PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Port Neches

July 10, 2014

Research required before moving forward with sale of Sunset Park

PORT NECHES — More than 60 years ago Sunset Park on Port Neches Avenue was a hub of activity as young children, under the watchful eye of their mothers, frolicked and played.

That’s how Beth Zipprich remembered the less than one acre park back in 1948 when she lived along Port Neches Avenue.

Zipprich also remembered that a local family had gifted the property to the City of Port Neches many years ago for use as a park with the stipulation that if the City ever decided it didn’t want the property that it would revert back to the original family.

The long time resident addressed Port Neches City Council on Thursday with the story upon hearing that council would consider the possible sale of the park.

Sunset Park, which has few recreational features, is now eclipsed by nearby Port Neches Riverfront Park on Grigsby Avenue which includes a spray park, Tugboat Island, restrooms, picnic tables and more.

James Stefflen, a long time resident, told council he was once approached by a woman seeking the original owners of the property and carrying an official looking document which stated a similar scenario about the property reverting back to the owners should the city decide to sell.

Neither Stefflen or Zipprich have the supporting documents but their information was enough to cause council to go forward with research on the issue.

“Any information would be helpful in order to move forward,” Councilmember Julie Gauthier said.

Councilmember Chris McMahon agreed, adding that more information is needed regarding the ownership of the property.

The land where Sunset Park is located is designated as park property. Should council decide to vacate the site the issue would have to be brought before voters, per state statue. City Manager Andrè Wimer suggested that if council later chooses this option then the election would only be called in the event of a contested city council election due primarily to cost issues.

Zipprich asked Council if there are any stipulations as to what can be placed on the land should it be sold to which Wimer explained that the land is zoned residential. This, he added, doesn’t preclude a person asking to rezone the property if it is sold.

No formal decision was made during the meeting only that staff would research the title and ownership.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

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