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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Orange plans recreation area for old Cove School site


Last updated 10/11/2022 at 7:01pm

The site of the old Cove school is set to become a recreation area with a walking trail, play area, benches, shaded area, parking lot, and kiosk to tell the history of "Chemical Row," the famed highway lined with the petrochemical plants.

City of Orange Planning Director Kelvin Knauf outlined the plans to the city council on Tuesday. He said Dow Chemical, which bought the original DuPont Sabine River Works plant, the first petrochemical plant, is helping with grants. Knauf said plans are to contact other corporations to contribute.

The total cost of the project at this time is estimated at $350,000. The city is planning to use part of the public works budget, along with federal Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The city bought the dilapidated school complex along DuPont Drive two years ago. The city spent a little more than $10,000 to buy the buildings and lots. The West Orange-Cove school district sold the old school complex about 25 years ago to a private owner. It was later abandoned and became an eyesore along a frequently traveled roadway.

The complex of buildings was 38,360 square feet and the demolition costs, including clearing the property, cost the city about $250,000. City officials at the time said the land would be developed into a park area.

Knauf, who has been working with city grants planner Rita Monson, said the city's public works department has budgeted $80,000 this year for the recreation area project. In addition, the city has budgeted $100,000 of this year's federal CDBG grants, which are allocated to low-income areas. The city then allocate another $100,000 in CDBG money for the next budget year.

Dow is donating $50,000 for the "playscape" area, a small playground area for children, plus another $20,000 for the special kiosk. The play area's total cost is estimated at $75,000 and the kiosk estimate is $23,000.

The walking trail is budgeted to cost $75,000, sidewalks will cost about $25,000, and the parking lot will be at $50,000. Special decorative butterfly bench will cost $15,000, plus another $5,000 will be spent on regular benches. A sunshade to provide a shady spot will be $15,000. Picnic tables will cost $1,500 and trash receptacles will be $2,000. The cost of water fountains will be $5,000.

At this time, the city's public works department, which oversees parks, will pay for portable toilets to the area. The total cost for the recreational development will include an additional $38,000 to pay for something like permanent bathrooms or a covered pavilion.


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