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On July 8, 2010, in the midst of a torrential downpour, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service broke ground on a $6.2 million Visitor's Center and Administration Building in Anahuac, Texas, built upon land donated by the Chambers County government. The building is intended to serve up to 5.7 million people in the Houston-Sugarland-Baytown metropolitan area and the Texas Gulf Coast. Service and local government officials addressed the Anahuac community about this important project.
Tim Cooper, Project Director, Texas-Chenier Administration Building and Visitor's Center:
One of the great aspects of the facility that we are going to talk about today is partnership; we've had unbelievable partnerships that have gotten us to the point that we're at today. There were a lot of times on the road, to be quite honest, that this was a really difficult thing to put together, but we think that the support of the community, the support of our friends group, and everybody in the service to try and get us to a place that is representative of the treasures that I talked about, is really, really monumental.
Judge Jimmy Sylvia, Chambers County, Texas
This 40 acres, I think it's 40 acres, is that right? We were debating on what to do with it. Some part of the group wanted to sell it, keep it, what do you do? We don't need any more parks, because we are park full right now; and then this idea came up and it was a great fit.
Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, USFWS, Southwest Region Director
I just have to give you a little bit of background information about kind of how excited I am to be here today, because the first time I came down here, it was a couple of days after [hurricane] Ike or the day after Ike, and I can remember coming over to see you, judge, and you were out doing your thing. I think I sat down with...Sarah...Sarah, OK, and Sarah met me at the door, I just hardly had a chance to get through the threshold, and she said, "I just want to thank you; thank you for being such an active part of the community and for helping us the last time we had a disaster, which was [hurricane] Rita. It was just a humbling experience for me because I hadn't done anything. But I knew that my staff and the crew that was down here had done what I had always asked them to do, and that was to become an integral part of the community.
This was our #1 facility. It was, and this was a project that we knew we had to make happen because of the stars being aligned-the fact that the county stepped up, the fact that we had Recovery Act dollars, and the fact that we had community support. There's no way that we could lose. If you're like me, I grew up, down at the creek, we were talking about that earlier Sarah, and those were some of the greatest days of my life. That probably is why I ended up doing what I am doing; and I think that we are missing an opportunity to turn these kids on, turn that cotton-pickin' computer off, get some mud between your toes and have a good time. About 1,500 kids had come through the environmental education program here at the refuge, so that's a testament to our support of the community education process. So we want to continue to have this facility be part of how we reach out to kids, how we help them explore nature, and I think that this will set the standard, not only from the standpoint of Chambers County, but we're hoping in the state of Texas. It's a pretty significant situation that we're able to build the administration building and visitor's center here, and basically open up the refuge for visitation throughout this part of the world. From that standpoint we certainly think that we can be part of the county's economic generation in attracting those people here, and probably more than anything else, I want to emphasize the fact that this community is committed to natural resources, and the service is also committed to being part of this community, as we support those natural resources.
The combination between the partnership that has been forged inside of the community itself, and the fact that we, in a very humbling sense, have been able to be part of this community, and to be able to be part of, what I would consider an economic generator for the county. The building will actually be LEED certified, which is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. So we're going to take advantage of things like solar generation on the roof, we're going to take advantage of recycled materials; in terms of building it, we'll have chargers for electrical vehicles. We're trying to emulate this type of facility at four of our other refuges; across the state of Texas, and perhaps throughout the region.
My commitment to you, as we move forward with this facility, and this program and Chambers County, is to never forget how we got here; and therefore that partnership will always be embraced, and we will always be one of you in this particular area of the country.
So thank you all, very much for coming today, and thank you for supporting the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Title: New Administration Building and Visitor's Center at Texas Chenier Plain Refuge Complex
On July 8, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service broke ground on a $6.2 million Recovery Act project to build a Visitor's Center and Administration Building in Anahuac, Texas. The building is intended to serve up to 5.7 million people in the Houston-Sugarland-Baytown metropolitan area and the Texas Gulf Coast. Service and local government officials addressed the Anahuac community about this important project.
Location: Anahuac, TX, USA
Date Taken: 7/8/2010
Video Producer: Kelly Mensah , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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