City considers options for old Fire House

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


A building, which has remained empty since Hurricane Harvey, is now surplus property as the city searches for options to repurpose it or tear it down.

Interim City Manager Kelvin Knauf said the Lions Club had expressed an interest in leasing it but has since changed its mind.

“It is a bad location for retail because of the street signal there,” Knauf said. “No one at this time is expressing an interest in leasing it. Demolishing it and making the property part of the part may be the best option.”

Council members offered options for repurposing it.

Council member Patrick Pullen suggested selling it to Sabine River Ford.

“The way the property is laid out, the south part is part of the park and does not reach Main Ave,” Knauf said.

“Have we put out that it is available?” Council member Annette Pernell said. “I would like to see if someone has an interest in it in the next 30 days.”

City Attorney Jack Smith said the property would need to declared surplus before it could be listed.

Terrie Salter suggested allowing citizens to rent the building for birthday parties.

“If they are at the park and it rains,” Salter began. “I think having a building to rent from the city to host parties is one way. Why turn it into a part and make no money?”

“I would like to see the city stay intact,” Pernell said. “Seeing so many vacant lots makes my heart hurt.”

Chief Police Lane Martin spoke on the changes to an ordinance for tow trucks in the city.

“I was asked to look at the ordinance and I brought it here for you to take a look at today,” Martin said.

The changes include:

  • Each tow truck has to have it’s own tax ID number to be placed on the rotation list and only placed once.
  • Changing the radius from storage from five miles to 10 miles.
  • Fees for towing non-consent vehicles is now up to a maximum of $175.

“The city has grown and 10 miles will now allow to extend to the edge of the city,” Martin said.

Interim City Manager Kelvin Knauf announced the Texas Homeowner Assistance Program is holding two events at Tuesday, March 19 – 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 23 – 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Orange Public Library located at220 5th Street in Orange.

Application coordinators and program representatives will be available to help homeowners complete a program application for assistance and answer any questions. Applications take approximately 30 minutes to complete, and homeowners are encouraged to call 1-844-893-8937 to schedule an appointment at an application fair. Homeowners should also review the Homeowner Assistance Program Checklist prior to applying and bring any required documentation they may have to their scheduled appointment.

Mayor Larry Spears Jr. encouraged residents to drive down Simmons Drive to see the construction on Cooper Gully.

Economic Development Director Jay Trahan announced a Save The Date for the 17th Annual Art in the Park on April 6, 2019.

“We have over 100 vendors as well as food and live entertainment,” Trahan said.