Claiborne West Park to see new playground equipment

Published 10:30 am Saturday, November 30, 2019

By Michael Cole

The Orange Leader

In a special session on Tuesday, Orange County Commissioners Court discussed a potential $35,000 Texas Parks and Wildlife (TP&W) grant to replace the existing park equipment at Claiborne West Park.  The grant is a 50-50 grant meaning the County will supply about $17,500 of the grant and TP&W supplying the rest.

The county’s portion comes from fees raised by Claiborne and other donations.

The county is aiming to install eight pieces of new playground equipment including handicap accessible swings and other such pieces such as slides and merry-go-rounds. These pieces will replace damaged and worn equipment.

“The damaged and unsafe playground equipment has been removed. So, we would like to replace them with new equipment,” said Parks Director Sabrina Gray.

Currently, a handicap accessible swing can cost as much as $5,000. 

The new equipment will be for Claiborne Park only. Right now there are no plans to replace equipment at the Bluebird Park or other parks in the county

Precinct One Commissioner Johnny Trahan said he only gets positive remarks about Claiborne.

“They love the park,” Trahan said.

Orange County Emergency Management Manager Joel Ardoin gave an update on recovery efforts from Tropical Storm Imelda. Ardoin reported that Orange County had 257 SBA loans issued in the total amount of $13,006,201. The SBA also has processed 461 business loans.

FEMA issued around $10,000,000 in Individuals and Household Program grants in Orange County, with $9,000,000 being in housing grants.

The Disaster Recovery Center saw 144 registrants over the past week.

Ardoin reminded the court, “The last day to register for FEMA help is December 3.”

The county is still working on appealing the decision for a public federal disaster declaration to cover county expenses for Tropical Storm Imelda.

Jessica Hill, economic development corporation director, brought to the court a Hotel Tax fund request by the Vidor Chamber of Commerce for its Christmas Cruise. 

The application had been submitted in time, however, a technical problem caused it to be submitted blank.

They were told to submit it once again and the request was now making its way to the court.

“We have received an off-cycle request from the Vidor Chamber of Commerce for their Christmas Cruise that will be December 14,” Hill said

The Christmas Cruise is a classic car parade that will also include a Christmas Tree lighting for the City of Vidor, a vendor event for Main Street and other events. 

The Chamber expects that as many as 30 Vidor hotel rooms could be booked for the event.

Expected attendance is estimated at 8000 for the 20th-year celebration.

The request was for $8000 which included such things as decorations, advertisement, entertainment, and other expenses.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Robert Viator Jr motioned for a grant in the amount of $4000 to cover advertising costs. 

Precinct 2 Commissioner Theresa Beauchamp opposed the grants.

“If we approve this one, we open the door to every city, Mauriceville, Orange, anywhere to start asking for money for the same thing,” Beauchamp said.

The court approved the lower amount in a 4-1 vote. Beauchamp being the lone no vote.

Hill added, “Just because we approve them in this amount, doesn’t mean that is what they will receive. They must turn in qualifying receipts that were not also reimbursed from another entity like the City of Vidor.”


Edited: It stated that the deadline for FEMA registration is Dec. 5. The registration deadline is actually Dec. 3, tomorrow, according to a FEMA Media Relations Specialist.