Corpus Christi: Lamar Park
The neighborhood was first created and subdivided in 1947 by the late Corpus Christi architect Frank T. Peerman and W.R. Reid, according to newspaper reports.
Almost 70 years later, it endures as a well-kept subdivision full of three and four-bedroom homes with gently curving streets and wide canopies of trees. In fact, many of the adults who grew up there as children in the 1950s and 1960s have returned there as adults to live and raise their own families, said Mary Crain, who has lived in her home on Dolphin Place since 1992.
The house, built in 1954, was a good location for her three children, who attended the nearby St. Patrick School, and for her husband, who worked downtown, she said. She and her husband raised their children there and still love the neighborhood.
“Now that the kids are gone, the house is still a good size for the two of us,” she said. She says Lamar Park has a close community feel and that she knows most of her neighbors. The neighborhood is roughly bordered by Alameda, Santa Fe, Doddridge, and Carmel Parkway, and it is a convenient location for someone who works downtown.
Lamar Park, a park owned by the city, is a great place for young children to play, she said. And the 1950s-era shopping center of the same name has been renovated with plenty of upscale shops. Santa Fe Swimming Club, a private club which opened in 1958, has many members from other neighborhoods, but a large number of Lamar Park residents belong.
The neighborhood has become a mixture of old and new.
Southside: The Lakes
The first homes in The Lakes subdivision, on Corpus Christi’s southside, were built in the 1980s, said Mikki Spruce, who has managed both homeowners’ associations there for 16 years.
There are over 600 homes in the community, which is roughly bounded by the southern parts of Everhart and Weber Roads, and a portion of Yorktown Boulevard to the south. Many of the homes are built on a series of manmade lakes within the subdivision, where residents can enjoy kayaking and paddle boating if they wish. And there are walking paths and green space which surround the lakes, along with a pool and tennis courts for residents.
“What most people really like about The Lakes is that it is a restricted covenant community,” she said. That means homeowners must keep their property maintained, and an architectural committee must approve any changes to the appearance of the homes, Spruce explained. “In this way, we are able to maintain property values better,” she added.
Scott Lisk is the Vice President of one homeowner’s association for The Lakes, and he and his family have lived on Grand Lake Drive for 10 years. His home was built in 1986, he said. He lives across the street from one of the lakes and uses it often for kayaking.
Lisk also says that homeowners take good care of their property and rarely have to be asked to do so.
What the future holds for the area is anyone’s guess. Weber Road has now been widened into a four-lane road, extending south, past Yorktown Boulevard. Texas Department of Transportation Spokesman Rickey Dailey said the extension of the Crosstown Expressway, which will intersect with Weber Road, will be complete in about 2 ½ years.
The Island: Point Tesoro Subdivision, Douden Park
Back in 1965, a master-planned, water-oriented recreational community began development on North Padre Island, according to the Padre Isles Property Owners Association. Back then, 8,950 commercial and residential sites were planned.
Today, there are over 5,400 lots completed, with 3,080 single-family lots and 2,000 plus multi-family units. Subdivisions included in property owners association include Point Tesoro and Douden Park, as well as Island Fairway Estates and Barataria Bay. Stan Hulse, Vice President of the Padre Isles Property Owners Association, said there are 20 subdivisions included in all.
“We are the largest property owner association in Texas with 32 linear miles in waterfront,” he said. Hulse, who lives in the Point Tesoro subdivision, said he loves the proximity to the water.
“I always have the feeling that my home is truly a sanctuary. When I cross the bridge, I have that feeling that I am going away on vacation,” he said, referring to the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway.
He and his family enjoy the camaraderie there among the neighbors, and he said it’s hard to tell where one subdivision ends and the next one begins. “There is a mixture of people. Some are professionals, some are blue collar workers, and some are first-time homebuyers,” Hulse said, adding that there are plenty of retirees on the Island.
The property owners association watches out for the homeowners without being too punitive, Hulse said.
Another homeowner, J.R. Miller, lives near Douden Park on the Island, and said he and his family have lived in six different subdivisions there.
One special amenity of Douden Park is its community garden, started in 2011. It was the first community garden in Corpus Christi using park land. Residents come together to garden on their own reserved 10-by-15-foot plot. The garden brings the community members together and offers a beautiful and fruitful place to walk, chat, and grow.
Hulse said the whole island is enjoying a building boom, and that empty lots throughout are expected to be developed. “Last year, about 60 home permits were issued each month,” Hulse said.
Portland: The Dunes
It’s called “The Dunes” by the locals in Portland, but the official name for the community is the East Cliff neighborhood.
The people who live there call it a close community and a fun place to live. The East Cliff neighborhood is bordered by Highway 181, Sunset Lake, Corpus Christi Bay and San Saba Drive with East Cliff Elementary at the heart of the neighborhood. It’s the first stop off of the Harbor Bridge.
Mary Ann Dorminy, who taught at the school from 1972 to 1992, has lived there on Sabine Street since 1971. She and her husband moved in shortly after Hurricane Celia hit the area in 1970, and haven’t looked back since. Although Portland was established in 1890, the East Cliff neighborhood formed in the 1950s and 1960s, according to newspaper reports.
Dorminy raised four children there with her husband. She lives close enough to East Cliff Elementary School, where she taught third and fifth grade social studies, to have walked. The community has grown a great deal since she moved there, she said.
The city of about 15,000 people has indeed enjoyed a building and economic boom during the last few years, with about a dozen industrial plants around the Port of Corpus Christi set to be complete within the next three years. About half of those are set to be functional in the next few years. And Portland recently annexed about 1,826 acres north of the city, possibly for more housing.
Rockport: Key Allegro
Living in Key Allegro has been a family tradition for Dave Foster for most of his life. It started back in 1974 when he came to the Rockport community during the summer with his parents as a youth, and has continued into his adult life, with his own wife and daughter.
Foster, who is the incoming president of the homeowner’s association there, lives in Dallas most of the year, but the house in Key Allegro serves as a second home for him and his family.
“I love the relaxed atmosphere and we have some amazing friends,” said Foster, who commutes to the area from Dallas during the summer.
Carl C. Krueger Jr. purchased the island in 1962, along with some investors, for $65,000, according to the Key Allegro Canal and Property Owners website. The popular development grew steadily, and what started as a resort area with weekend homes grew into an affluent community.
Extensive construction continued throughout the 1970s, and by the mid-1980s, Key Allegro reported an estimated population of 600. Foster said his parents helped build the area in the 1960s, and there are not many lots left on which to build.