Comprehensive plan a roadmap for the city of Port Arthur

Published 2:33 pm Sunday, April 8, 2018

Shad Comeaux, project manager for Freese and Nichols, Inc., said the comprehensive plan for the city of Port Arthur is a blueprint for going forward.

“Under the Local Government Code 213, master plans or comprehensive plans show how to develop over time such as various aspects for future land use, transportation and circulation and physical and population growth.”

The last comprehensive plan completed by the city was in 1989 and done in house.

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“It’s been quite some time,” he said. “Prior to Hurricane Harvey we did a downtown master plan and doing a follow-up with this.”

In fact, Comeaux will give a presentation at the regular meeting of the Port Arthur City Council meeting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 444 Fourth St., for a brief overview of the plan and return later in the process.

The firm was contracted in 2015 for the downtown master plan. They were wrapping up that project when they started the city plan at the beginning of last year.

The firm is part of the Houston-Galveston Area Council network. In return, HGAC uses PlanSource — a system for cities to use to bypass the Request for Qualifications process because some of the cities don’t have the resources to participate in the selection process. The firm was selected because of its previous work with the downtown plan. They’ve also implemented GIS and revising ordinances for Port Arthur.

The scope of work for the city’s comprehensive plan cost $153,000.

“Our firm is believed to be a trusted adviser and we have long-term relationships. We have a 92 percent rate of repeat clients. We focus on customer service,” Comeaux said.

It will take anywhere from a year to 18 months to accumulate data — Census, the American Community Survey, meetings with city staff and shareholders for their local knowledge, sending out a survey, setting up a website, hosting four community meetings last March and April and amassing their own analysis in the field.

Comeaux said Freese and Nichols is a 125-year old company headquartered in Fort Worth. They are spreading out to other states such as Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana. They’ve been in the planning group business for more than 35 years. They have 12 certified planners and landscape architects on staff. Most of their comprehensive planning is done in Texas.

They also do urban planning, urban design and updating city ordinances. Ninety percent of clients are municipalities and higher education.

They are also doing work on the wastewater treatment plant in Port Arthur.

Comeaux grew up in Port Arthur. He graduated Lincoln High School in 1995. His father, Claude Comeaux Jr., pastors New St. John Baptist Church in Port Arthur.

“It’s great coming back and helping out. The (Port Arthur) Alumni Group cleaned out a house for community service after (Hurricane and Tropical Storm) Harvey,” he said.