(Orange, Texas)

June 12, 2013

County improving water safety

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Swimmers safety and complaints from boaters has the Orange County Commissioners discussing passing an ordinance regulating swimming in and around the public boat ramp located on Highway 87 under the bridge in Bridge City.

“This is something that we have discussed in the past,” Assistant County Attorney Douglas E. Manning said during the 2 p.m. meeting. “I found an ordinance I drafted last fall. It was not passed but we should look again at this issue.”

Texas Game Warden Phillip LeDoux and County Commissioner Pct. 3 John Banken have received complaints concerning the swimming activity in the waters at that location.

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said the boaters have the right of way there and swimmers are not respecting the boats.

“We have had many complaints from the boaters and residents,” LeDoux said. “I don’t want the call that a swimmer was hit by a trailer or a boat.”

If an ordinance is passed to prevent swimming within 500 feet of the bridge, Game Wardens, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Bridge City Police Department could issue a ticket to those found swimming in the area.

A public hearing for citizens comments concerning the matter will be at 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Orange County Commissioners Courtroom located at 123 South 6th Street in Orange.

The court also considered the possibility of accepting a donation of 20 feet of land along a section of Russell Road. A Donation Special Warranty Deed would need to be drawn up and the court would still need to approve it.

A land-owner wants to donate the land to the county for widening the road sometime in the future,

“It is a wise future move,” Thibodeaux said. “But we don’t want to be obligated right now.”

County Engineer Clark Slacum was given authority to move forward but will need to return to the court for final approval.

Manning said this is not the first time land has been donated to the county.

“Land has been donated as a gift three to four times over  the last 15 years,” Manning said.