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PARK RESTORATION: Port Arthur says Lakeview splash project back on front burner

A project to create a splash park and other amenities at the site of what once was Lakeview Pool is back on schedule after hitting some snags.

The snags included unforeseen issues such as asbestos and lead found at the site — all during a pandemic.

Chandra Alpough, director of parks and recreation, said bids for a revised plan would be going out within a month, adding it’s too soon for a timeline for the complete project.

A town hall meeting was held in September 2019 and a design was approved by December 2019. By late February 2020 a couple of bids for the project were received but problems were noted.

“We are in the process and want to keep the project going,” Alpough said. We knew there were several things the staff could go, like take down the structures, restrooms and concession (stand).”

A company was brought in to handle asbestos and do testing, and lead was also found — “all in the center of a pandemic,” Alpough said.

Rainwater has collected in what once was Lakeview Pool. This view shows the deep end. (Mary Meaux/The News)

The site

Currently there is a fence surrounding the pool area, and the restrooms and concession stand have been demolished.

It appears as if the pool had been drained, but rainwater has accumulated, filling the 15-feet deep end about halfway. A few broken beer bottles recently littered an area near the 5200 block of Seventh Street portion, and graffiti obscured the sign out front, as well as covering some of the nearby playground equipment.

District 2 Councilman Cal Jones is frustrated the project is taking so long but said he is patient.

Jones looks forward to seeing the splash park, volleyball court, soccer field and covered seating areas.

“The kids in this neighborhood and parents deserve a family friendly environment, and that’s what we will have, a family friendly environment and good atmosphere,” Jones said. “It’s needed to keep the kids’ minds occupied. I’d rather see the kids at the splash park, play volleyball and soccer and sitting out there after dinner with a Coke or 7Up instead of slinging dope and gang banging. Keep the kids’ minds occupied in something constructive.”

Jones said he looks forward to working with Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso on keeping drugs and crime out of the splash park area.

And he’s dedicated to being patient with the project.

“We’re going to make it happen. There’s been a little setback,” he said. “Together we stand, divided we fall. We’ve got to stand together.”

In June 2019, the city council voted 5-0 in favor of a $39,260 contract with Sigma Engineers of Beaumont to design a splash pad and soccer field at the pool area. Repairing the pool and adjacent buildings would have cost upwards of $800,000 it was determined at the time.

Graffiti covers the Lakeview park sign. (Mary Meaux/The News)