Council to host public forums on proposed sports complex

Published 11:53 am Friday, June 1, 2018

By Krista Chandler
The Orange Leader


Orange City Council is expected to hold several public workshops in the future in an effort to work with the community on a proposed multimillion-dollar sports complex project for the next fiscal year.

In a workshop Thursday morning, the council agreed to move forward with the projected $12.3 million complex, but would like to collaborate with the public before making any final plans.

“That is such an important project for us, that before we try to rush something and throw something together, let’s all work together as a city, as a council, as a community and staff,” said Mayor Larry Spears Jr.

“Let’s do this the right way,” Spears added. “Let’s not rush it; let’s be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers’ money.”

The council agreed to reach out to the community as well as local sports entities such as football, soccer, baseball and softball leagues to regroup and involve the public before pushing forward.

The council agreed to try to host several public forums to hear opinions and suggestions on the proposed sports complex during the daytime and evening so that residents of Orange will have ample opportunity to speak up and work with the council.

Dates and times for the public forums have not been decided yet.

City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre explained that previous councils had decided the location for the proposed project was “to be determined,” since construction at the Riverside location would significantly increase the cost.

The project would cost around $7 million, plus an additional estimated $5.2 million to construct it at the Riverside location “just in dirt work,” which would involve clearing and raising the land to an acceptable elevation, according to Oubre.

“In comparison, the feasibility of developing at Riverside for something like this is going to be a very costly endeavor, and there’s cheaper alternatives if that’s the direction we decide,” Oubre said.

Previous council discussions of the new sports complex revealed that it would house nine youth football fields, one adult football field, one adult soccer field, 12 youth soccer fields, a splash pad, four baseball fields and four softball fields.

The parking area would hold approximately 1,000 cars.

Road improvements, pavilion project in the works for Orange