Flooding from Harvey and more recently Imelda has caused the abandonment of several buildings owned by Orange County. Going further back into natural disasters, Hurricane Ike caused flooding in Bridge City and Precinct 3 that damaged public buildings owned by the county.
County Maintenance Director Kurt Guidry spoke to the Commissioners Court this week about demolishing the building formerly used to house the Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 and the County Commissioner’s office for Precinct 3. Flooding from Ike severely damaged the facility on West Roundbunch Road.
FEMA paid the county to relocate the JP’s court which is now located in a newer building at the Orange County Airport on State Highway 87. The Justice of the Peace is adjacent to the office that houses the Commissioner and the Constable of Precinct 3.
The building on Roundbunch or FM 1442 has been vacated since 2008 according to Guidry. He added that the electricity to the building has been disconnected, the walls were cut at four-foot after the flooding, and the inside of the building has been gutted.
Guidry reminded the Court that FEMA paid the county to tear down the old building on West Roundbunch Road. The county wants to be in compliance with FEMA regulations.
County Judge John Gothia spoke earlier with Guidry about the demolition of the old Precinct 3 building on FM 1442. Gothia believes the slab of the old building could still be useful to the county.
That location could be used to house the special sandbag filling machines the county purchased through a grant several years ago. “We could use this slab here as an area and put a cover on it. We’ve had discussions with Mr. Slacum through Road and Bridge also so that we can move forward with this once it’s taken down and we just need to approve the demolition because we’ve been funded for it,” Gothia suggested.
The sandbag filling machines work well, but the sand must be kept dry and that is why the slab of the current building would need to be covered after the building is demolished. The sandbag filling machines are currently stored at the Precinct 3 Maintenance Barn adjacent to the old Justice of the Peace building on FM 1442.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-