insurance in addition to a homeowner policy which specifically excludes wind and hail.

The other counties have their share of wild fires as well as wind and hail damage. Hurricanes are not the only potential disaster for Texas. We are all Texans and should all be treated equally. The Texas Department of Insurance should develop an equitable and reasonable statewide funding formula that does not target and discriminate against the fourteen coastal counties.

A task force has been created and our local Legislators, Representatives Todd Hunter and Senator Hinojosa are on top of this.  It is time to fix the windstorm insurance problem in Texas.

If you would like to write letters to State officials to ask for this fair and equitable funding formula, please contact our office for addresses or a sample letter.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS:

NO BOARD MEETING FOR JULY – NEXT ONE WILL BE AUGUST 28

LITTER CRITTER WILL BE IN THE POA PARKING LOT ON SATURDAY – JULY 28