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TPW Commission Awards More Than $6.7 Million in Outdoor Recreation Grants
SAN ANTONIO — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission today awarded more than $6.8 million in competitive grants for city and county parks, ball parks, swimming pools, nature trails and other outdoor recreation facilities across the state.
Commissioners approved 21 out of 58 grant requests from major urban municipalities and counties, as well as smaller Texas communities and governmental entities. The state matching funds were awarded through three programs administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in the form of: outdoor recreation grants, urban outdoor recreation grants and small communities grants.
A total of $2.74 million in Outdoor Recreation grants was awarded to six of 25 local governments that applied for matching state funds to provide basic public recreation facilities. The monies come from sporting goods sales tax revenues that fund the Texas Recreation and Parks Account (TRPA) authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1993 and from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
Schleicher County received $500,000 in matching funds for the renovation of 5.8-acre Schleicher County Park in Eldorado. The money will be used to demolish the 55-year-old swimming pool and construct a new pool, as well as for installation of a walking trail, picnic tables, game tables, a playscape, educational exhibits, signage, trees and gardens.
The City of East Bernard was awarded $500,000 in matching funds to acquire 17.5 acres to develop a community park to be located in the northeast part of the city. Community Park will include a two-acre natural area, soccer field, basketball court, sand volleyball court, pavilion, trail, picnic tables with grills, butterfly garden, baseball field, batting cages, a canoe/kayak launch and lighting and plumbing fixtures for restrooms being donated to the project.
A matching grant of $500,000 was awarded to the City of Greenville to acquire 73 acres of city-owned, non-parkland to further develop Graham Park. The city proposes to add a lighted trail, disc golf course, lighted fishing pier, picnic tables, dog park, horseshoe complex with pavilion, lighted volleyball court and playgrounds, and to renovate the basketball court and preserve a 55-acre natural area.
Kendall County received a $500,000 in matching grant to develop 33 acres within the 375-acre Joshua Springs Park and Preserve for a 4-H Horse Club Youth Agricultural and Equestrian Center in the western part of the country between Comfort and Boerne. The new facilities will include an arena/show barn/pavilion with rainwater catchment system, equestrian trail, bird blind, RV campsites, dog park, amphitheater, picnic tables and grills, habitat garden, bio-filtration pond, interpretive signage and a kiosk.
The City of San Angelo was awarded $500,000 in matching funds to expand and further develop 2.38 acres along the Concho River Trail. The proposal includes a 2.38 acre natural area dedication, paddling trails launch dock and portage area, water access points/overlooks, trail, benches and seating areas, picnic shelter, interpretive amphitheater, natural playscape, exercise equipment, washer and horseshoe pits, bocce ball, lighting, drinking fountains, bike racks, xeriscape landscaping and interpretive signs.
The City of Los Fresno received a grant of $249,368 in matching funds to further develop the 4.22-acre Community Park in the western part of the city. Development will include a sports court, trail, pavilion, and restroom improvements, lighted skate park, splash pad, climbing boulders, game tables, horseshoe pits, playground, picnic tables with grills, benches, butterfly garden, water fountains and bike rack.
A total of $3.33 million in Urban Outdoor Recreation grants was approved for outdoor recreation projects in five counties and cities with populations exceeding 500,000. The 80th Legislature authorized the special funding when it created the Large County and Municipality Recreation and Parks Account (Urban Parks Account) by amending the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code. Monies for the fund come from the Texas Recreation and Parks Account (TRPA) program whose revenues derive from a portion of state sales tax on sporting goods.
Fort Worth and Houston both received $1 million in matching funds to develop urban parks. The City of Fort Worth will use the matching state funds to acquire .48 acres of city-owned, non-parkland to further develop the Marine Creek Corridor in the north central part of the city. The city’s plans call for the renovation of softball, soccer and multipurpose fields, trails with pedestrian bridge, playground, and pavilion; and development of a soccer field, trails, canoe launch/fishing pier, picnic tables, games tables, benches, information kiosk, walkways, trail signs, landscaping, plant restoration, and erosion controls.
Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston will undergo an extensive redevelopment thanks to the $1 million grant of matching funds awarded by the commission. Slated improvements to the 20-acre park include relocating several monuments and a historic home, renovating the Historical Museum and adding a water feature, playground, concert lawn, special event staging area, restroom, nature education area, walking paths and sidewalks, picnic tables, drinking fountain, gardens, native trees and highway bridge enhancement.
Also in Houston, Harris County will receive $997,200 in matching funds to acquire 2.27 acres to expand and develop Buffalo Bend Park, located along the Buffalo Bayou on S. Sgt. Marcario Garcia Drive in the East End, south of Highway 90. Plans for the park include solar-powered pump utilities, roads and parking, a restroom, storage shed, overlook shelter, trails, fencing, wetland boardwalks, floating dock/canoe launch, hand wash station, bird and bat boxes, exotic plant removal, native tree, shrub, and wetland plantings, butterfly garden, drinking fountain, benches, trash receptacles, interpretive signage.
Dallas County was awarded a $230,000 grant for matching funds to acquire by waiver 9 miles along both sides of the Trinity River, located south of IH20/Highway 635, in the southeast area of the county, and 385 acres along the Trinity River from Goat Island Preserve to Riverbend Preserve.
The fifth urban outdoor grant approved was in the amount of $112,600 for the City of San Antonio to further develop the 596-acre Friedrich Park located in the northwest part of the city. Improvements to be funded include an entry kiosk, walkways, benches, interpretive signs and landscaping.
Finally, a total of $722,796 in Small Community grants was awarded to 10 communities out of 25 that requested $1.7 million in matching fund assistance to provide basic public recreation facilities.
Six east Texas and two central Texas communities, as well as a Panhandle town were awarded $75,000 each in matching state funds to acquire and develop recreational facilities, such as public swimming pools and ballparks. In addition, Kempner near Lampasas was awarded $72,796 to develop that city’s first park, which will include a playground, picnic pavilion and wildlife viewing area.
East Bernard in southeast Texas will use its grant to help acquire an existing 1.3-acre park with a swimming pool and renovate the bath house, and to install a butterfly garden and interpretive signage.
Near Houston, the Reid Road Municipal Utility District was awarded a grant to develop 2 acres of Cypress-Fairbanks ISD property adjacent to Willbern Elementary School. The $75,000 in matching funds will be used to build a trail with exercise stations, install an experimental garden and plant trees and wildflowers.
In northeast Texas, Cooper’s request for matching funds was approved to make improvements to Harmon Park II. Improvements will include renovation of park trails, tennis courts and rodeo facilities and to develop basketball courts and RV campsite. White Oak received funding to further develop 14-acre Penick Park by installing a disc golf course and fishing pier and planting native trees.
The east Texas community of Trinity was awarded a grant to further develop the 6.71-acre Trinity Baseball Park. Improvements will include renovations to the baseball field and batting cages and installation of a butterfly garden. Palestine received a grant to renovate Reagan Park’s bandstand and pavilion, and develop a sprayground, trail and do landscaping.
Two cities in the Austin area were okayed for recreation grants, as well. Bastrop will use the state matching funds to further develop an acre within Fisherman’s Park/Spray Park by adding xeriscape, a concession stand, splash pad and picnic facilities. Taylor plans to use the matching funds to beautify the entrance to Regional Park and Sport Complex by planting trees, installing a wildflower garden and wetlands area, and making other improvements.
The Panhandle community of Lockney was awarded a $50,000 grant to totally renovate the city pool and deck.
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