PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Port Neches

September 27, 2006

Riverfront plans discussed at city meeting

PORT NECHES — They’ve come a long way in the planning process, but now the real work begins on the Final Riverfront Vision Plan.

Thursday night at the Port Neches City Council meeting, Terry Rozelle, chairman of the Riverfront Steering Committee presented the committee’s final report of recommendations for Riverfront development. Among the recommendations, the committee suggested that an entity separate from city staff and city council be in charge of implementing the plans for development. Rozelle stressed the point that the entity in charge have a clear understanding of the goals and objectives of the City in pursuing the redevelopment of the Riverfront and be a non-profit local government corporation with the ability to accept grants and charitable donations.

The committee also made note of the fact that a temporary tax increase for the citizens of Port Neches is a possibility, but would be good for the city in the long run.

“The point of the development is to diversify our tax base, not increase the tax burden,” Rozelle explained to the council and citizens.

Mayor Johnson and the city council decided that they were not in a position to accept the full report, but would accept it for further review.

The council later approved a proposal from Knudson and Associates to update the Zoning Ordinance, which the company stated was out of date. The Economic Development Committee agreed to fund the project.

Chip Voltz with J.D. Consulting then reported on the progress of the demolition and remediation work on Tract 2 of the Riverfront property. Voltz stated that only one of the 11 tanks that were on the site is remaining and even that project is moving along with progress.

Taylor Shelton, Public Works Director for the city, was delighted to tell the council that the Government Land Office, which is monitoring the clean up to ensure environmental safety, was pleased with the work and the fact that no hydrocarbon had run off into the river.

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