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$5.6 million in Outdoor Grants to Benefit Texas Communities
AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission today approved $5.6 million in competitive grants for city and county parks across the state. Commissioners chose 12 out of 52 eligible grant requests for outdoor recreation facilities funding.
Funding for the Outdoor Recreation grants come from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the state Texas Recreation and Parks Account (TRPA).
The commission approved only two out of 26 Outdoor Recreation projects submitted by political subdivisions with less than 500,000 population that were eligible for matching funds from the LWCF program.
Willacy County will receive $500,000 to acquire 48.5 acres and develop Laguna Point Recreation Area near Port Mansfield. Project plans include a 20-acre natural open space dedication area, fishing pier, playground, fishing dock, kayak launch, boardwalks, trails, picnic shelters and interpretive signs.
The City of Anna in Collin County also will receive a $500,000 grant to acquire 39.7 acres to expand and further develop Slayter Creek Park located in the northern area of the city. The project proposes a 39.7 acres natural open space dedication, disc golf course, splash pad, trail, ball fields, gazebo, skate park, additional trees, and interpretive signs.
Five political subdivisions with populations of more than 500,000 were approved for funding under the TRPA Urban Outdoor Recreation grant program. Austin, Bexar County, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio will receive $4.25 million in matching funds for outdoor recreation projects.
The City of Austin will receive $1 million to renovate and further develop 10 acres of the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail at Auditorium Shores on Riverside Drive. Plans include expansion of a parking lot, restroom and utilities, trail realignment, shoreline restoration, exercise stations, restroom, landscaping, drinking fountain, trash cans, and signs.
Bexar County will receive $1 million to renovate facilities at 39-acre Mission County Park II, located at 6030 Padre Drive in the south central San Antonio. County plans include renovation of the rotunda, a lighting upgrade at the dance pavilion, demolition and replacement of the pavilion and stage, new ticket booth/restroom, trail, permeable surface parking lot, trail, pavilion, native tree plantings, site grading, drainage improvements, habitat restoration and burial of overhead utility lines.
The City of Fort Worth will receive $1 million to purchase 246 acres and develop Northwest Community Park located just west of Interstate 35-W and north of Loop 820 at 8575 Blue Mound Road. Development will include utilities, athletic field improvements, canoe launch/dock/overlook, paddle trail, nature trail, concrete trail, information kiosk, picnic tables, benches, parking lot, dam/spillway repairs, riparian and natural area restoration, removal of invasive species and signage.
The City of Houston will receive $1 million to acquire 0.75 acres to further develop Emancipation Park, located southeast of downtown at 3018 Dowling Street. Plans call for environmental clean-up and installation of utilities, grading and drainage, parking, walking trail, entry plaza, water feature, native trees and drip irrigation, entry sign and program acknowledgement sign.
The City of San Antonio will receive $250,000 to renovate and redevelop the playgrounds at San Juan Brady Park, 2307 S. Calaveras; South Side Lions Park, 3100 Hiawatha; and Walker Ranch Historic Landmark Park, 12603 West Avenue. The city plans to demolish and remove existing playground equipment, replacing it with new playground equipment with new fall zones.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also received 21 eligible applications from subdivisions with less than 20,000 population seeking a total of $1.38 million in Small Community Recreation Grant funding. The commission voted to award federal matching funds of $75,000 each to five governmental entities for the acquisition and development of public recreation facilities.
The City of Centerville will use its grant to renovate and further develop 0.582 acre Joseph A. Sullivan Park located at Main and Polk Streets in the central area of the city. Development plans include a splash pad, playground renovation, trail, gardens, interpretive signs, flagpole, tree planting and program signs. Landscaping, lighting, bench, drinking fountain, and professional services will be provided at no cost to the project.
Crystal City will use its grant to renovate the municipal pool, located adjacent to Juan Garcia Park on the city’s east side. Development plans include replacement of all plumbing appurtenances, filtration system, wading pool, ladders, deck and tiles and sandblasting of the pool surface.
The Harris County WCID #136 will use its grant to renovate and further develop nine-acre Birnam Wood Nature Park, located southeast of Spring in the central area of the water district. Development will include trail renovation and extension, fitness stations, picnic tables, benches, butterfly, hummingbird, herb and Xeriscape gardens with solar-powered drip irrigation, solar lighting, interpretive signs, trash receptacles and program signs.
The City of Lorena will use its grant to renovate and further develop 2.787 acre McBray Park located in the west central area of the city. Development plans include a playground, shuffleboard court, horseshoe pits, benches, pavilion expansion with picnic tables, nature trail, Xeriscape garden, concrete walkway with solar lighting, landscaping and signs.
The City of Pittsburg will use its grant to further develop 20-acre Fair Park, 301 N. Texas Street, in the west central part of the city. Development plans include a playground, pavilion, pond renovations and fountain, basketball court renovation, horseshoe and washer pits, shuffleboard court, fishing benches, picnic tables, ADA swings, trees, trash cans, and interpretive signs. Parking and sidewalk improvements, the installation of the playground, energy-efficient lights, bird houses, duck boxes and the planting of the butterfly garden are being donated.
Looking ahead, the 82nd Texas Legislature has suspended all state funding for Texas Recreation and Parks Account (TRPA) and all Large County & Municipality Recreation and Parks Accounts for FY 2012-2013. The loss of state funding for local grants for city and county parks for the next two years means the programs will depend on solely on federal dollars to continue, resulting in reduced grant awards for the Outdoor Recreation, Indoor Recreation, Small Community, Urban Outdoor, Urban Indoor and Community Outdoor Outreach programs.
For more information about the grant awards or the recreation grant programs, see TPWD’s grants Web page, phone the Recreation Grants Branch at 512-389-8224 or email: Rec.Grants@tpwd.texas.gov.
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