Cutline: Orange City Manager Shawn Oubre, right, discusses “quality of life” improvement options with city councilmen and citizens at a workshop held at Orange Public Library Thursday, May 31. (RECORD Photo: Dave Rogers)

 

 

Dave Rogers

For The Record

 

Orange city council members chose road repairs over athletic complexes during a workshop held at the Orange Public Library on Thursday, May 31.

Shawn Oubre, city manager, presented a list of 18 bond street projects that could be completed for an estimated cost of $4.1 million.

That and a proposed pavilion near the Orange Boat Launch were the favored projects.

Oubre said he’d try to have something for council members to vote on at the June 12 meeting.

During the third special meeting on “quality of life” improvements held in the past couple of years, Oubre explained that an existing $5 million bond is expiring in 2019, which Orange has been paying nearly $500,000 a year for, and a new bond can be taken without requiring a raise in the tax rate.

Previous discussions have talked about fixing the city natatorium (an idea not favored) and adding splash pads but the recent focus has been on recreation centers that could host regional softball, baseball or soccer tournaments.

Early estimates were for a total cost of $12 million to put an eight-field complex at Riverside, but that would include about $5 million to elevate the land and install infrastructure, Oubre said. The same complex at another location would cost $8 million.

Mayor Larry Spears, Jr., and council members Annette Pernell and Terri Salters all said they needed more input from community members, especially those with experience organizing sports tournaments.

“Maybe we need to have a day meeting and a night meeting – maybe one or two night meetings,” council member Patrick Pullen said.

Oubre told councilors a decision was needed soon in order to stop or continue the bonds, and that it would be costly to sell bonds and not use them.

So council members decided to put the sports complex to the side for now.

“We’re setting it aside,” council member Brad Childs said.

“I think that’s such an important project, let’s do that the right way,” Spears said of the sports complex. “For now, let’s push it to the side until we get input from all the sports.

Council member Bill Mello had researched the pavilion area, noting research that showed three different fishing tournament sanctioning bodies had held events at the Boat Launch since 2013.

His report showed they’d spent at least $75,000 to rent tents and stages. One group – Bass Champs – had abandoned Orange totally, Mello said, because of the expense required.

“It’s a beautiful piece of property,” Oubre said. “This is an opportunity for us to have some place you can have family events.”

 

The street projects submitted by City Works Director Jim Wolf, in order, were:

1.           Bob Hall Road, Cordrey to Allie Payne

2.           Clark Lane, 87 to Meeks Drive

3.           37th Street, Strickland to Lilac Street

4.           Tulane Road, 37th Street to city limit

5.           Dawnwood Drive, 87 to the bridge

6.           Beagle Road, dead end to FM 1130

7.           Allie Payne Road, Meeks Drive to MLK Drive

8.           Masonic Drive, Amarylis Street to 37th Street

9.           Enner Road, 1-10 to Bob Hall Road

10.      Meeks Drive, Allie Payne Road to MLK Drive

11.      Dorman Road, Highway 90 to dead end

12.      Carrie Street, Allie Payne to Luther Drive

13.      Luther Drive, Meeks Drive to Carrie Street

14.      27th Street, I-10 to Eddleman Road

15.      Eddleman Road, Meeks Drive to 27th Street

16.      Cochran Street, 37th Street to dead end

17.      Main Avenue, between the two bridges

18.      Womack Road, I-10 to FM 1078