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«Recreation Plan Recreation Grants Branch State Parks Division 4200 Smith School Road • Austin, Texas 78744 © 2012 TPWD. PWD ...»

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For requirements specific to individual projects, planners and designers should confer with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), the organization tasked with administering the TAS. For information contact the TDLR at 1-800-803-9202 or visit their website at www.license.state.tx.us In addition, there is a state law that requires that any playground built with public funds shall be accessible. (Texas Health and Safety Code 756.061 effective September 1, 1997)

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A recent trend in the discussion on sustainability involves the inclusion of various ethnicities and cultures. Diverse populations residing in our communities and using our parks can create cultural opportunities that bring diverse populations together.

Increasing diversity enhances the fabric of the community, helps to overcome social barriers, and brings communities together.


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Operations and Maintenance Once a park facility is developed and put in place, it is often used for ten years or more.

Durability is imperative in park facilities and can lead to long term savings because wellbuilt facilities do not need as much maintenance. Sustainability is achieved through the reduction in need for utilities, additional repair materials, transportation, and construction waste. By incorporating sustainable park design into a park system, recreation providers will see positive results in terms of reduced operating costs, in addition to reduced maintenance costs. Furthermore, given the recent economic environment in Texas and the rest of the United States, doing more for a community with less fiscal resources will become increasingly important.

Chapter 8 – Sustainable Park Design Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Walking the Walk Sustainable building is becoming more popular every day because it is not only environmentally responsible, it also saves money and looks great. With the increased adoption of these techniques, it is becoming easier to find examples of sustainable buildings in your own area. TPWD has been working to incorporate these principles of sustainability into our sites and have illustrations scattered throughout the state. We invite you to come out and visit a Texas Parks and Wildlife site near you.

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The long history of state funding began with the establishment of the Texas State Park Fund in 1972, followed up by the Texas Local Parks, Recreation and Open Space Fund in 1979, when House Bill 233 was passed. These initial grant funds, known as the State Park Fund and the Local Park Fund, respectively, were each financed by a penny per pack tax from an existing cigarette tax. The Local Park Fund was utilized to match resources for the creation or renovation of hundreds of local parks, while the State Park Fund (also known as Fund 64) allowed TPWD to acquire, develop, maintain, and renovate state parks across Texas. Additionally, when the Local Park Fund was renewed in 1983, by Senate Bill 325, the fund was also authorized “to acquire and develop state parks in urban areas, to provide matching grants to local governments for half the cost of new local parks and recreation facilities, and to provide the 10-percent state share for obtaining federal Urban Parks Rehabilitation and Recovery Grants (S.B 325, 1983).” After twenty years of using the penny per pack tax from cigarettes to fund park acquisition and development, it was determined that the link between cigarette smoking and outdoor recreation was nonexistent, thus the usage of a cigarette tax was inappropriate. In an attempt to utilize a more appropriate funding source, state representatives identified sales tax from sporting goods as being a potential funding source that had a more direct relationship to the use of outdoor recreation.

In 1993, with the passage of House Bill 706, funding for state and local park expansion was switched to the new sporting goods sales tax allocation (H.B 706, 1993). Under House Bill 706, the Texas Recreation and Parks Account (TRPA) replaced the Local Park Fund. In addition to changing the source of funding, the new TRPA was only allowed for local park grant use. Although State Parks were no longer eligible to use Local Park funding for the creation of urban state parks, they continued to receive funds through Fund 64.

Furthermore, TRPA established the ability to fund indoor recreation projects. While the use of sales tax from sporting goods was identified as a more appropriate funding Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 9 – Texas Outdoor Recreation Grants source for recreation grants, a capped limit was established so that only a portion of the sales tax was appropriated for TRPA.

Up until 1999, the TRPA funded the following grant programs: Outdoor Recreation, Indoor Recreation, and Small Community. In 1999 House Bill 2108 amended the Parks and Wildlife Code by allowing TRPA to also be used for Regional Outdoor Recreation Grants, in addition to codifying the Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP).

The CO-OP grant was different than the other grant programs in that it was established to support underserved communities by funding educational and outreach programs, rather than park development.

The last major alteration of Local Park funding streams occurred in 2007 when House Bill 12 created a new urban program called the Large County and Municipality Recreation and Parks Account. Since it was established that urban communities comprised 40% of the population, it was determined that those communities should receive a proportionately equal amount of the funding for park acquisition. This change reallocated 40% of TRPA funding to urban areas in order to accommodate a rural to urban shift in population. Under the Large County and Municipality Recreation and Parks Account, the Urban Indoor Recreation and Urban Outdoor Recreation grant programs were created to address increasing demand for recreation opportunities in large urban areas across the state.

