From the desk of Bill McCoy (May 2017)

Transportation is one of the most important components for economic development. If you can’t easily drive to an area, it is unlikely business will invest in that area. Good streets and roads are also necessary for safe travel. The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee made a presentation to the Port Arthur City Council at a meeting in April. 

This plan does not cover the usual maintenance and repair of existing streets but rather focuses on the long range, costly projects as presented below. The purpose of the Chamber’s presentation was to get the city to adopt a plan that all can support.

The plan addressed three goals: Transportation Unification of Port Arthur, Safety, and Development or Redevelopment of land.

 

Transportation Unification: The unification of Port Arthur through the development of good streets that traverse north, south, east and west.

 

Safety: The plan creates wider access and lower speed limits at some of our more dangerous intersections.

 

Development or Redevelopment:  Extending roads through undeveloped land generates new retail and residential investment thereby creating increased property and sales tax revenue for the city.  Creating easier access to downtown Port Arthur allows the more populated areas to access downtown and attract new retail investment or use the renovated parks and attend events.

 

The following streets are included in the plan submitted to the council.

1.     US 69/SH 73 Cloverleaf interchange. Reconstruction: safety

2.     Designated Business Route 87. Generate traffic to downtown.

3.     Complete Frontage Roads on US 69 at F.M 365. Safety

4.     Extend Turnaround lanes on US 69 at FM 365. Safety

5.     Illuminate FM 365 from Spur 93 to SH 347. Safety

6.     Widen 9th Avenue from 36th Street to Lombardy. Access to downtown

7.     Reconstruct Griffing Drive from Lombardy to SH 347. Unification of East and West.

8.     Extend Jimmy Johnson Blvd west to Spur 93. Unification of East and West and increased development.

9.     Extend Savannah Avenue (Spur 215) north to FM 365. Unification of North and South and increased development.

10.  Elevate SH 87 / 73 near Veterans Memorial Bridge. Safety and reduced flooding of highway.

11.  Reconstruct SH 87 from Sabine Pass to High Island. Safety and development of coastal access.

12.  Widen Jade Avenue from FM 365 to SH 73. North and South increased development.

13.  Widen Stadium Road from Lewis Drive to Procter St. North and South and access to downtown.

14.  Illuminate US 69 from Port Arthur City Limits to SH73. Safety

15.  Reduce the speed limit on US 69 between Jimmy Johnson and 39th street.  Safety

 

The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce has no tax funds, nor do we have the power to ask the state, county or federal government for funding. However, if the city would adopt some, or all, of this plan the Chamber does have 630 members and over 2000 representatives of those members, that can speak, lobby and pressure these agencies on behalf of the city to place these projects on their list of funded projects. If the city does not get in line for funding, these expensive projects, they will not get considered. Most of the money from these agencies flows through the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission’s transportation department. When they hold their planning sessions Port Arthur should be in line pushing their unified long-range transportation plan. The Chamber is willing to be there, but we need a plan, on which we can agree and support.

The Chamber appreciates the Council’s willingness to hear our plan and we anxiously await their decision.

The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce will begin its rebranding campaign in May 2017. At a meeting on April 20, the Executive Committee approved the Logo Committee’s recommendation to adopt a new logo. The design was one submitted by Eric Sullivan with e.Sullivan Advertising & Design. The Chamber was a member of the committee organized to design a new logo for the City of Port Arthur. This committee consisted of representatives from the City Council, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Economic Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber, already in the process of designing a new logo, suspended its search to find a single logo to represent Port Arthur. After several months of searching, the final choices were submitted to the city. The Council decided to keep its old logo. The Chamber immediately obtained permission to have Eric Sullivan modify one of the final submissions and the new logo was adopted. Over the next few months the Chamber will begin using the latest version on stationary, business cards, and presentations in all Chamber publications.