The Orange Riverfront Boardwalk and Pavilion is about 80-percent complete and on schedule for a may grand opening to the public. The construction began last June and was divided into three phases: riverbank stabilization, the boardwalk and the pavilion or vertical construction. If this rainy weather doesn't put the project behind schedule, Orange residents should be able to take a stroll down the boardwalk in May.
Once it is complete the riverfront boardwalk will be an icon for Orange connecting the jewels of the city. Director of Economic Development for the City of Orange, Jay Trahan tells 12 News HD, "It's such a natural asset in downtown Orange. So now from a quality of life perspective we're improving accessibility to the riverfront as well as visibility and those who are interested will be able to walk all along the riverfront now from one end to the other in downtown Orange, which will be a nice tie in with Lamar State College Orange and The Stark Foundation properties as well as the City of Orange and Orange County properties."
The first phase of the project, the riverbank stabilization, is complete. Trahan says the project meets all required standards, "basically it involved some regulatory approvals in terms of the U.S. Corp of Engineers, as well as working with the Texas General Land Office."
The boardwalk itself is made of a Brazilian hardwood called Massaranduba which has a sustainable life of 50 years. The only part of the boardwalk left to be constructed is right in front of the performance pavilion. Trahan tells 12 News HD, "It will be approximately 50 feet up in the air with a canopy with a coverage area of 2,000 square feet. We've had about two weeks of delays overall between the months of December and the first part of January but we are still trying to do the things we are able to do without moving heavy equipment around the project. So we're still making progress. We're tracking to have substantial completion by the end of February, final completion by the end of March and hopefully the finished look by May 2013."
Leslie Leger is a nursing student at Lamar State College Orange and an Orange resident, she tells 12 News HD, "Orange needs this and hopefully it'll build businesses and help Orange grow.
City officials hope so too. Trahan says, "That in itself could be the lynch pin that would position the city to be able to attract corporate contacts and developers to consider a project in downtown Orange."
Trahan says the project costs $6,177,000, but did not cost the Orange tax payers a dime because it was paid for through a 20-year EDC bond program and a generous grant from The Stark Foundation.