LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Angeilna Neches River Authority could soon be moving out of the place they have called home in Downtown Lufkin for four decades.
Tuesday morning, the board approved the group's concept design on a new building that will house the water authority. The new building will be built on six acres of land on North John Redditt Drive. The new building could cost around $2 million.
"The first words that come out of my mouth were, 'Wow!'" said General Manager Kelly Holcomb. "It looks amazing."
ANRA has called downtown Lufkin home since the 1970s, but with a growing population and a high demand on water testing has limited the group.
""ANRA's grown over the past few years and we've exceeded this buildings ability to serve us," Holcomb said. "We appreciate what the City of Lufkin has given us but we need to look to our next step. We do a good job with our facilities here, but to have more square footage and a state of the art lab, it will improve our ability to serve the public."
The added squared footage from 6,000 to 8,000 would give room for future buildings. All the growth means more room for better testing that never stops.
"We have ongoing activity," Holcomb said. "It's 24 hours. It never stops."
The group is able to stay up to TCEQ standards on testing in the current building but by growing in the new facility more thorough testing could be done.
"The building does not allow us to do that," Holcomb said. "Moving into a brand new facility that has greater square footage allows us to potentially expand that list of parameters we can begin test on."
Holcomb said another advantage of the new location is the proximity to main projects the group is over.
"We have a large amount of infrastructure up Highway 69 North and Highway 59 North providing sewer infrastructure,"Holcomb said. "This building is located just around the corner from that infrastructure."
Holcomb also addressed the future of Lake Columbia to the board. last April, the lake had its application pulled by the Army Corps of Engineers.
"it is not dead in the water," Holcumb said. "We are still in charge of the project and have the water rights. We are trying to work through the process again and see what industries and businesses we can get to use the lake to make it work. Yes we have to use it for recreation also, but that cannot be the only use."
Holcomb said the political climate has changed, and the future could be bright for the project.
"With legislative cycles with different administrations, different priorities are in place," Holcomb said. "The current Trump Administration has stated publicly, which we support, infrastructure is a must; roads, water sewer. infrastructure is a must and our project falls in that list."