Visions to redevelop Riverfront Park

Plans are in the works to bring more attractions to Beaumont's Riverfront Park.  The city of Beaumont has applied for a $250,000 grant from the Gulf Tourism and Seafood Promotional Fund to help pay for a recreational area on the water.

The $57 million BP fund is a result of a settlement after the 2010 BP oil spill.  All cities in the gulf states can apply for some of that money.

"I love downtown. I love the architecture. I wish more people could come down here. We need things to keep people here and revive interest and this is a start," says Beaumont resident, Summer Lydick.

Lydick often enjoys lunch at the newly renovated Edison Plaza and she tells 12News that she's waiting for the next big attraction.  That next project is a Riverfront Park makeover.

"We can imagine river front condos. We can imagine a hotel being very successful here. We can imagine a small marina being on the river front. We can imagine a small restaurant," says Community Development Director for the city of Beaumont, Christopher Boone.

The developmental spot is a plot of land behind City Hall. Now, there are multiple railroad tracks sitting on the land. 

Boone says the Port of Beaumont is in the process of moving all but one track onto port property.

"That's great for them for security. It's great for us because it now opens up property for redevelopment," says Boone.

The city says it's time to bring the people to the water. Summer Lydick says she's ready to spend her summers on the Neches.

"I think in the next 10 years, Beaumont is gonna be the next Houston or the next Austin. It'll definitely be a lot more exciting. It's growing," says Lydick.

Boone says the grant money would hire a planner and design firm. Then, the city would have to invest money up front, he says, and the private sector would also have to invest.

The city hopes to have a response in 60 days on if it will receive the grant.  Boone says they hope to have a designer on board by late summer or early fall.


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