PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

October 16, 2013

PN fire station groundbreaking set for Thursday

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

PORT NECHES — After almost a year of planning, Port Neches officials are ready to break ground on the city’s new fire station/Emergency Operations Center.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday near the corner of FM 366 (Magnolia) and Park Street in Port Neches. Parking will be provided at the Hebert Public Library and transportation will be available to the site.

The road has been long and sometimes complicated for city officials regarding the project.

Plans were brought to a head in 2012, when the city of Port Neches was awarded a port security grant to help build a new fire station. The city then approached Port Neches-Groves ISD about a possible land trade agreement. Port Neches Fire Chief Steve Curran learned the department would have a better overall response time and be more centrally located if the new station were built on Magnolia Avenue near Merriman Street — on the land owned by the school district.

The district traded the vacant piece of land located on Magnolia Avenue near Merriman Street to the city in exchange for the land where the current city hall was formerly located. The old city hall building has since been demolished.

The $1.9 million federal grant requires a 25 percent match by the City of Port Neches. The city is also responsible for any additional costs.

The new fire station will feature four apparatus bays — the current station has three, and will feature a fully operational drill tower.

“There is no other drill tower in southeast Texas,” Curran said. “And any city contiguous to the city of Port Neches boundaries will receive credit through the Insurance Service Office, meaning Nederland, groves and Port Arthur will al have access to the tower.”

The proposed completion date, according to grand guidelines, is August 2014.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews