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Upcoming election, beautification projects could reshape Port Arthur’s quality of life

If approved by voters in May, three Port Arthur recreation areas will soon see major renovations that city leaders hope brings an economic boost to a storm-stricken city.

Plans were presented this week to the Port Arthur City Council, detailing improvements in the works for Adams Park, Rose Hill Park and the Recreation and Senior Citizens Center.

“The citizens of this community have suffered from back-to-back disasters,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Chandra Alpough. “Port Arthur has experienced enough loss and suffering, and it’s time to do what our community does best. It’s time to bounce back.”

Making upgrades to the three recreation areas, Alpough added, would improve the quality of life and sense of place for Port Arthur residents.

And while she’s not old enough to vote, it seemed like something Analis Fabre would be in support of, as the soon-to-be 2-year-old toddled around the playground at Rose Hill Park Thursday in search of swings.

Instead, with the help of her dad, she settled for the slide.

Adams Park

Located at 3401 S. Sgt. Lucian Adams Drive, Adams Park sits on 47.65 acres and includes three baseball fields, one football field, four softball fields, a tennis court, a playground and a pavilion.

Suggested enhancements include a multi-sport complex, adding concession and restroom facilities, adding shaded event seating, upgrading to competition-level fields, improving the irrigation systems, adding athletic field lighting, a walking trail, a soccer complex and a cricket field.

The Parks and Recreation Department also plans to address current infrastructure, such as parking and road conditions.

A plaque at Rose Hill Park on Woodworth Boulevard details its dedication in 1957. (Monique Batson/The News)

Rose Hill Park

This 15.24-acre park is located at 200 Woodworth Blvd. It currently has a tennis court, adult exercise system, soccer goals, a playground and open areas.

Upgrades would include a walking trail, family picnic areas, game tables, inclusive park features, portable bleachers and a stage, a multi-use field, a covered pavilion, and changes to the parking area. 

Recreation and Senior Citizens Center

What once housed the Port Arthur YMCA, 1308 9th Avenue, currently serves as a recreation center with a gym, indoor pool, weight room, computer room, game room study room and offers line dancing.

Suggested enhancements for this 20,000 square-foot facility include updating code and American Disabilities Act compliance, upgrading restrooms and locker rooms, modernizing the facility, addition additional workout rooms, adding a teen room, renovating the pool area and improving parking.

However, this project could be the one to see the biggest change.

Councilman Kenneth Marks questioned the idea of tearing down the current facility and rebuilding.

“A constituent came to me and said Beaumont built a new center and we’re renovating something that’s 60-70 years old,” Marks said.

And starting from scratch, Alpough said, is not out of the question.

Currently the department is looking at options to see what would be most cost-effective while providing the facility with the needed improvements.

Funding

The proposition to fix the facilities will be placed before voters on May 1 and will ask to reallocate $3 million in sales tax revenue split up into $1 million each year for three years.

But Alpough said other means for funding are expected, as the department searches for grants and other ways to gain the necessary money.

Additional beautification

The Port Arthur parks won’t be the only part of town to get a makeover, as Motiva Enterprises plans to start a tree-planting initiative this month.

Representative Claire Jackson said the employee-volunteer event includes planting more than 40 live oak trees down Woodworth Boulevard.

“We hope these trees will be a beauty for Port Arthur for years to come,” she said.

Jackson added that Motiva is working with arborists that will care for the trees and ensure they do not harm streets or sidewalks.

Mayor Pro Tem Charlotte Moses said she is looking forward to the tree planting, and for people coming into Port Arthur to “see the beauty.”

The group will meet April 24 at Rose Hill Park. The event is scheduled to take place from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Anyone is welcome to volunteer.