PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

June 14, 2013

West Side gets clinic

Sherry Koonce
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — In front of a packed crowd Thursday, Port Arthur Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince surveyed a brand new facility on the city’s West Side — one that will not only provide health care to people of all ages, but also signals revitalization in a part of Port Arthur that had been discounted for many years.

“In 2004 when I ran for Council, I said one of the things I want to do is to have a wonderful health care facility on the West Side,” Prince said.

It’s been a long time coming, but the new facility will open for business July 1.

At Tuesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony and open house, Prince thanked one of the city’s industrial neighbors for its part in bringing the clinic to reality.

“I want to thank Valero from the bottom of our hearts,” Prince said.

Valero Energy Corporation’s Port Arthur refinery funded the Westside Community Health Clinic from a $1 million Supplemental Environmental Project. The clinic was built on land owned by the city and leased to the Gulf Coast Health Center.

Construction on the Westside Community Health Clinic — one of the EPA’s Environmental Justice Showcase Community projects —  broke ground a little less than a year ago.

Port Arthur was among 10 cities the EPA selected to address environmental problems facing those communities and their residents, John Hall, emcee for Thursday’s open house, John Hall, master of ceremonies for the open house ceremony, said.

“Mayor Prince and former City Manager Steve Fitzgibbons asked me to work with them to make sure the designation was a positive effort,” Hall said.

Greg Gentry, vice-president and general manager of Valero, working for the betterment of the community is one of the company’s goals.

“This is a great opportunity and great investment in the Westside. I am glad we could be a part of it,” Gentry said.

The full-service family clinic will offer women’s health services as well as those for adults and children. The facility will employ five people, including Dr. Farron Hunt, a family physician from Port Arthur.

Tim Sayles, the Gulf Coast Health Center executive director, said the clinic will service about 20-25 patients a day, but has room to add two additional physicians to support future community growth.

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