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Old Cove School set for demolition

By Dawn Burleigh

There was exciting news announced during the Tuesday morning from $30million in improvement projects to the demolition of the old Cove school located at 1220 Dupont Drive and 240 Campus Drive.

The city of Orange now owns the old Cove School in it’s entirety which allows the city to move forward with demolition plans.

“I love to make the motion,” Councilmember Mary McKenna said when the council asked if anyone wanted to make a motion for the resolution to enter into a contract for the demolition.

The contract was awarded to Jay-B & Group Services, LLC.

“I am very proud of how the city stayed with this,” McKenna said after the meeting. “They stuck with it and now it is happening.”

The project presented unique red tape as to who owned it, several liens on it and such.

The demolition should be complete 40 days after the agreement is signed, according to Director of Planning and Community Development Kelvin Knauf.

Council also approved a Motion of Intent approving the Orange Economic Development incentive for Tarver Performance Marine, LLC for eligible infrastructure improvements for an amount to not exceed $150,000.

Tarver owners, Cody and Ashley Tarver, plan to invest $440,000-plus in the project location which will feature a boat repair shop serve facility and a planned retail sales division.

The council also discussed the Community Development Block Grant- Mitigation Draft Applications for three major projects for a total of approximately $30 million. The projects are Waste Water Treatment Program, Water System Improvements and Public facilities Improvements.

“These are funds for large projects with a meaningful impact,” Belinda Smith said.

Waste Water Treatment Program would allow continuous operations during flooding events such as being able to ensure continuous operations of the sewer collection system and mitigate damages due to back up of raw sewage unto homes, unauthorized discharges and other threats to the health and safety of citizens.

Water System Improvements project is for more wells, storage tanks and a generator to ensure the availability of quality water supply for the residents of Orange.

The Public facilities Improvements project is to ensure a safe location for first responders to have access to fuel and equipment in the case of a disaster such as a storm or rain event.

“The possibilities are really exciting,” Councilmember Mary McKenna said.

The projects will be on the city’s website for public comment which is open for 14 days following the council meeting. The projects are expected to be on the next city council agenda.

Council also approved the resolution accepting the 2020 Community Development Block Grant of $348,416. The budget for the funds are:

Administration $69,682

Code Enforcement $111,474

Social Services:

  • Greater Orange Area Literacy Service $6,400
  • Jackson Community Center $6,000
  • Julie Rogers Gift of Life $3,860
  • Orange Christian Services $12,000
  • Orange Community Action Assoc. (Meals on Wheels) $13,000
  • Southeast Texas Hospice $5,000
  • Stable Spirit $6,000

Projects:

  • Strickland water tower rehabilitation $50,000
  • Brownwood Park rehabilitation and upgrade $65,000

Councilmember Mary Mckenna recused herself from voting and discussing the agenda item due to her connection with Southeast Texas Hospice.

City Manager Mike Kunst wanted to remind everyone of early voting.

“Hurricane Delta paid us a visit,” Kunst said. “There are no reports of major damage to the city. Overall we are fortunate.”

He added that residents need to separate Hurricane Laura debris from Hurricane Delta debris.

Councilmember Brad Childs thanked Director of Public Works and Engineering Department James B. “Jim” Wolf for his work on the mitigation grants.

“I want to thank all those who sent condolences for the loss of my dad,” Childs said. “It means the world to me.”

McKenna also thanked the city’s staff for their hard work.

“I want to thank all the city employees,” McKenna said. “Despite Laura and Delta, you continued to move forward. I appreciate all your hard work.”

Councilmembers Caroline Hennigan and Paul Burch both agreed with McKenna’s statement.

Councilmember Terrie Salter asked people to keel Councilmember Patrick Pullen in their prayers and to continue following safety guidelines for COVID-19.

“And stay encouraged,” Salter said. “Thank you to the mayor and city manager for keeping us informed.”