Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was the featured speaker at a celebration memorializing
the start of construction for the Big Cypress Bayou Fish and Wildlife Habitat Restoration
Project on August 9 in Jefferson. The event was held at the historic Excelsior Hotel
and was skillfully hosted by the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club and the City of Jefferson.
(Video on Information Page)
Mayor Jeff Fratangelo welcomed the Senator, U.S. Representative Louis Gohmert, several
Corps of Engineer dignitaries and had a special welcome and thanks for Dick Collins
and his mother, Calvert Keoun Collins, formerly of Marshall. Mayor Fratangelo called
the day a special occasion to celebrate a new opportunity for a stronger and more
resilient future for Jefferson.
Senator Hutchison expressed her excitement with being in Jefferson and pleasure she
experienced working on project funding. She projected that it will help protect
the wetlands, re-establish the bald cypress trees, improve water habitats and offer
outstanding educational opportunities. “This new park will be one of Texas’ great
natural habitats and will be enjoyed for generations,” she stated.
Colonel Richard J. Muraski, Jr., Commander and District Engineer for the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, added, “good things come to those who wait. It’s a credit to
the citizens of Jefferson and all those who worked on this project.”
Dick Collins presented closing remarks and thanked all who have been involved over
the 15 year history of planning and development. “This project had stalled and would
not be over the finish line without Jefferson’s mayor, Jeff Fratangelo.”
Fifteen years ago to the day the first meeting to begin the design process was held
at the Excelsior Hotel.