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TPW Commission Awards $2.74 Million in Recreation Grants
AUSTIN, Texas — Seven Texas communities will receive $2.74 million in outdoor and indoor recreation grants to help acquire parkland and develop recreational facilities as a result of Thursday’s action by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
The only indoor grant approved for funding was $417,563 in matching funds to expand the Bridgeport Indoor Recreation Center in Wise County. The city plans to renovate the center and expand it from 7,011 square feet to 22,841 square feet at a total cost of $1.54 million. Proposed development includes a gym with basketball court and two volleyball courts, walking track, boxing ring, weight room, children’s activity room, dance/aerobics room, climbing wall, senior activity center, arts and crafts room, offices and storage.
The Bridgeport project was one of five considered for funding by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. TPWD retained another $417,563 in appropriated funds to award during the 2006-2007 biennium.
At its Thursday meeting, the commission also approved $2,032,323 in matching funds for six communities to acquire and develop outdoor recreation sites. The funding pool included FY2006 Texas Recreation and Parks Account revenues and previous Land and Water Conservation Fund (National Park Service) monies received by Texas to help provide basic outdoor public recreation facilities.
The priority projects selected from 22 sponsors by TPW staff were based on a competitive scoring system taking into account site visits and project analyses. For more information on local park grants, contact TPWD’s Recreation Grants Program at (512) 912-7124.
The Commission awarded outdoor recreation grants for projects in the following amounts:
- $500,000 in matching funds to the City of Harlingen in Cameron County for Pendleton Park
- $500,000 in matching funds to the City of Odessa in Ector County for expansion and further development of facilities at McKinney Park.
- $500,000 in matching funds to the City of Taylor in Williamson County to develop East Williamson County Park.
- $269,579 in matching funds to the City of Belton in Bell County for the acquisition of land and development of Harris Park.
- $245,895 in matching funds to the City of El Cenizo in Webb County to expand Municipal Park and develop various recreational facilities.
- $180,988 in matching funds to the City of Hondo to develop 20 acres on city-owned non-parkland as a Nature Trail and Park.
The TRPA program was authorized in 1993 to assist local political subdivisions in Texas in providing basic public recreation facilities. TRPA revenue is derived from a portion of the state sales tax on sporting goods, is dedicated solely for park funding and does not come from funds earmarked for hunting and fishing purposes.
In other business, the commission was briefed by Recreation Grants Branch staff on proposed changes to the various recreational grants programs administered by TPWD necessitated by significant reductions in state and federal funds appropriated for the TRPA program.
The staff’s recommendations in administrative changes and funding reductions were based upon feedback from 30 constituents, which included political subdivisions of Texas, regional councils of government and others.
The commission accepted the following recommendations:
- To reduce the Outdoor Recreation Grants Program reviews from two to one per year, to review the next round of applications review on July 31, 2006 and to award funds at the January 2007 commission hearing.
- To reduce the maximum amount in the outdoor program from $500,000 to $400,000 per application, beginning with the July 31, 2006 review.
- Postpone the regional grant reviews until adequate funding is available.
- Reduce the Community Outdoor Outreach Program reviews to one per year, with the next review of applications to be in February 2006.
Grants staff also recommended that if additional LWCF monies are apportioned by the National Park Service, those additional funds shall first be used to restore the maximum allowable request per outdoor program application to $500,000; secondly, be used to fund additional outdoor projects, and then if adequate funding still remains, that an annual regional grant program review be reinstated.
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