Pleasure Island undergoing multitude of upgrades; check out the details

Published 12:40 am Thursday, April 6, 2023

There will soon be a lot more pleasure on Port Arthur’s island.

On Monday, officials are hosting a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. to celebrate the new Pleasure Island Bird Blind, funded by a hotel occupancy grant from Jefferson County.

“A Great Blue Heron seems to love it out there,” the Port Arthur Convention and Visitors Bureau said in a written statement.

The wooden blind is near the base of the golf ball water tower. (Darragh Castillo/Special to The News)

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“Some other birds that might keep it company are the long-legged Great Egret and Tri Colored Heron. Look for Anhinga, Pie-billed Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant and Green Heron. Spring and Fall migration are especially busy in Port Arthur. Songbirds who may be hanging out include Common Yellowthroat, Carolina Chickadee and Carolina Wren.”

The wooden blind, which sits near the golf ball water tower, was a joint project between the PACVB, Pleasure Island Commission and Golden Triangle Audubon Society members.

Pleasure Island Director George Davis said city crews have been performing continued maintenance to ensure the area is attractive for visitors Monday.

Fun Island Depot

On Wednesday, Fun Island Depot was demolished as officials move forward with the construction of a new playground.

“When I first transferred over here, it was in horrible condition,” Davis said. “We had to take down several old swings and take down a bunch of areas that were hazardous. It was above all a safety hazard to me.”

However, Davis said, he understands the sentimental value of the wooden structure built in 1999.

In November, City Council approved a request to partner with Kraftsman Commercial Playgrounds and Water Parks to construct a new playground.

“We can’t just do something minor because it’s sentimental to everyone,” Davis said.

Pleasure Island Depot was demolished Wednesday. (Monique Batson/The News)

According to a quote from Kraftsman sent to Davis in November, the new structure will cost approximately $749,957.75 and include five swing bays, four single slides, two double slides, and a covered seating area. In addition, there will be a swing compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The shipwreck-themed attraction will be brightly colored with a concentration on navy blue and orange to fit the city’s Wayfinding and Monument Program, which will place numerous signs and plaques around the city, including a large one at the base of the bridge for those entering Pleasure Island. And the playground’s color scheme makes it highly visible from the bridge.

“I want all the kids bothering their parents and grandparents while they’re crossing the bridge,” Davis said. “I’m certain the community is going to like it.”

The project was not expected to be complete until Spring of 2024; however, Davis said, it could be ready as early as Fall.

Additional upgrades

This week Davis received a $25,000 grant from the Jefferson County Tourism Commission, which will be used to replace the concrete picnic tables throughout the island. In addition, 100 new trash receptacles have replaced those that were formerly there.

Boat slips and rows at the marina have been labeled to assist newcomers. And the disc golf course, which has been under renovations for a while, is close to complete. Davis said they are anticipating a ribbon cutting next month.

“The community will really notice we’re doing a lot of work to bring people back to Pleasure Island,” he said.