Valero to launch West Port Arthur park construction

Published 7:09 pm Monday, April 30, 2018

By Ken Stickney

Valero will host Port Arthur community leaders, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Terra Lab and others for groundbreaking on the West Port Arthur Park and Community Garden.

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The event will start at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Westside Development Center, 601 W. Rev. Dr. Ransom Howard St. The park and garden are located on a nearby half-block tract of land along Eighth Street between Rev. Raymond Scott and Grannis avenues, adjacent to the Valero Port Arthur Refinery.

In an issued statement, Valero said Monday the site will include a neighborhood park with playground equipment and a community garden with garden beds for West Port Arthur residents and non-profits to grow fresh produce.

The park and garden are expected be completed by March 2019, in time for spring planting.

Tuesday’s event will include a groundbreaking ceremony with a reception to follow.

The project is described as a supplemental environmental project, part of a settlement between Valero and TCEQ following a list of allegations against the company between 2009 and 2013, most of them for failure to prevent unauthorized emissions. The company denied all allegations in the order, which was made effective Dec. 9, 2016.

A TCEQ spokesman said Monday that “all violations and technical requirements for the violations had been addressed at that time.”

According to Attachment A of the agreement, the penalty against Valero was $279,151 and the offset amount for the park project was $139,575.

According to that attachment, park features were to include “improved stormwater management, rainwater collection, energy efficient lighting, use of native species for plantings and water conservation techniques.”

The estimated cost schedule was $522,500, well beyond the offset, but the attachment said the respondent — Valero — understood that the park’s cost may cost more than the offset.