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City Officials Face Recall Over Aquatic Facility Support

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Corpus Christi Caller-Times

 

ALICE — Two Alice City Council members face a recall election following their support of plans to reopen a portion of the city's cash-strapped natatorium and water park.

In affidavits filed recently at City Hall, council members Elida Garza and Yolanda Moran are accused of acting with "incompetence, misconduct or malfeasance" when they voted May 25 to reopen the shuttered $22 million facility.

The issue for recall organizers Cindy Loera and Randal Dickens is Garza and Moran moved too hastily; it's alleged they favored opening the natatorium's doors without knowing key financial information, including the operating costs, where the funds would come from or changing the budget to cover the expenses.

Attempts to reach Garza and Moran were unsuccessful this week.

City Clerk Diana spent much of the week verifying 261 signatures that were submitted June 16 on a recall petition to Alice City Hall. A minimum of 113 signatures, representing 5 percent of the turnout from the previous election, need to be validated to force a recall referendum on each candidate.

City officials announced on Alice Parks and Recreation webpage the facility would be open Thursday through Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.

The facility and whether its doors are open have been sources of deep frustration in Alice since the first shovels of dirt were overturned for the project in 2012.

At that time, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Weatherford International and scores of other energy companies dotted the city, fueled by seemingly endless prosperity from the Eagle Ford Shale energy play.

Then things changed. Dramatically.

Crude oil prices sputtered while the water park, near state Highway 44 and the U.S. 281 bypass, was under construction.

Energy companies began shedding jobs, or closing altogether.

What started as a $12 million project had swelled to $22 million by the time the facility opened June 2016.

The City Council voted unanimously on Dec. 14 to "suspend aquatic operations" at the $22 million water park, saying it had become too expensive to operate. An ad hoc committee disputes claims it was losing money, and argues it was closed before it had a chance to reach its potential.

Admission to the outdoor water park is $8, and $5 to get in for recreational swimming at the natatorium. The fees do not include tax.

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June 24, 2017
 
 
 

 

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