(Orange, Texas)

January 10, 2013

Orange Council OKs improvements

Mike Louviere
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Within the next 60 days the city of Orange will have made major improvements to the city.

City officials are undertaking the demolition of 30 houses that are vacant and have become eyesores to Orange.

Jimmie Lewis, City Planning Director, reported to the Orange City Council on Tuesday that he city has federal grant money to pay for the demolition of houses that have been neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair. Some of the houses were damaged in Hurricane Ike’s destruction and have never been repaired. There are a total of 45-50 houses that are being taken through the necessary legal steps to allow the city to demolish them.

The city will also use grant money to make improvements to streets in East Orange that were damaged by the flooding from Hurricane Ike. The council accepted the recommendation of the engineering firm of Schaumberg & Polk, Inc. to award the contract to APAC-Texas for the work to be done under the East Orange Street Improvements Project. The council voted to allow City Manager Shawn Oubre to negotiate the details and execute the contract.

Improvements to the Cooper’s Gully pump station have been on the list of needed improvements for the city.

Public Works Director Jim Wolf reported that he is ready to go forward and begin the needed improvements. The city has used Carroll & Blackman, Inc. as the consultant to recommend the contractors for the project. Pump & Power Equipment, LLC was recommended to provide the pumps for the project.

A major upgrade is needed in the ability to remove trash from the pump station. The trash removal system now in use is a chain operated boom-type rake that can be dangerous to operate.

A newer system is a moveable trash rake that rakes the trash out of the water and deposits it onto a conveyor belt that deposits the material into a dumpster box for removal from the site.

Wolf reported that the trash rake is the same type that is currently being used by Drainage District 7.

“The system has worked well for DD7,” Wolf said. “They have used it with great success. They have also used the same company to provide the rake, as well as the pumps that we are planning to use. We need to improve the raking system for efficiency, but more importantly for safety. The old chain driven system can be dangerous, and we have been luck that no one has been injured.

“The Cooper’s Gully project is a three part project. The first part is to get the pumping equipment, the second is the trash rake, and the third is the installation of the pumps and rake. We should be able to get everything done by the end of the year.”

The cost for the street improvements and the Cooper’s Gully pump station improvements will be about $3 million.