The playground at Navy Park in Orange on Simmons Drive will soon have an expansion.

The Orange City Council approved relocating the playground equipment at Solomon Johnson Park to Navy Park at their regular meeting Tuesday morning.

Jimmie Lewis with the planning and zoning department reported the Emma Wallace Center, which once housed the Orange Community Action Center which also operated the Meals on Wheels and the administration of the Southeast Texas Transit System, was recently demolished when the new Meals on Wheels facility opened downtown.

There were concerns about the basketball courts being so near the children at the playground at Solomon Johnson and the difference in ages. Lewis added there was very little use of the playground there.

There are more families residing in Navy Park. The move there would reduce the parks department expenses since the equipment won’t have to be maintained as often. The basketball and tennis courts will remain at Solomon Johnson Park.

Councilwoman Essie Bellfield said restrooms are needed at the new park.

During the citizen comments session of the meeting, resident Henry Lowe said “thugs’’ took over Solomon Johnson Park and he favors a police substation be built at the new park at Navy Park so children can play safely.

Lowe added a state charter has been granted for an African-American museum for Orange.

The council approved an agreement with the Southern Professional Outboard Racing Tour for the 2012 tunnel boat races held in Orange on September 21 through 23.

Jay Trahan, director of the Orange Economic Development Corporation, said there will be an additional afternoon of testing this year to increase boat crews’ hotel stays.

A $5,000 payment is to be submitted by July 1, but no later than July 15. A second payment of $10,000 is due by August 30, and a final payment of $25,000 is to be submitted on September 21, the first day of the event. A total fee of $40,000 for the boat races event is requested by the race producer.

Trahan said last time, 60 to 70 motel rooms were booked in Orange for the race. There will also be more family oriented activities during the race.

Mayor Jimmy Sims said the event is free of charge to the public and it has been a wonderful event for the city.

A $51,800 agreement with Fittz and Shipman, Inc. was approved for professional engineering services on the North FM 3247 project.

In a letter from the company, a 12-inch water line will be extended from the Sabine River Authority Canal westward 3,150 feet. Services will also include design of a sanitary sewer lift station on the north side of FM 3247 near the First Baptist Church of Orange east property line with force main sewer line connecting eastward to the existing sanitary sewer line located at Meeks Drive an Allie Payne Road.

It is anticipated the proposed water line and force main will be located within easements to be acquired adjacent to the north right of way of FM 3247 with force main in an additional easement within the Sabine River Authority right of way and easements to be acquired along Allie Payne Road.

Councilman Cullin Smith was approved to be a representative to serve on behalf of the city of Orange on the OEDC board. He replaces Brown Claybar who reached his term limit on the council and retired.

The Port Arthur YMCA was approved to use the Orange Municipal Natatorium for summer swimming lessons. These lessons will be held in two week sessions for $10 per child per session.

Councilwoman Theresa Beauchamp said she didn’t know why the American Red Cross wasn’t using the natatorium this summer for swimming lessons as they have done in the past, but the YMCA is fully qualified to give lessons and she urged residents, particularly children, to take advantage of the program.

The council accepted the resignation of Raymond C. Young Sr. from the Orange Housing Authority Board of Directors. No reason is stated for the resignation.