PA Council OKs deal to bring businesses

Published 8:18 am Wednesday, October 14, 2015

An expansion of a retail development along U.S. 69 and Jimmy Johnson Boulevard is a step closer to reality now that the Port Arthur City Council approved an economic incentive with the developer.

Council at their regular meeting Tuesday approved an Economic Development Conditional Grant Agreement with PA69 LP for $275,000. The funding will be used for storm drainage improvements.

The developer plans to expand an existing building that houses retailers Conn’s Appliances and Boot Barn with another 13,260 square feet. Also planned is a new yet-to-be-named restaurant to be built next to Saltgrass Steakhouse.

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Also approved by Council was an on-the-job training program recommended and to be administered by the EDC.

The EDC will pay an amount not to exceed $2,400 per trainees for Port Arthur residents enrolled learning to weld at Team Fabricators.

Team Fabricators will pay 50 percent of the trainees’ costs, while the EDC will pay the remainder up to $12,000.

EDC Director Floyd Batiste said Team Fabricators is offering an existing training program for Port Arthur residents who want to learn to weld. To qualify for a full-time permanent job, the trainees must have passed two welding tests within about a three-month period.

Those who do not pass the test are eligible for the additional training.

Because of the difficulty involved in learning to weld and passing the test in the three-month period could be difficult for some, especially those who start the program with no skills, some are not passing the test and need extra help to do so.

The initial program is a joint training partnership between the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Workforce Solutions, the EDC and Team Fabricators.

Since the program started, 12 Port Arthur residents have graduated. Two of those employed were terminated because of absenteeism, and another two have not yet passed their test. Of the 12, eight who are working, and making $22 an hour.

The EDC also approved a letter of intent from Ana Mexican Bakery, a Port Arthur business that wants to expand its existing facility at Gulfway Drive. The expansion should result in an additional eight to 10 Port Arthur jobs.

Council also approved the purchase of an asphalt zipper form Salt Lake City, Utah. The equipment will be used in the streets department to for asphalt road repairs. Cost of the equipment is $167,990.


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