Groundbreaking for a new office to be used by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Janice Menard and her staff could begin in April, according to county Maintenance Director Mark Wimberley.
Commissioners in special session Monday approved to seek bids for the building based on specifications provided by the Mark Magnuson architectural firm.

Menard and her staff were moved to a small mobile home at the Orange County Airport after Hurricane Ike’s waters flooded the old office on Roundbunch Road on the outskirts of Bridge City.
The new offices will also be at the airport. After the storm commissioners decided to build the permanent structure there because the land is high ground that didn’t flood during Ike.
It will also be more convenient to the public because the airport is often described as “in the middle” of Precinct 3.

Beautification project
Tara Janise, volunteer with the Texas Master Naturalist group, said the organization has more than 700 trees it wants to plant throughout the county. Commissioners said the new transportation building on Farm Road 1442 could definitely use some trees.
Others can be planted in area parks. According to Janise, varieties to be planted include red maple, wire oak, American elm, sycamore, cherry bark oak and river birch.

Stimulus funds deadline
Precinct 4 Commissioner Beamon Minton said he attended a recent meeting of the Jefferson-Orange-Hardin Regional Transportation Study (JOHRTS) and was told Orange County might be in line for some $800,000. 

The money would have to be earmarked for road repair/improvement projects. The deadline to apply is in June. Minton said he would work with county engineer Les Anderson to secure the funds. JOHRTS is a division of the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission.

Support for Vidor housing
Commissioners passed a resolution supporting the Auburn Square project, a 12-acre parcel east of 2390 N. Main St. in Vidor proposed to house some 80 units for families that qualify at low and moderate income levels.

The NRP Group in San Antonio plans to oversee construction. Units will be priced from $221-$526 for one bedroom up to $282-$705 for three bedrooms. NRP is applying for assistance from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). 

According to a letter from Debra Guerrero, Auburn Square representative, a future public hearing will be set for public input about the proposal. 

And in a letter to TDHCA Executive Director Michael Gerber, Vidor Mayor Ray Long wrote, “The recent hurricanes have left many in our community with deteriorating damaged housing. This is an opportunity to rebuild our neighborhoods and we fully support the development of Auburn Square.”