Groundbreaking kicks off work for Port Arthur’s new animal services center; see the details

Published 4:43 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

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Karla Crossett and Aundria Crossett have long championed for animals, volunteering their time to care for them and find them good homes.

So naturally the two women were on hand Monday afternoon to witness the groundbreaking for the Port Arthur Animal Services Center.

Located at 3615 Gates Blvd., where St. Mary Hospital once stood, the building is going to include a lobby, three offices for administration, a Sally port, large training area, ample storage and medical space for animals.

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Another section of the building is going to hold 38 kennels, eight of which serve as quarantine areas. Each kennel is going to have inside and outside space and be air-conditioned.

“It just can’t come soon enough,” Karla Crossett said. “This building could be done tomorrow. That’s how urgently it’s needed.”

Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bill Bartie veered a bit from his usual greeting of the greatness of the city to say “today is a good day to be a dog in the city of Port Arthur,” which elicited some laughs from the crowd that gathered.

The city’s current animal services center, located at 201 4th Street, was built in1978 and has long been too small for the needs of the city.

Bartie also thanked the Christus Foundation for the contribution and donation of the land to the city.

Current and past city staff mingled for the event, leading City Manager Ron Burton to call Lawrence Baker and Deborah Verrett to the podium with him.

Burton was director of planning when Baker was a staff member heading up code enforcement, and Verrett previously worked in the animal control department.

“We have actually built on the backs of these individuals,” Burton said.

Pamela Langford, assistant city manager, was unable to attend the groundbreaking but sent comments that were read by Albert Thigpen, assistant city manager-administration.

“Today marks a significant milestone as we celebrate the groundbreaking of our new modern animal services center,” Thigpen read. “This project was made possible through the issuance of certificates of obligation, reflect our commitment to the welfare of our furry friends and the safety of our community. The new animal services center will serve as a hub for responsible pet ownership, providing essential services such as shelter, adoption programs and animal care. It stands as a testament to our dedication to creating a more compassionate and harmonious environment for both animals and residents alike.”

Nederland-based Construction Zone of Southeast Texas was awarded the contract in the amount of $7.3 million. PGAL is the architect.

Darlene Thomas-Pierre, code compliance manager, said residents should start seeing activity at the location very soon, beginning with site prep.