Orange Council approves Rec Center

Published 8:24 pm Saturday, December 8, 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, f 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.

Funding for the projects will come from the Sell of Debts. The city made the final payment for debt bonds during the current fiscal year.

“We are limited to our current debt capacity of $10 million,” Interim City Manager Kevin Knauf said. “We have a current Debt Rate of .10412 which is low for a city our size. $8 million was calculated for these projects.”

If the $8million bond is approved, it would increase the taxes on a home valued at $100,000 by .27 cents a month. (see tax impact charts 1, 2 )

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.”

Street improvement is for 18 roads in various areas of the city. Proposed costs for the project is $4,001,660.

Council member Annette Pernell asked if the roads had been selected before Harvey.

“With the water from Harvey, the roads could show damage down the road,” Pernell said.

Director of Public Works and Engineering Department James B. “Jim” Wolf said the streets were selected due to working off a five-year plan.

The roads selected are:

10, 000 feet of Bob Hall Road from Cordrey to Allie Payne

2,400 feet of Clark Lane

4,170 feet of 37th Street from Strickland Drive to Lilac

8,550 feet of Tulane Road from 37th Street to end of Orange City Limits

1,770 feet of Dawnwood Drive from State Hwy. 87

3,540 feet of Beagle Road

9,520 feet of Allie Payne Road from Meeks Drive to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

1,380 feet of Masonic Drive between Edgar Brown Drive and 37th Street

1,620 feet of Enner Road

3,300 feet of Meeks Drive from Allie Payne Road to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

2,300 feet of Dorman Road

830 feet of Carrie Street

1,180 feet of Luther Drive

440 feet of 27th Street from Service Road to Eddleman Road

800 feet of Cochran Street

312 feet of Main Ave.

8,670 feet of Womack Road.

Plans to repair West Bluff Road are still underway but will be funded by other funding.

A pavilion at the City of Orange Boat Ramp is a project, which the council had discussed during the 2016/2017 fiscal year budget talks.

Councilmember Patrick Pullen requested the project include 3-phase electrical as well.

“One of the reasons the carnival could not move to the Boat Ramp is because of the electrical,” Pullen said. “I believe they need it for the rides.”

Wolf said 3-phase electrical was built into the project.

Orange Fire Chief David Frenzel said the current Fire Truck Engine 7 was costing the city approximately $50,000 a year to keep it on the road.

“It is suggested we replace the trucks every 10 years, this one is 19 years old,” Frenzel said. “Parts are no longer available for it. It has outlived its life.”

Not replacing the truck could cause an impact on the city’s ISO (Insurance rating).

“Our ISO is the lowest it will ever be and we just got it in June or July,” Frenzel said.

The rating affects how much business and homeowners are charged for insurance when it is renewed.

“The one change we will make to the firetruck when we order it has the intake and outtake higher so it can be used in high waters,” Frenzel said.

From the time the order is placed for the truck to final delivery can take one year.

The truck will cost $550,000. Frenzel budgeted $600,000 for contingents.

Councilwoman Terrie Salter said the council should not lose its focus on 16th Street.

“Streetscape will make the area more attractive,” Salter said. “We come so far on working on 16th Street.”

Funding for landscaping and other beautification projects along 16th Street will also come from the funds.