EDC spends $4 million to start revitalization

The Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation plans to spend more than $4 million to move their office downtown.

With for sale signs and boarded up windows lining the streets of Downtown Port Arthur it almost looks like a ghost town.

After coming downtown for a doctor visit 15-year-old Kiara baker and her mom immediately turned to leave but they both wish there were more activities available.

"They could have a bowling alley, skating rink, laser tag, everything in one building, these buildings are big enough," said Kiara.

And the Economic Development Corporation plans to help Kiara's wish come true.

"That is our desire, that is our hope to bring small businesses back," said EDC director Floyd Batiste.

He says the first step in they're master plan to breath some life back into downtown is retrofitting and moving into the old Port Arthur savings building on Procter Street - giving it a complete makeover.

"We are committed to revitalizing this area," said Batiste. "We're putting our money were our mouth is."

The more than four million dollar construction project will be paid for through residents sales tax dollars Batiste says this is necessary to attract private businesses to downtown.

"We are investing in this community," said Batiste. "We want to make it a better place to live, work and play."

"I hope to see a change and to bring downtown Port Arthur back to life," said Kiara.

The former bank building has three floors and enough space for other occupants, like the greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce.

Batiste says the EDC should move into its new, rehabilitated digs by March or April of 2014, if all goes to plan.


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