The City of Corpus Christi is closer to resolving eminent domain proceedings against two property owners for renovations to a relief route in Calallen after reaching an agreement with one of the parties.
Sonny Garza, the city's real estate acquisition manager, said the six individuals comprising the estate of the late Albert Stuchly signed a sale contract for .812 acres, or 35,370 square feet, of land adjacent to County Road 52.
The agreement, which must still be approved by the Corpus Christi City Council, would require the city to pay the estate $89,500 for the land.
The city had filed two lawsuits against Calallen resident Steven Hook and the Stuchly estate in early February. The estate opted to settle theirs out of court, Garza said, while Hook opted for a condemnation hearing before three special commissioners appointed by County Court-at-Law No. 4 Judge James Klager.
That hearing took place on March 9, with the commissioners awarding $15,000 to Hook for the .239 acres, or 10,410 square feet, of property the city was seeking.
Garza said the city is waiting to see whether Hook files an appeal to the ruling, but added the city might move forward with seeking a final judgment from Klager sometime this week in order to close the acquisition process.
The sale contract with the Stuchly estate will be presented to the Corpus Christi City Council at their April 12 meeting Garza said.
The city has been trying to widen and improve County Road 52 for years, as it serves as an alternate route for drivers looking to avoid congestion near the intersection of Northwest Boulevard and U.S. Highway 77.
The city and Nueces County have both allocated $1.2 million for the project, bringing the total budget to $2.4 million.
Design work has already been completed, with adjustments being made to address a drainage issue discovered by city engineers, city officials have said.
Other landowners along the project site have already donated their land to the city at no cost, and the two remaining tracts being sought by the city are at or near the corner of Highway 77 and County Road 52. Plans call for County Road 52 to be turned into a two-lane road with a wider and flatter surface that may incorporate shoulders and a turning lane.
County and city officials have said the idea is to improve the road and increase traffic counts to the point that federal funding may become available for completing the project and turning it into a five-lane arterial roadway capable of better relieving traffic congestion along Northwest Boulevard, as original plans had proposed.