|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-01-28                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [TH]
Jan. 28, 2010
TPW approves More Than $4.5 million in Local Park Grants
AUSTIN -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved more than $4.5 million in competitive grants for city and county parks, sport complexes, nature trails and recreation centers across the state. Nine out of 40 eligible grant requests for indoor and outdoor recreational facilities were chosen by the commission for funding.
The City of Murphy, in Collin County, received both an outdoor and indoor recreation grant totaling $1.25 million. Murphy will receive $750,000 to renovate an existing 10,000 square foot building into a recreation center, located in the central area of the city. It will be the city's first recreation center. Plans include a gymnasium with track, stage, game room, children's play room/classroom, dance/exercise room, arts and crafts room, club room/work room, office, restrooms, kitchen, xeriscape demonstration garden with drip irrigation and landscaping.
In addition, the City of Murphy will receive a $500,000 outdoor recreation grant to develop Community Park and expand the Maxwell Creek Greenbelt. The state monies will be used to develop an amphitheater, playground, lacrosse fields, trails with pedestrian bridge, sprayground with shade structure, environmental interpretive signs, picnic tables, pavilion, landscaping and program signs. The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.5 million.
Another $500,000 indoor recreation grant went to the City of Uvalde to further develop the 56-acre Kiwanis Park Sports complex, located in the eastern area of the city. The city will use the monies to acquire about 12 acres of city-owned non-parkland for a camping area, play area, amphitheater, picnic units, 2.42 acres of natural area, trail and trailhead, benches, football and soccer fields, native tree plantings, interpretive signs and irrigation.
The $1.5 million in Indoor Recreation Grants approved by the TPW Commission for the two projects come from the Texas Recreation and Parks Account program, which was created by the Texas Legislature in 1993 and is funded by a portion of the state sales tax on sporting goods.
In addition to the $500,000 City of Murphy outdoor grant, the commission also okayed more than $2.5 million in Outdoor Recreation Grants to help fund six other projects out of the 32 eligible projects for which funding was sought. Funding for these 50-50 matching grants is made possible through the TRPA and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
La Feria in the lower Rio Grande Valley received $750,000 to develop a recreation center on 5.91 acres of city owned non-parkland in the central area of the city. The 17,326 square foot center will include a track, gymnasium with basketball/volleyball courts, recreation/games room, multi-purpose room used for arts and drama, computer room, auditorium, storage room, locker rooms, office, restrooms and parking.
Sealy in Austin County was awarded a grant request of $500,000 for the first phase of the Jacqueline A. Cryan Memorial Town Park, located in the southwest area of the city. The new city park will include a swimming pool, multi-use trail, skate area, picnic tables with grills, native grass and tree plantings as well as interpretive signs.
Forest Hill in south Tarrant County was awarded $491,000 in matching state funds to further develop the 21-acre Griggs Park, located in the central area of the city. The City of Forest Hill will acquire three acres by purchase-donation for an asphalt trail, playscape, soccer field with bleachers and running track, basketball court, picnic pavilion with tables, sand volleyball pits, bridge over creek, wetland garden, xeriscape garden with drip irrigation, amphitheater, tree plantings, shade gazebos with picnic tables, picnic tables, benches and interpretive signs.
Also in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, Haltom City was awarded a $500,000 grant for the development of Whites Branch Park, located in the north east area of the city. Haltom City will acquire 21.54 acres for trails with water crossings, playground, sprayground, picnic settings and bench stations, open lawn area, native tree plantings, dog pick-up stations and washer court. Seventeen acres will be preserved as a natural area.
In Williamson County, the City of Florence will use grant monies to develop Community Park in the central area of the city. Matching state funds in the amount of $191,215 will be spent on a 5.5- acre open space dedication, trail, aquatic/bird watching platform, picnic tables and grills, playground, pavilion, gazebo, open play field, splash pad, exercise stations, community gardens and horseshoe pits.
In West Texas, the City of Alpine in Brewster County received $402,472 to make improvements to Kokernot and Medina Parks and extend the Kokernot Hike and Bike Trail. Kokernot Park is located near Sul Ross University and Medina Park is located in the south area of the city.
Development at Kokernot Park includes the replacement of benches and picnic tables, rehabilitation of the trail, restrooms, volleyball court, playscape, solar heating of the pool, activity center in the kiddie pool, barbeque facility, playground, game tables, play field, lighting, landscaping and irrigation. At Medina Park, the City of Alpine plans to replace the play equipment, sandbox and bike rack, as well as have benches with shade structures, a water fountain, parking and native plant landscaping. Trail improvements will include three trails with solar lighting, overlook and stargazing platform and native landscaping. The city also wants to restore Kokernot Springs.
For more information about the grant awards or to receive applications forms, see TPWD's grants Web page or phone the department's Recreation Grants Department at (512) 912-7124 or e-mail: rec.grants@tpwd.texas.gov.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [RM]
Jan. 28, 2010
Garner State Park to Add 177 Acres in Land Purchase
AUSTIN -- One of Texas' most beloved outdoor recreation destinations -- Garner State Park near Concan -- will be adding a 177-acre tract that includes the iconic bluff known as Old Baldy as the result of a land deal struck with a willing, conservation-minded landowner.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its Jan. 28 meeting approved the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's acquisition of the tract owned by Barbara Muennink, whose family has owned the property for more than 80 years. She is selling the tract to TPWD at a bargain price to help keep the land in its natural state.
Over the years, Muennink has never tried to restrict public access to the rocky bluff overlooking the scenic Frio River that most park visitors assumed was part of state park property. In reality, only a very small part of the bluff is state-owned.
Texas Parks and Wildlife staff and real estate broker Morris Killough with Texas Land & Ranch Company in Utopia, TX worked closely with Muennink and her family to structure the deal that will result in the addition of this tract.
