Dave Rogers

For The Record

The city of Orange passed an ordinance Tuesday authorizing the issuance of $8 million in tax and revenue certificates of obligation.

The 20-year bonds, previously agreed upon by council members, would be used to pay for converting the Orange Natatorium into an indoor recreation complex, building a pavilion at the Orange Boat Ramp, for road repairs and streetscape improvements.

According to Guy Goodson of Germer Law Firm, the bonds were purchased by The Baker Group of Oklahoma City with a net effective interest rate of 2.808 percent.

The city was rated Double A-minus and stable by Standard & Poor, Goodson said.

The funds are expected to be available to city by mid-April, he said.

The city council also designated the abandoned fire station at 1705 MacArthur Dr. as surplus property. The city can now consider other uses for the land adjacent to Lion’s Den Park, including donations.

The city is hosting two workshops and intake sessions for the Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) to assist homeowners affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Both will take place at the City of Orange Library, 220 N. Fifth St.

The first will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19. The second is from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23.

HAP helps homeowners affected by Harvey repair and rebuild their homes. The housing program is administered by the Texas General Land Office and provides homeowner assistance through:

Repairing and rehabilitating homes; reconstruction; improving a damaged house so that it is stronger against natural disasters; elevating homes above flood level; and temporary relocation assistance.

In its final February meeting, council voted on actions that should result in a new 40-unit housing addition at Cypresswoood Drive, at least a couple of new businesses at the intersection of 16th Street and Interstate 10 and announced that Orange should be moving its city hall by mid-summer.

The housing development should come after granting a $350,000 EDC infrastructure agreement for storm drains with the ITEX group. The project would create 40 homes in the $225,000 price range.

“This is monumental,” Mayor Larry Spears, Jr., said. “We haven’t had the establishment of a new neighborhood in Orange in some time.

“It’s always great to talk about new growth in our city.”

A similar $350,000 infrastructure grant with JADCO Development would allow for the demolition and environmental abatement of the former Quick Stop gas station.

A Chick Fil-A restaurant has already been announced for part of the JADCO property, a projected $4.5 million investment.

Jim Wolf, city public works director, included in a lengthy and glowingly positive report of ongoing city projects the news that First Financial Bank may be ready to move into its new building on 16th Street by April 1, leaving the city 90 days to renovate the bank’s prior location, which will become the new city hall.

Also council passed a resolution in support of a request by Jefferson County’s Commissioners’ Court to increase Amtrak’s Sunset Limited service from tri-weekly to daily.