Orange Council approves Rec Center

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, December 5, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Orange Council had to make a decision Tuesday night on what projects they would like to pursue after discussing several for years.

Each project was presented as well as a proposed cost and operating expenses, if required for the project.

The final projects selected were Street Improvement, a Recreational Center, a Boat Ramp Pavilion, a new Firetruck and Streetscape.

“This is monumental,” Orange Mayor Larry Spears Jr. said.

Spears spoke during the meeting and said he has heard many times how people wanted something for the younger generation to do.

“Everyone I know has said our children need something to do,” Spears said. “The pool at the Natatorium is dilapidated, and we had trouble finding lifeguards so we could even open it. But the building is in good shape. Our response is to create a state of the art rec center.”

The cost to repurpose the building is $3,000,000 with a proposed operating expense of $311,200 a year.

“The pool would need t be filled in, but the building has wonderful elevation,” Architect Rob Clark said as he spoke on how he determined a budget for the project. “It will also meet UIL requirements for events.”

The budget also included adding an area for showers for first responders during an emergency setting, a secured pass to enter to create a safe haven for children as well as expanding the parking lot.

Spears added the facility would also add a place to hold birthday parties and would create jobs.

“We also want to work with churches and schools to start a Big Brother/Big Sister program,” Spears said. “This gives our children hope for a better future.”

Read more in the Weekend edition of The Orange Leader