BRIDGE CITY —
The City of Orange experienced wide-spread damage from Hurricane Ike’s monstrous storm surge as well on Sept. 13, 2008. Residents in the Cove and along the east side of Orange, which were unable to evacuate, waited anxiously to be rescued by emergency personnel.
Businesses and key components of the city, such as the Port of Orange, also sustained heavy damage which took weeks, and in some cases, months to recover. Five years later, things are definitely look brighter in Orange.
“It is hard to imagine we are where we are today after the devastation that came from Hurricane Ike,” said Mayor Jimmy Sims. “The city is in as good of shape now as it ever has been. I’ve got to give credit to Mayor Brown Claybar and the city council during that time for reacting so quickly, which allowed us to bounce back to where we are today.”
The City of Orange resumed its downtown revitalization project which is all but complete now and features several new features which will only add to the quality of life for Orange-area residents, including the beautiful Orange Boardwalk and Riverfront Pavilion which stretches from Front Street across from Lamar State College-Orange all the way to Sixth Street by the Orange County Courthouse Annex Building along the Sabine River.
A senior citizen center and the Orange County Action Association (Meals on Wheels) have also become an integral part of downtown.
“We want downtown Orange to continue to grow and have events and functions that will bring people to town, hopefully on a monthly basis,” Sims added. “It really is such a nice place to go and relax. And we are not done yet. We want to continue to improve and grow and make the City of Orange a place people want to come to and see what we have to offer.”
Population figures currently have a total of 18,543 residents in the city of Orange, according to Sims. It represents a small increase following a decline from the hurricane.
“There were a lot of people that did not come back after the storm,” Sims explained. “But we have been seeing a small increase lately, and the (West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent) school district has shown an increase in enrollment this school year for the first time in years. That’s a good indicator of growth.”