Orange City Council met Tuesday, and at press time was set to meet Wednesday with architectural firms submitting proposals to develop plans for a new outdoor performance pavilion, city hall annex buildings, theater support building, city hall renovations and a Meals on Wheels senior citizens’ center.

According to city Economic Development Director Jay Trahan, council met Tuesday with the firms of Architectural Alliance, Mike McSwain and Lake-Flato. Times and presentations set for Wednesday are: 8 a.m. – Eskew/Dumez/Ripple; 9 a.m. – Natalye Appel and Associates; 10 a.m. – Ron Hobbs Architects; and 11 a.m. – Studio Red Architects. Meetings are in the city council chambers within the Orange Public Library Annex.

Mayor Brown Claybar has said he estimates city leaders to decide in about a week.

This past October, architects Jeffrey Carbo and Shannon Blakeman presented to council the basics of the downtown master plan, to include revitalization from Second to Ninth streets, and from Green Avenue to the Sabine River. They also mentioned housing units and opportunities for retail businesses. The plan’s three principal sponsors are the city, Stark Foundation and Lamar-Orange. The vacant Jack Tar Hotel building, last used as a nursing home, will likely be demolished, Carbo said in October. Other structures considered for razing include the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau building. 

A “corner plaza” near the pavilion, close to the Lutcher Theater, would take advantage of nearby streets to connect the three downtown areas with walking paths, parks and other attractions.
The Carbo firm is based in Alexandria, La., and has worked on similar revitalization projects with the cities of Natchitoches, La., and pre-Hurricane Ike Galveston, among others. The firm also did landscaping for Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.
The Carbo group was assigned the master plan by the city after earlier work by the Dallas-based Mesa Design Group.

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