The Westside Development Center in Port Arthur is one step closer to being open for the public to use. This week the city council approved entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with United Way of Mid and South Jefferson County to take over running the administration of the facility for the next two years.
The building is a result of the partnership between the city of Port Arthur, Port Arthur Positive Action and Motiva. Now that the building is complete and the city has the keys.
Director of United Way of Mid and South Jefferson County, Janie Johnson says, It's only a matter of time before you could spend the afternoon in the Westside Community Development Center learning a new skill, like quilting. She says, "It was designed flawlessly from the look of things. We're so impressed with the detail and the thought that was given to the facility."
Bret Lamson grew up in and now teaches in Port Arthur. He is also the designer for the project. He tells 12 News HD, "It's all wifi, so computers can come and anybody with their laptop comes in and the can get the Internet service. It's high tech, you know. We've got wide screen TV's in the two meeting rooms."
In addition to those two meeting rooms, the 5,000 square foot building also holds four classrooms and a demonstration kitchen along with a reception area. But before you can enjoy that, the United Way must secure a 3rd party funder. Johnson tells 12 News HD, that the United Way campaign funds will not be used to run the center, instead, the 3rd party will cover the costs. She says, " The center was built so that it would be of no cost to the community, that it would be a legacy of the crude expansion. Motiva and PAPA were the first partners in this process and they kicked everything off with the actual building of the facility."
Port Arthur City Manager, Floyd Johnson says that partnership laid a strong foundation for the improvement of the city. He tells 12 News HD, "I think it's a classic example of all the components coming together for the betterment of the community and as we have the revitalization of the west side of Port Arthur very high on our priority list, I think we're off to a good start."
Once the third party funder is secured, United Way plans a grand opening for the community and the facility will be open to the public. The Westside Community Development Center is part of the Westside Community Complex located on West Reverend Dr. Ransom Howard St. The Development Center was constructed with an $850,000 dollar grant from Motiva.