A land swap involving some downtown properties between the City of Orange and the Stark Foundation was officially completed on March 1 as part of the Riverfront Development Project.

A joint meeting on Feb. 29 with the Orange City Council and the Orange Economic Development Corporation began the transaction. The Stark Foundation gains the green space at 806 Front Avenue where the old police station once sat behind the Conventions and Visitors Bureau.

In exchange, the city gains property for an entry plaza and riverfront boardwalk to allow public access to the Sabine River for the Riverfront Project. The project includes a boardwalk/river stabilization, a performing arts pavilion and a fountain area.

Jay Trahan, executive director for the OEDC, said he received offers from interested parties on Feb. 28. The property at 806 Front was appraised for $101,000; the city’s properties at $65,000.

The Stark Foundation is paying for a $36,000 equalization value— the difference between the two amounts.

The bond program used to fund the Riverfront Project is funded for 20 years as a Type 4B Sales Tax. Trahan explained Orange is a Type 4B rather than a 4A. The 4B status authorizes the city to use these funds to improve the quality of life rather than industrial development as a 4A would. The bonds are at no cost to the taxpayer.

The next step in the Riverfront Development Project is to meet with contractor SpawGlass on a motion to proceed to execute the contract. Trahan said there could be a potential groundbreaking for the project by mid April.