Presenter: Walt Dabney
Agenda Item No. 11
Local Park Funding
I. Discussion: The Texas Recreation and Parks Account program was authorized in 1993 to assist local political subdivisions of the state in providing basic public recreation facilities. The revenue is generated from a portion of the state sales tax on sporting goods.
During the last legislative session the following rider was attached to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department appropriation bill:
"Amounts appropriated above include funding for the following... establishment and development of the meteor crater site."
The Odessa meteor crater is located approximately 8 miles southwest of Odessa Texas off Interstate Highway 20. The crater is situated within a 10-acre parcel, which is fenced on all sides. This 10-acre parcel is part of a 40-acre site owned by Ector County. Through a memorandum of agreement between Texas Parks and Wildlife and Ector County, a master plan for development of the crater site has been prepared. The Odessa meteor crater was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1965. A National Natural Landmark is a nationally significant natural area that has been designated by the Secretary of the Interior.
Facilities proposed for development at the meteor crater site will provide for outdoor education and recreation. Proposed facilities include the following:
- Entry portal
- Visitor center
- Residence and maintenance building
- Group picnic shelters
- Individual picnic tables
- Outdoor classroom
- Interpretive trail
- Interpretive pavilion
- Parking area
- Perimeter fencing
Ector County will manage the architectural and engineering design of the meteor crater site and the construction of the associated facilities. Texas Parks and Wildlife will have no management, operations, or maintenance responsibility for this site after the development is complete. The Department will assist the County in developing an interpretation program for the meteor crater site. The costs associated with the development of the site will be reimbursed to Ector County under a grant agreement through the Texas Recreation and Parks Account grant program. The County will be required to follow all grant administration rules of that program.
II. Recommendation: The staff recommends that the Commission adopt the following motion:
"The Executive Director is authorized to enter into a Texas Recreation and Parks Account grant agreement with Ector County for the development of the recreational, educational and interpretive facilities associated with the Odessa meteor crater site. Reimbursement to Ector County of expenses associated with the development of the Odessa meteor crater site shall not exceed $500,000. Upon completion of the development of the meteor crater site, Ector County shall be fully responsible for the operation, maintenance and management of the meteor crater site."
Attachment - 1
1. Exhibit A – Fiscal Note (available upon request)
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