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Port Neches leaders talk plans, award contracts for Riverfront renovation

PORT NECHES — In a Thursday night meeting, members of the Port Neches City Council discussed the next steps for the Riverfront Development project.

The discussion ended with an ideal finishing date in late August. The proposed plan’s first steps include a water and sewer improvement project, street improvement project and riverside walkway.

The walkway will extend from the current boat ramps at Port Neches Riverfront Park to the North end of the area anticipated for commercial development.

The width will sit at 12 feet wide within the commercial development area and six feet wide at the segment connecting to the boat ramps.

City Manager Andre Wimer said providing a walkway has always been a part of the plan.

“It’s just a walkway, but it’s exciting for some people,” Wimer said. “It’s the first step in a major development.”

Lighting plays a major role in creating the ambiance of the walkway.

A grant previously received from Entergy includes funding the project with bollard lights on the waterside of the walkway and pole lighting on the landside.

Councilwoman Julie Gauthier said the layout looks excellent.

“On the lights, whatever is low maintenance and easiest to deal with it is the best choice,” she said. “Other than that, it looks great and is very exciting.”

An alternate bid suggests a courtyard area located next to the future Iguana Joe’s site to allow for small events and gatherings to occur along the riverfront.

Once plans are finalized for the proposed walkway, bidding intends to begin this summer with a finishing date in late August, weather permitting, in time for construction to begin on Iguana Joe’s.

Mayor Glenn Johnson said the process has been a long time coming.

“This is outstanding,” he said. “This is what we’ve been waiting for. It’s very exciting.”

As water and sewer projects finish, the street improvement project will proceed walkway construction mid-July with work slated to be complete by the end of July, early August.

Roadway improvements includes the reconfiguration at Merriman Street and Grigsby Avenue and Merriman Street and Lee Avenue. Alternate work involves work along the section of Lee Avenue experiencing ponding of water.

The city council approved the award bid for the project to Mason Construction for $273,992. Award bid for water and sewer improvements for the riverfront development went to Eastex Utility Construction in the amount of $88,859.