More improvements in the works for Orange

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


As the city of Orange moves forward with Community Development Block Grant- Disaster Recovery funds received from the Texas General Land Office, citizens are being asked to voice their opinion during the citizen comment stage of the application.

The City has identified several areas for applying the funds, which must be used on infrastructure projects. The areas are:

  • Coopers Gully Lining Phase II
  • Regional Sewer Lift Station
  • Fire Truck designed to traverse floodwaters
  • Radio Tower
  • Community/Recreational Center
  • Demolition of Cove School
  • Updated City Master Plan
  • Acquisition/Buyouts
  • Water Tower Rehabilitation
  • Box Culvert Construction
  • Sluice Gates

The public hearing held Tuesday morning was the initial component of public participation in the projects.

The deadline for citizen’s comments is January 2, 2019. Although an extension is possible, it is not guaranteed.

The city has been awarded $7,922,687.25

“What is the point if the projects have already been decided,” Council member Annette Pernell said.

“To see what projects the citizens want,” Deputy Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director Lee Anne Brown said. “They could say no and would rather the money be used here. It has to be on infrastructure.”

A link for citizens comments will be on the City of Orange official website.

Brown also added staff is currently working on estimates for the costs of each project.

“We want to give as much opportunity for public comment,” Brown said.

“This is an example of how citizens can really drive a project”

Sandra Wilson, grant planner

The deadline for applying for the funds is Jan. 29, 2019.

A sluice gate is a sliding gate or other devices for controlling the flow of water, especially one in a locked gate.

“Are we replacing the sluice gates,” Pernell asked.

Director of Public Works and Engineering Department James B. “Jim” Wolf said the city does not have any at this time.

Councilmember Bill Mello asked if the funds were ‘first come, first serve’?

The $7,922,687.25 is earmarked for the city of Orange.

“The projects must be approved and completed,” Mayor Larry Spears Jr. said.

Council member Patrick Pullen requested the names and agencies who will handle the funds and who will distribute them.

Council also discussed the start of the Navy Park Park improvements.

May recreation Equipment and Design was awarded a contract in the amount of $94,251.55 for the purchase and installation of playground equipment and a water fountain for the park.

“After this, the city will use our own force to install the volleyball court and then the benches,” Grants Planner Sandra Wilson said.

Spears thanked Wilson, Pullen, Council members Terrie Salter and Paul Burch for the great success of the park.

“The reason for public hearings is to help prioritize and it really helped,” Wilson said. “We had about 30 citizens attend. They drew out maps of how they wanted things.”

“This money is only allotted for Navy Park,” Spears added.

Wilson explained Lion’s Den did not qualify for the grant.

“Navy Park is called a pocket park, a neighborhood park,” Wilson said. “The CDBG funds could only be used on a pocket park. This is an example of how citizens can really drive a project.”