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TPW Awards More Than $3 Million in Trail, Local Park Grants
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission today approved $3.28 million to fund 40 recreational trail projects and $750,000 for small community grants for 15 communities.
Thirty-two communities throughout the state and eight TPWD trail projects planned for Brazos Bend, Government Canyon, Hueco Tanks, Huntsville, Palmetto, Purtis Creek, South Llano and Wyler Aerial Tramway state parks received National Recreational Trails Grant monies. In all, 69 trail projects requesting more than $7.5 million in federal funds were submitted for consideration.
Five motorized trail projects received funding approval from the commission. A federal requirement of the trail fund is that 30 percent of the funds be spent on motorized recreational trail projects and 30 percent on non-motorized trail projects, with the remaining 40 percent discretionary.
The City of Childress will receive $388,020 to acquire 583 acres to include ATV trails, parking and restroom facilities. Sam Houston National Forest’s request for $200,000 to renovate a 20-mile trail was approved. Tom’s Dirtwerks in Bexar County will receive $22,800 in trails funding to make improvements to Buffalo Valley MX. The Town of Trophy Club in Denton County will get $120,000 in grant funds to install a new three-mile trail, renovate an older trail and mark trailheads at Marshall Creek ORV Park. An $80,000 grant was approved for Lubbock County Water Improvement District #1 to built a new 16-mile trail, install signs, restrooms and a well at Buffalo Spring Lake Trails.
Eight Texas state parks receiving approval for trails funding were: Brazos Bend ($25,000), Government Canyon State Natural Area ($40,000), Hueco Tanks State Historic Site ($36,800), Huntsville ($100,000), Palmetto ($60,000), Purtis Creek ($100,000), South Llano ($35,000) and Wyler Aerial Tramway ($32,885).
Some of the parks will use funds to do renovation and erosion control on existing trails, while others will construct new trails, bridges and restrooms. In El Paso, Wyler Tramway will be making improvements to a trail to access the Franklin Mountains trail system.
Three Austin area communities received national grant funding for non-motorized trails: $46,023 for the East Austin Hike & Bike Trail; $8,035 for equestrian trails at Granger Lake; and $100,000 for additions and improvements to Reimers Ranch Trails. In addition, small community grants of $50,000 each were awarded to Belton for South Belton Park, Luling for Zedler Mill Community Park and to Taylor for Murphy Park III.
Seven Dallas/Fort Worth area communities received national trail grant funding for non-motorized trails: $90,734 for the City of Arlington’s Audubon Nature Trail; $76,800 for the Possum Kingdom Lake Trail; $93,900 for The Gardens Park in Dalworthington Gardens; $88,600 for Dallas County’s new Sycamore-Dixon Trail; $100,000 for the City of Mineola’s Nature Preserve on the Sabine River; and $50,000 for the Walnut Grove Trail restoration project in Tarrant County. In addition, small community grants of $50,000 each were awarded to Sulphur Springs for Buford Park, West Tawakoni for the city park and Whitewright for the city park.
A number of recreation trail grant projects in the Houston area received funding for non-motorized trails: $10,606 for the Bay Area Rehabilitation Center’s Patsey’s Destiny ADA Nature Trail; $41,000 for the Bay City Trail in Matagorda County; $61,879 for the Baytown Nature Center Trails; $100,000 for the City of Houston’s Lake Houston Park Trails; $100,000 for improvements to the Memorial Park Trail; and $100,000 Creekside Park Trails in The Woodlands. In addition, small community grants of $50,000 each were awarded to Bellaire for Town Park Square and Ambrose Park in the Mission Bend Municipal Utility District #1.
One San Antonio area community — Lakewood Acres — received national trails grant funding of $65,000 for its park trail system. In addition, small community grants of $50,000 were awarded to Boerne for City Lake Park and Windcrest for Takas/Windy Hollow Park.
The National Recreational Trails Fund (NRTF) comes from a portion of the federal gas tax generated by gasoline purchases for off-road recreational vehicles, such as off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers. NRFT provides funding for projects that create new and maintain existing motorized and non-motorized recreational trails.
The Federal Highway Administration administers the funds and distributes them to states via a formula that takes into account state population and sales of fuel for off-road recreational vehicles. Nationwide, the program was appropriated $70 million for the current federal fiscal year (FY2006); Texas’ share of these funds is $3,008,007.
Each project awarded NRFT funds is reviewed by an eight-member Texas Trails Advisory Board and ranked based on the quality of the project, its cost effectiveness, its impact on recreational trail opportunities and geographic distribution of funds.
In March 2006, a 90-day call for proposals was issued. The 40 projects approved were selected from 69 submitted proposals requesting more than $7.5 million in funds.
In addition to recreational trail project funding for major metro areas mentioned above, the Commission also approved funding for the following counties:
- Duval — $32,710 for San Diego Trails in the City of San Diego
- El Paso — $97,060 for the Chihuahuan Desert Experience Trail at Keystone Heritage Park
- Fannin — $98,000 for Powder Creek Park in Bonham
- Hidalgo — $99,750 for trail renovations at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge visitors center
- Hidalgo — $41,000 for Weslaco City Park Trail
- Nueces — $97,400 for the Port Aransas Nature Trail Preserve.
- Refugio — $54,000 for the Woodsboro Healthy Community Trail
The Small Community Program provides grants reimbursing 50 percent of the cost, up to a maximum of $50,000, to political subdivisions responsible for providing public recreation services to their citizens. Small communities are classified as communities with a population of 20,000 or less.
The initiative is funded through the Texas Recreation and Parks Account grant program, established in 1993 by the Texas Legislature to direct a portion of the state sales tax collected on sporting goods for basic outdoor recreation.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department administers the Recreation and Parks Account program and uses a priority scoring system to determine which projects are eligible to receive matching grant funds for recreational projects. For more information on local park grants, call the Recreation Grants division of Texas Parks and Wildlife at (512) 912-7124 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local governments such as cities, counties, municipal utility districts and water districts depend on these grants to develop public outdoor recreation facilities for playgrounds, sports, trails, hunting, fishing, aquatic activities, camping and beautification.
Other Texas projects receiving $50,000 small community grant funds were: City Lake Park in Byers (Clay County), Swenson Park II in Spur (Dickens County), Whitewright City Park (Grayson County), Penick Park II in White Oak (Gregg County), Enid Justin Community Park in Nocona (Montague County) and Bremond City Park (Robertson County).
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