Port Arthur Park & Community Garden
2015 - ongoing
Terralab was tasked with leading community input meetings and developing a plan that satisfied the needs and desires of the local residents while meeting TCEQ’s requirements for its Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) program. Community input was critical to the development of the project program and its design implementation. Feedback from meetings with local community leaders and residents, along with environmental criteria established by the TCEQ, guided the project program.
Initiated by one of the city’s largest refineries, the Port Arthur Park & Community Garden project originated from a desire to give back to the local community. The funding mechanism for the park construction consisted of monies allocated by the refinery and the Texas Committee on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) orders. Rather than giving the money to a state fund, the refinery insisted on putting it back into the community. The one half square block park is located on city of Port Arthur property and dedicated in perpetuity in a park easement. The park is situated in the Westside neighborhood, adjacent to a prominent community center.
It is being developed to include organic vegetable garden plots, a fruit tree orchard, rainwater harvesting and re-use, a central gathering pavilion, work space and storage areas, recreational lawn space, and a natural play area amongst a pollinator garden and ‘food forest’. The design focuses on maximizing the efficiency of site by creating a compact, central organization of elements, optimizing functionality and growing conditions, while planning for future expansion.