Tugboat Island time capsule opening set for Thursday

Published 5:15 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2016

PORT NECHES — Twenty years have passed since hordes of volunteers came together to create Port Neches’ Tugboat Island.

To celebrate the opening of the playground, organizers are invited all who took part in the work as well as the general public to be on hand to view the opening of a time capsule at 2 p.m. Thursday at the entrance to Tugboat Island at Merriman Street and Grigsby Avenue.

Glenn Johnson, who was general coordinator for the project, worked alongside Zuetta Pinkston, Connie Seal, Jane Kubitz and Weida Philpott as the project was brought to reality.

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School children helped design the park and funding came not from the city but through contributions. About $234,000 was raised to build the park.

Volunteers came from near and far working four days in March 1996 and five days in April 1996, Johnson said.

“It was all volunteer labor,” Johnson said. “We had so many people that were working that we put skilled labor positions pushing wheelbarrows. People came from all over; Port Arthur, Beaumont, Kountze, Silsbee and even Louisiana.”

Organizers ended spending about $200,000 for materials and construction and the remainder of the money was placed in an account to help maintain the playground.

The structure was later awarded the American Wood Preservers Institute ‘Playground of the Century’ award.

“It was an incredbible experience for the entire city of Port Neches. It really showed us that working tougher we can accomplish anything,” he said. “We were landlocked and we sat around all those years wqith property along the river. All of a sudden we came together and built this beautiful playground. We can do anything.”

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