The city of Orange celebrated the opening of the new Orange Senior Center on Fifth Street with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on May 18. The Orange Senior Center is the first project in the Orange Downtown revitalization program. RECORD PHOTO: David Ball


David Ball
For The Record

Shawn Oubre, city manager of the city of Orange, said the new Orange Senior Center is another example how the city was able to make lemonade out of lemons.

He borrowed the term from Mayor Brown Claybar who uses the term in reference to how the city has benefitted from disaster funding from Hurricane Ike.  The city, likewise, held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday for the new building on Fifth Street. The Orange Senior Center was funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through a Hurricane Ike Recovery Grant administered by the Texas General Land Office.

Oubre said the Senior Center/Meals on Wheels facility has a special meaning to his family because it was the first place his daughters did their community service project.

He said the building is in an important location and will created synergy with the boardwalk on the Sabine River and the riverfront development project to be built. It also complements the nearby Orange Public LIbrary and Lamar State College-Orange.

Oubre thanked everyone for making the building possible, particularly city staff, Jeffrery Carbo Landscape Architects, G & G Enterprises, Studio Red Architects, the GLO, HNTB and U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Claybar said the new facility will be a multipurpose senior center where everyone will want come to feel comfortable. He also said this building will provide synergy to downtown.

The structure will be a city-owned building that is leased to Meals on Wheels, a federal program.

He added it’s possible in the future another senior center will be built and the facility on Fifth Street will be made into a retail center.

Claybar thanked local contractor G & G for doing a “great job” and city staff for doing a lot of work to get the grants.

Linda Hughes, director of the Orange County Action Association, said the new building was the answer to their prayers.

“This is more than we’ve every hoped for,” she said.

She thanked the city, G & G, the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission for a grant to procure new kitchen equipment, the Area Agency on Aging, the United Way, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, churches and other organizations.

Colleen Halliburton with the AAA and 211 Services, said the new Orange Senior Center is forward thinking from the city of Orange because it has the ability to expand beyond its primary role as a Meals on Wheels facility.

The Orange Senior Center is the first project in the Orange Downtown revitalization program.

The Orange Senior Center is a building devoted to all senior citizens of Orange. It will house the office of the Orange Community Action Association, which administers the Southeast Texas Transit Service and Meals on Wheels in Orange County.

Meals on Wheels serves approximately 400 meals a day with most of those being delivered to homebound seniors. The previous structure serving senior citizens was the Emma Wallace Center located at 102 Turret Ave. This building was damaged beyond feasible repair by Hurricane Ike.

The Emma Wallace Center served a long and useful life but not longer meets the seniors’ needs. The new larger building will allow for expanded programs and a location for clubs and service organizations serving seniors to meet.