Presenter: Kathryn Nichols

Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Land Transfer – Bexar County
April 2000

I. Discussion: The department and its predecessor, the Texas State Parks Board, acquired various interests in the property associated with San Jose Mission State Historical Site over a period between 1941 and 1977. In 1978, Congress passed legislation creating the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and the boundaries of the national park include San Jose. This legislation stipulated that the National Park Service (NPS) could enter into cooperative agreements with the owners of the historic properties to preserve and manage the properties, but it could not acquire the properties in fee simple interest other than by donation.

In 1983, the department entered into a cooperative agreement with the NPS that placed all department properties that comprise Mission San Jose under Park Service management. NPS responsibilities have included maintenance, operation, interpretation, and capital improvements. Since 1983, the department no longer treats Mission San Jose as a unit of the State Park System though we retain ownership in approximately 17 acres and indefinite lease agreements over 6 additional acres.

In the past five years, NPS invested more than $12 million in visitor facilities and site rehabilitation. The Service has long-term plans to continue investing more federal funds into the site, and to protect the Service's investment, the Superintendent of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park has requested that the department permanently convey its property interests to the Service.

Staff believes such a transfer would be in the best interest of the department and of Mission San Jose. NPS has demonstrated its long-term commitment to the preservation and interpretation of this site. Although the NPS has not asked the department to contribute financially to its capital improvements, a decision to transfer all property interests in the mission would relieve the department of any possible future expectations of state spending on the site.

An artifact loan agreement is also in effect between the department and the Park Service. Staff also recommends that along with the transfer of real property interest, artifacts currently held by TPWD be transferred to the NPS, as deemed appropriate by curators of both agencies.

II. Recommendation: Staff recommends the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Executive Director is authorized to take all necessary steps to consummate a transfer by donation of approximately 23 acres of land and facilities at San Jose Mission State Historical Site to the National Park Service's San Antonio Missions National Historical Park."

Attachments - 2

1. Exhibit A – Location Map (Available Upon Request)
2. Exhibit B – Fiscal Note (Available Upon Request)