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City Council gives final approval for Gateway Arch to Nederland

NEDERLAND — Nederland City Council members approved the construction of a $179,200 archway spanning Boston Avenue.

Funded through the Nederland Economic Development Corporation, the project will be handed over to the City of Nederland as an asset once completed.

The effort was unanimously approved following brief concerns raised Monday night by city staff and council members about the need to provide final approval before all changes are approved.

City Manager Chris Duque said three pending issues include drainage, electrical box placement and site obstruction concerns.

“(The EDC) still needs to work out these issues before (the city) issues a permit,” Duque said. “That is what complicates this. The $179,200 is not likely going to be the final cost, because the concrete alone is going to be several thousand dollars more to strengthen.”

Councilman Talmadge Austin asked: “What’s the big hurry for us to go ahead and approve this” before the end of year, wondering if the EDC’s push had something to do with end-of-calendar-year money?”

He did note he thought the mockup of the archway is “beautiful.”

EDC Executive Director Kay DeCuir said a drainage study, as requested by the city, is taking place, and all other issues brought up by the city staff are being addressed.

Nederland Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Kay DeCuir goes over a mockup of The Gateway Arch to Nederland during a recent visit with Port Arthur Newsmedia. (Stephen Hemelt/The News)

Councilman Emmett Hollier asked about approving the $179,200 total or possibly considering a different, higher price at a later date.

Should change orders exceed $10,000, additional City Council approval would be needed.

Addressing Hollier directly, DeCuir said the EDC board wanted final approval this week to wrap up all city council-needed votes, “so we can be able to put a bow on it and say we are ending the year 2020 on a positive note. It has nothing to do with finances.”

“The changes that we know so far, we do not have to come back before city council for approval because the survey is $3,000, one change that we did is less than $1,000 and one is $1,000, so nothing should go over $10,000,” DeCuir said. “We’re right on top of everything.”

EDC officials said construction is expected to take two months, and EDC officials want to begin construction in January.

The project — dubbed The Gateway Arch to Nederland — will be constructed near Boston Avenue’s intersection with Twin City Highway just west of Cropo’s Barber Shop and cross the street to between Lee Michael Hair Parlor and Cuttin Corners Vinyl.

LED lighting includes lamps on the east-facing side of the pillars and dome-shaped lights on top of the pillars to match a previous EDC effort on Boston Avenue.

The red brick will come from Acme Brick, and construction materials include black metal at the top and bottom of the pillars.

The height at the center of the arch is 17 feet, 2 inches, and “Welkom to Nederland” appears on both sides in honor of the city’s Dutch heritage.