The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
In less than a month, the city of Port Arthur will have a first-rate marina worth at least $10 million complete with a set of floating docks on Pleasure Island, said Terry Doyle, chairman of the Pleasure Island Commission.
But in order to complete the work on the marina, bills must be paid, and that responsibility falls on the city. After several discussions and several meetings, the Port Arthur City Council has agreed to fund the remainder of the project as long as the island repays the loan in full plus 1.2 percent interest.
The council passed an ordinance Dec. 11 that amended the budget by $2.5 million in order to fund repairs to the marina that was damaged during Hurricane Ike. With this budget amendment, the city could pay Shoremaster Inc. for the work the company had done to the marina until the island received the loan from the city. Payments totaled approximately $1.5 million through October.
The City Council approved a resolution Dec. 18 to allow the city to pay more invoices for the marina project. The payments to Shoremaster added up to $767,492.97.
At the Dec. 18 City Council meeting, Doyle told the council that the island would be “happy as heck” to pay the city back within three years, using profits from the marina itself to pay back the loan.
Doyle said he expected the marina project to be finished sometime in the middle of January.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the island $7.5 million more than a year ago to restore the hurricane-battered marina. The agency agreed to provide the island with an advance of 80 percent of the funds and pay 90 percent of the total project cost. Pleasure Island would be responsible for the other 10 percent.
The total estimated cost of the project was $8.3 million. FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program covers 90 percent of that cost — $7.5 million — but FEMA would only advance 80 percent of the funds until project completion. To cover the rest of the costs, Pleasure Island asked the city of Port Arthur to lend the commission the other 20 percent.
Once the project is complete, the island would inform FEMA so the agency could approve the disbursement of the rest of the project funds, which would be about $1.4 million. That money would go toward repaying the city, Doyle said.
Pleasure Island would pay back the rest of the money owed the city with profits from the marina, Doyle said. He expected that it would not take long to reap a profit from the new floating docks, which survived Hurricane Ike along the Gulf Coast. Once complete, Doyle said, the marina would be just 10 minutes from open water, unlike many marinas along the Gulf Coast that are an hour’s distance from open water.
And Pleasure Island’s golf course would be open by next summer, Doyle said, in another effort to return the island to its pre-hurricane state.