Director of Planning Kelvin Knauf

The City of Orange will be moving forward with infrastructure projects connected to the $4.1 million grant received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  The City Council approved five projects during its meeting Tuesday.

Public Works Director Jim Wolf made the recommendation for the first round of ARPA funding projects.  The five projects are a water tank for Meeks Drive, a Meeks Drive emergency generator, Westside Waterline Phase 2 from Tulane Road to Highway 105, a major rehabilitation for lift stations, and Greenway Park stormwater improvements.

A second round of funding is expected for Fiscal Year 2022-23 totaling another $4.0 million.  Wolf has four future projects planned for that money which will receive approval at that time.

The council approved Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Grants for a couple of businesses.  The Little Cypress Grove housing addition was approved a $300,000 grant for its planned $2 million capital investment project off of Martin Luther King Junior Drive.  Childs Manufacturing and Building Supply on 16th Street was approved an EDC grant not to exceed $300,000 for infrastructure improvements to the business.

Deputy Fire Chief Lee Anne Brown recommended extending the agreement for Emergency and Non-Emergency Ambulance Service between the city and Acadian Ambulance Service of Texas.  The recommendation was unanimously approved by the council with Councilwoman Mary McKenna thanking Acadian for the assistance it provides for Southeast Texas Hospice.

Director of Planning Kelvin Knauf gave a slide presentation to the City Council on the procedure for the city to annex properties.  Knauf mentioned there are at least two property owners that are requesting to be annexed by the City of Orange.

City Manager Mike Kunst reported what he previously announced to the council a week ago that the closing of the railroad crossing at Barkins Street and 15th Street will be permanent.  Kunst said he received confirmation from the Union Pacific Railroad that the Barkins crossing of the tracks was the closure agreed to 10 years ago and will not be altered.  The city will be working to make the closure more permanent like was done to the other crossings in the downtown that were closed previously.

Written by Dan Perrine

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