An LED digital billboard being erected in Bridge City took another step in becoming a reality. The Bridge City City Council approved at the regular meeting Tuesday night an annual variance to Mark Dunn Advertising for the placement of a double-faced LED digital message board on Texas Avenue. The sign will be at 230 Texas Avenue exactly which is north of La Quinta Motel. Approval of the sign was contingent on the stipulation to include welcome messages for the city, free promotion of local non-profit organizations and access for the city in emergency situations.

The proposed 14 foot by 48 foot LED digital billboard will not only display local advertising to pay for the cost of the board and operating costs, but it will include messages from the city, the school district, traffic alerts and Amber Alerts.

City Manager Jerry Jones announced he was to meet with the new Texas Department of Transportation engineer to see if they need their approval to build the sign on their right-of-way. Earlier this year, Dunn requested a special permit to operate a board since the city has not allowed a billboard to be placed within the city in more than 10 years.

In other council business, representatives from the Shop Orange County committee made a presentation to the council. Dean Granger of Granger Chevrolet and a member of the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce invited the Bridge City City Council for the Shop Orange County Kick-Off Celebration from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on April 25 at Lamar State College-Orange, Nursing Building Auditorium, 410 Front St. Granger said the campaign launch is to educate citizens on how important it is to keep their money in Orange County and he urged the the council to support it as the leadership of Bridge City. He added school boards, refineries, cities and the county are on board. Granger said money in the county keeps local cities growing as well as schools, plants, charities and youth leagues.

Tad McGee of the Stark Foundation next spoke. He said Shop Orange County is a joint effort. Residents may shop Bridge City first, but if they can’t find what they are looking for, shop the rest of Orange County. The money kept in the county will benefit the county, school districts, police departments and fire departments, support local charities and organizations. It can also lead to businesses hiring more employees through the money multiplier effect. Granger added in addition to landing a big employer within the county, Shop Orange County may create a job boom if 100 local businesses hire just one employee and have the same kind of impact.

Mayor Kirk Roccaforte was authorized to send a letter of support of the Port of Beaumont’s application for a grant under the U.S. Department of Transportation. Roccaforte said the port will build a rail terminal on the Orange County side of the Neches River. Gene Bouillion, director of the Port of Orange, and Bobby Fillyaw, director of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation, support this effort.

An Anti-NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard) action plan for the city was approved. City Attorney Paul Fukuda read from a resolution the definition of NIMBYism as direct actions taken by citizens to prevent the development of special-use or low income housing in their communities.

“These actions mostly stem out of the misconception that affordable housing developments will lower property value, increase crime, and/or damage the character of the community; various studies have invalidate these misconceptions and proved many of them to be myths. HUD case studies have demonstrated that when communities increase awareness with factual information to help debunk these myths about low income housing developments, NIMBYism can be combated and communities can gain the benefits associated with a diversified tax base.”

April was proclaimed as Sexual Awareness and Prevention Month and as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Darla Daigle, the education specialist with the Rape and Suicide Crisis Center of Southeast Texas said she wished she could say there is no sexual assault in Bridge City, but she knows it isn’t true. She said it starts with awareness and the community working together. Daigle said sexual assaults are still one of the most under-reported crimes and one of the most stigmatized crimes.

Jones reported sewer work in the city is completed. Street work continues. The parking lot project at the Little League field is done with the exception of painting parking space stripes.