The Port Arthur News
GROVES — The city of Groves is on an upswing as grants and federal monies come in for much needed projects and sales tax revenues begin to bounce back.
D.E. Sosa, Groves city manager, said one of the biggest things that occurred in the city in 2012 was the receipt of $2.5 million in Hurricane Ike funding. The money, he said, is divided up into projects with $1.8 million going to facility improvements to the lift station, $300,000 for street improvements and more.
The city has two years to head up the projects.
Groves is also making progress on its new police station/emergency operations center/court facility. A majority of the cost — 75 percent — is paid for through a Port Security Grant.
The current police station/city hall/court was constructed in 1974 and now, 38 years later, the police department has outgrown its portion.
For example, a conference room now serves as an office for two people and two personnel are using an office designed for one person. The evidence locker is 25 to 30 percent of what it should be and there are no rooms for communications, electronics, computer servers or other high-tech devises. Cables run from another building to the police station for communications thus making it difficult to go to a modern system.
There are safety issues as well in the 3,500 square foot building — one way in and one way out.
The new building will be approximately 8,000 square feet and allow for the proper amount of storage and the Emergency Operations Center, an important point to note in case of a major event. During Hurricane Rita in 2005, emergency responders worked out of their police cars and the fire department when the police station was damaged. The fire station also became the command center with 20 to 30 people working out of the same office.
The Emergency Operations Center will also feature a small dispatch system to allow them the capability to connect with other operations centers as they are developed throughout the region.
The new facility will be located behind Bruce’s Market Basket, Sosa said, adding that ground breaking should take place some time in February.
Also in 2012 the city hired two new police officers. Christopher Robin and Alex Farrell were sworn into office at city hall on Dec. 3.
Sales tax revenue is beginning to move in the right direction, Sosa said.
“And we are hoping to see something positive happen with the old Super Kmart building. After Motiva left (expansion completed) we saw $15 million in value leave the city which translated to $300,000 in tax revenue,” he said. “We are hoping something will come up. Either the building is turned back into a warehouse or maybe a training facility, something positive.”
The 166,000 square-foot building sits on 24 acres of land.
The future looks bright for the city of Groves.
“We are looking forward to attracting new businesses to Groves in 2013,” he said. “And we are talking to businesses right now about relocating or expanding.”
Sosa wants to continue to promote the city of Groves and continue the task of cleaning up dilapidated buildings as well.
The city also has a surprise in store for 2013, he said. The water tower on Crescent Drive will be repainted to show the city’s connection with the “little band from Texas,” ZZ Top. The rock band began playing in Groves at the Town House in 1970 and today are the oldest band with the same continuous members in rock.
The city has worked with representatives of ZZ Top and Sosa hopes to have them on hand to dedicate or commemorate the water tower.
“They are a major band in rock n’ roll and got their start here,” he said. “You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.”