PORT ARTHUR — After being fined by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for excessive emissions, Valero refinery makes good on a community service project by building a park in Port Arthur.
"That would be wonderful to see the kids have a park because they don't have much for them to do here," says Gladys Gabriel, who works as a care taker across the future park.
The park will be behind the West Side Development Center on the 600 block of W Rev. Dr. Ransom Howard Street in Port Arthur's west end.
"I just feel the park will be something great for kids to have so they can stay out of trouble," Gabriel says.
This project is in the works after Valero was fined by TCEQ.
"We're more than happy to take care of our business, and if something happens we'll make sure to pay for it," says Paula LaRocca, Environmental Manager at Valero refinery.
The TCEQ fined Valero $200,000 in 2013 for exceeding emissions at their Port Arthur refinery plant.
The company says they are planning on spending about $1 million total on building and maintaining the park, that's about four times what regulators are asking them to spend.
"Over the last few years, emissions at our site has dropped tremendously because we've put additional controls," LaRocca says.
"We've been training our staff to make sure we handle our business like we should," she explains.
Neighbors like Gabriels say while parks are good, they would rather other improvements be made.
"There's a lot of streets that have things that need to be done, they need to do something to correct it," Gabriels explains.
She says it's an opportunity for the company to step up and serve the community with more support.
The park is expected to open by March of next year.
Neighbors say they hope other companies take note by helping making the community a better place.