MARY MEAUX — The future of Pleasure Island is exciting

Published 12:30 am Thursday, January 5, 2023

Port Arthur’s plans to revamp Fun Island Depot playground is just one piece of good news about the diamond in the rough called Pleasure Island.

The playground was built in 1999 as a replica of the old Kansas City Southern train depot that was once located downtown, but now the wooden structure is closed to the public due to safety issues.

Pleasure Island Director George Davis did some research and found a company named Kraftsman Commercial Playgrounds and Water Parks handled the original playground. So Davis and a company representative put their heads together and came up with a plan that includes being in line with the colors that will be used in the city’s rebranding project and keeping with a nautical theme.

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The playground will have a similar size footprint but since it will be more modern, it will have activities that are inclusive, such as a swing that can be used by a person in a wheelchair as well as a baby swing. And there will be a covered area so people can watch their children at play.

The new playground will be constructed by Kraftsman Commercial Playgrounds and Water Parks of Spring with a projected cost at $749,957.75.

But the playground is just one part of the city’s plan for the Island.

In May, voters in Port Arthur approved the sale of a near 36-acre piece of land there. This will mark the first time that land on the Island will be sold, Davis said.

There has been interest in the property that is near the site of the former Bahama Beach Club, near the marina but as of late, no sale has been made.

Work is also in the plans for the Disc Golf Course in the Island.

Pleasure Island is a fisherman’s dream with its access to Sabine Lake and the ship channel. A number of professional fishing tournaments have been held on the Island, and if you take a look at the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, you’ll see a page devoted to water body records for fishing Sabine Lake.

For anglers there is a fishing pier at the Causeway and another near the North end of the Island, and boaters have several areas to launch at.

Birders can take in views of a number of feathered friends from various ducks, pelicans and roseate spoonbills to sandpipers and skimmers and plenty of other birds can be viewed on the Island.

There are places to sit and picnic, to view the ships in the ship canal, sit in solitude or have fun with family and friends.

And swim.

I have a few spots that I go to to swim on the Island. Even used to bring my kids when they were growing up.

I say all of this to say I understand Davis’ and the city’s vision for the Island — to bring people back, although some of us never left.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at