Road improvements, pavilion project in the works for Orange

Published 11:54 am Friday, June 1, 2018

By Krista Chandler

The Orange Leader


Orange City Council agreed to move forward to borrow money for a street improvement project, as well as a proposed covered pavilion and boat ramp project off Simmons Drive, in a workshop Thursday morning.

Funding for the projects would come from general obligation bonds or certificates of obligation. The street project would total approximately $4 million, while the pavilion would be expected to cost no more than $8 million.

City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre described the street project proposal in two phases for the council after the city identified a list of 18 streets that need repair.

The first phase identified approximately $3 million worth of work on 10 roads, and designated another eight roads in need of repair totaling another $1 million for a second phase given there is money left over from the first phase.

Director of Public Works Jim Wolf told the council that this would be an opportunity to catch up with work on main arteries and thoroughfares, feeder roads and streets that the public utilizes often within the city.

A covered pavilion with a stage and boat ramp off Simmons Drive will also be in the works in the near future, as the council agreed to borrow money to move forward with the project that has been in discussions in recent budget meetings.

A total cost estimate on the project has not yet been made, but should not be more than the $8 million the council had previously agreed on for the project.

Councilmembers agreed that the Simmons Drive pavilion and boat launch would be a positive way to bring the community together for fun events, and also for families to utilize the new space.

Councilmember Bill Mello drew up preliminary plans for the pavilion with the boat ramp, explaining to the council that the city has lost out on some Bassmaster fishing tournaments and revenue because there wasn’t space for the competitions.

The council agreed Thursday morning to not pay an architect to draw up preliminary plans, but agreed on a 12,500 square foot metal pavilion design that should be able to be expanded in the future.

The pavilion would include a concrete floor and a stage, but no sound system or lighting. Public bathrooms on the site are still up for debate.

Oubre said he would come back to the council with proposals and designs for the pavilion in the near future.

The council also discussed ways to get citizens of Orange more involved with the decisions made in the city.

Councilmember Annette Pernell said she’d like the city to come up with a mission, or vision, statement when it comes to budget decisions to involve citizens in the decision making processes and encourage those who don’t always have the opportunity to make their voices heard in the city to speak up.

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