Buddhist Temple right of way is almost done deal

by Susan Martinez, The Port Arthur News, June 2, 2010

PORT ARTHUR, TX (USA) -- Buu Mon Buddhist Temple officials have agreed to pay a $2,400 fee to acquire limited rights to the alleyway directly behind the building, at 2701 Procter Street.

The fee, the sum of the minimum fair market price for 2010, will provide abbot officials exclusive rights to an estimated 6,000 square feet of alleyway.

The city of Port Arthur is not fully abandoning the throughway because of the needed access to utilities for repair and service to other residences in the area. These utilities may include pre-existing water, cable and phone lines running to homes along Procter Street.

The alleyway is also in a portion of a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood plain, so is not immune to the historically erratic weather conditions.

The expansion will allow the Abbot to expand its parking and staging for seasonal dramas, including the annual Lotus and Bamboo Festival and Vietnamese New Year's events. The space will also be a staging area for Lion and Dragon troupes and Lotus dancers and other youth programs, such as Boy Scouts and Vietnamese as a second language classes.

Construction workers have been working diligently to finish refacing and painting the temple -- which mimics the Asian pagoda style -- while landscapers are trying to salvage the 14-year-old gardens in time for this weekend's Lotus and Bamboo Festival.

With its open shell format, the 20 feet wide and 300 feet long strip was becoming a hazard to young weekend visitors because of the gravel roadway and random traffic.

Specifically, the right-of-way is in the block between Procter, 5th, El Paso and Florida streets.