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(rshsdepot) Port Arthur, TX

Port Arthur, Texas, Group Looks to Rebuild Railway Depot as Sailors' Center

The Beaumont Enterprise

Feb. 14--PORT ARTHUR, Texas--A local group is proposing to rebuild the razed
Kansas City Southern Railway depot as a center for sailors on Procter
"Our intention is to build the new seaman's center on the site and in the
model of the train station," said the Rev. Sinclair Oubre, executive
director of the Port Arthur International Seaman's Center and diocese
director of the Catholic ministry for sailors.

Oubre said the non-profit group plans to break ground in early 2004. So far,
they have raised $440,000 for the facility.

As many as 22,000 seafarers come through south Jefferson County every year,
Oubre said.

"We have been operating out of a mobile home out by the Port of Port
Arthur," said Mike Eaves, vice president of the Port Arthur International
Seaman's Center and an attorney for Benckenstein and Oxford firm in

The center has a small store, telephones, a library of donated books and
magazines, a kitchen and a room with a television and couches. It serves
sailors on the ships coming into the Port of Port Arthur.

"We also provide a van service to take the sailors around town, like the
mall or Wal-Mart," Eaves said.

The new 7,482-square-foot center will also have rooms for sailors to stay
in, a chapel and a banquet room, Oubre said.

"It's not just meant to serve Port Arthur, but all of the seafarers who come
to this area," Eaves said.

The Port Arthur International Seamen's Center will be presenting their plans
at 5 p.m. today at 2607 Rosedale Drive in Port Arthur.

The original train depot was demolished more than 30 years ago.

"Right now we are in the process of having the city of Port Arthur approve
our building plans," Eaves said.

The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org