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Port Arthur accepting public comment on $97M downtown drainage project

The city of Port Arthur is proposing a drainage infrastructure revitalization and improvement project that would give the downtown area a 25-year storm level of protection.

The city intends to apply for $97 million in Community Development Block Grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to improve drainage in the downtown area. Rehabilitation of historic buildings into new office space for Motiva Enterprises is ongoing in the area, and city officials say in a news release the funding would be designed to address mitigation needs “to ensure that the state of Texas is more resilient to future natural disasters.”

The funds, if approved, would be allocated through the Texas General Land Office.

A breakdown of the funding includes $5 million toward project administration, $21 million toward engineering and $71 million toward drainage improvements downtown. There is no funding match by the city.

Port Arthur Public Works Director Alberto Elefaño said Arceneaux Wilson & Cole has been selected as an engineer for the project. The city has until Oct. 28 to apply for funding, and Elefaño anticipates the approval will come by March.

“Once engineering is done, we’ll go out for bids and contractors will be invited to bid,” Elefaño said, asked about the work process once funding for the project is approved. “It’ll be done in phases.”

The city anticipates a multi-year, multi-phase project, but specifics won’t be known until contractors are selected.

Public comment on the proposed project is open through 5 p.m. Oct. 26. To submit comment or ask questions, contact city administrative consultant Craig Taffaro at 504-401-3654 or email ctaffaro@ardurra.com.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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