When the TPWD completes the pending land purchase, Garner State Park will encompass almost 1,600 acres. The new tract at the southernmost end of the park includes a hiking trail that climbs the 400-foot river bluff and an additional 210 feet of riverfront property.
Funds for the Garner State Park land acquisition comes from monies allocated last year by the 81st Texas Legislature and a matching grant from the National Park Service's Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Garner State Park records approximately 400,000 visits each year. It ranks No. 1 among 93 Texas state parks in the percentage of park visitors who stay overnight in one of the park's many campsites, screened shelters or 17 cabins built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Garner State Park is open seven days a week. Entry fees are $6 per person 13 years and older visiting for day use only and $4 per person for individuals 13 years and older who are staying overnight. For camping fees and other information, contact Garner State Park at (830) 232-6132.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Jan. 28, 2010
TPW Commission Approves $2.5 Million in Boat Ramp Grants
AUSTIN -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved $2,545,249 in grants to pay for 10 boat ramp construction or repair projects across the state.
The funding receiving the commission's OK at its January 28 meeting is made possible by the State Boating Access Program authorized by the 64th Legislature in 1975. The program provides funding for the purchase, construction, renovation and maintenance of boat ramps, access roads and other related projects aimed at improving the recreational boater's access to public waters. The money for the program comes back to the states from the federal recreational boating gasoline tax and an excise tax on fishing tackle collected under the Federal Aid to Sport Fish Recreation Act.
Local governments will operate and maintain the ramps.
The grants include:
--Aransas County Navigation District -- The Aransas County Navigation District will receive $215, 628 to expand the parking area at the boat ramp on the south side of Copano Bay, construct a walkway to improve access for people with disabilities, build covered picnic tables and provide signs.
--City of Bastrop -- The City of Bastrop will receive $397,600 to replace an old boat ramp to provide better access to the Colorado River, do dredging and place bulkheads needed to prevent bank erosion. The money also will allow for construction of a parking area and a sidewalk to improve access for people with disabilities.
--Brazos River Authority -- The Brazos River Authority will receive $82,500 for renovation and expansion of a boat ramp on Lake Granbury in Hood County that had been damaged and in danger of collapse. The grant also covers bulkheads, lighting and signs.
--City of Corpus Christi -- The City of Corpus Christi will receive $500,000 to renovate and upgrade the heavily used Clem's Boat Ramp as well as the access road, parking area, utilities, courtesy dock, bulkhead and signs. The project, will improve access to the Laguna Madre and Intracoastal Waterway.
--Calhoun County -- Calhoun County will receive $126,000 to build a rock jetty to protect an existing public boat ramp on Magnolia Beach and improve lighting and signage. The boat ramp affords public access to Lavaca Bay. The jetty will project against silting and wave damage and make it safer to launch or land at the ramp.
--City of Grapevine -- The City of Grapevine will receive $198,750 for construction of a pavilion and restroom at the existing Meadowmere Park public boat ramp on Lake Grapevine in Tarrant County.
--Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority -- The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority will receive $75,000 for renovation of a boat ramp at Lake Wood, plus a walkway and courtesy dock to improve access for people with disabilities, new bulkhead, lighting and signage.
--City of Jefferson -- The City of Jefferson will receive $361,500 for construction of a boat ramp, parking area, access road, courtesy dock, lighting, a walkway to improve access for people with disabilities, and signage at Big Cypress Bayou in Marion County.
--City of Port Isabel -- The City of Port Isabel will receive $388,330 to renovate and improve a boat ramp, parking area, bulkheads, restroom, utilities and lighting at Pompano Street on the Laguna Madre. The grant also will cover construction of a new courtesy dock and fish cleaning table.
--Tom Green County -- Tom Green County will receive $199,941 for construction of a new boat ramp on the South Concho River to replace an older ramp. The grant also will fund a parking area, bank stabilization and signs.

[ Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Jan. 28, 2010
Game Warden Named Texas "Officer Of The Year" By Conservation Association
AUSTIN -- Burnet-based Game Warden Brent Whitus has been named Texas "Officer of the Year" by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Director Carter Smith presented the award to Whitus at the Jan. 28 meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Thursday.
Whitus began his TPWD career at Colorado City State Park in 1999. A year later he transferred to Garner State Park as a park peace officer. He later was accepted by the 49th Texas Game Warden Academy, where he graduated in June 2003.
Spending the next five years working in Webb County, Whitus handled several cases involving deer breeders and made numerous arrests for narcotics trafficking. He also participated in the manhunt for those involved in the June 14, 2005 shooting of fellow Game Warden Martin Oviedo in Zapata County and assisted in the arrest of the suspects.
In April 2008 Whitus transferred to Burnet County, where he soon became involved in a high profile deer breeding investigation that led to the filing of eight complaints against a single suspect. The charges included illegal transportation of a buck deer during open season without removing the antlers, record-keeping violations and improper deer identification (tattoos and ear tags.)
Whitus logged more than 140 hours on this investigation, along with other wardens. The defendant pled guilty to all the charges and will be unable to acquire a deer breeder permit for five years.
After attending training on boating while intoxicated enforcement issues, Whitus became interested in writing search warrants to obtain blood samples from suspected drunk boaters refusing to comply with an officer's request. Consequently, he became the first warden in his district to serve such a warrant.
In addition to his other law enforcement duties, Whitus has been a key player in the Law Enforcement Division's Force Options Scenario training program. The training is done which special safety equipment and weapons that fire paint projectiles so students can experience as close to an actual life or death shooting situation as possible. This year, Whitus has been involved in training 51 game warden cadets
Active in local church and civic activities, Whitus also is a member of the Texas Game Warden Honor Guard, which supports the families of active, retired or fallen wardens by being a part of their funeral services.