TRPA Grants: Program Overview TPWD acts as a silent partner in hundreds of communities across the state through its grant, assistance, education, and outreach programs. From the largest metropolis to the smallest rural community these programs help to build new parks, conserve natural resources, provide access to water bodies, develop educational programs for youth, and much more. Providing grants to communities across Texas helps build access to outdoor experiences and encourages a connection with nature that is vital for promoting conservation and good environmental stewardship amongst Texans young and old.

Table 9.1 identifies the historical array of programs administered by Recreation Grants.

Recreation Grants also administers the Recreational Trails and Boating Access grants, which are discussed later in this chapter.

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These grant programs were created to assist local governments with the acquisition and development of multi-jurisdictional public recreation areas in the metropolitan areas of the state. It allows cities, counties, water districts, and other units of local government to acquire and develop parkland. The program provides 50% matching, reimbursement grants to eligible local governments for both active recreation and conservation opportunities. Funding for these grant projects comes from TRPA funds.

Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP) Grants

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Federal Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration funds through the Clean Vessel Act of 1992 allow private marinas and local governments to receive grants to install boat sewage pumpout stations in Texas. Pumpout Grants are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and can constitute up to 75% of all approved project costs. These grants provide funds for the construction and/or renovation, operation, and maintenance of pumpout and portable toilet dump stations. All recreational vessels must have equal access to pumpout stations funded under the Clean Vessel Act. These stations will be marked on all nautical charts. This program is administered through the Recreation Grants Branch.

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Boating Access – state and federal funds, 75% matching grants 1968 - present 549 Recreational Trails Grants – federal funds, 80% matching grants 2003 - present 223

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In attempt to give a better idea of how the grants have been distributed across the state, two maps have been prepared which represent the total grant projects funded in each county.

Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 9 – Texas Outdoor Recreation Grants Figure 9.1 represents the total number of recreation grant projects distributed by county across the state since 1962. Almost every county in Texas has benefitted from the recreation grant programs. The counties highlighted by stars are identified as having a population of 500,000 or more.

Figure 9.1 Total Recreation Grant Projects Distributed by County

Chapter 9 – Texas Outdoor Recreation Grants Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Figure 9.2 depicts the number of grant projects funded per county and per decade to give an idea of how funding trends have changed from decade to decade. As the population in Texas has moved from primarily rural to urban, so too has the grant project distribution. This changing trend highlights the efforts of the Recreation Grants Branch to best address changing recreation needs across the state for all the grant programs.

Figure 9.2 Total Recreation Grants Projects by Decade

Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 9 – Texas Outdoor Recreation Grants Local Grants in the 21st Century The TRPA is still the preferred method of funding for outdoor and indoor recreation at the local level and is supported through a portion of Texas sales tax received on select sporting good items. The TRPA is a grant program for local parkland acquisition and development that is administered by TPWD. TPWD also administers the Texas apportionment of the federal LWCF through TRPA.

State funding for TRPA

Unfortunately, state funding for the TRPA has fluctuated over the past several legislative sessions. The annual state appropriation for the TRPA prior to the 78th Legislature was $15.5 million. During the 78th Legislature TRPA was reduced to $8.1 million annually and then to $5 million by the 79th Legislature. The 80th Legislature brought back the full $15.5 million annual appropriation.

Regrettably, the most recent session of the 82nd Legislature brought about a drastic budgetary cut for TRPA. For the 2012-2013 fiscal years the appropriation covers only the administrative costs for the Recreation Grants Branch, thus TRPA state funding for grant programs has been suspended.

These drastic cuts in funding have come at a time when the population of the state is expanding and the need for acquiring and developing outdoor recreation lands and programs is vital. As state funding for TRPA comes from a portion of the sales tax attributed to the sale of sporting goods, Figure 9.3 shows the collected tax revenue, and the appropriated funds allocated to State Parks and Recreation Grants. Funds include the Recreation Grants program administrative costs.

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Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan Chapter 9 – Texas Outdoor Recreation Grants

The reduction in appropriations for TRPA has resulted in the suspension of all state grant funding for the local park programs. This means that state funding for the following

programs is presently suspended:

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Outdoor Camp 2010 City of Grand Prairie Parks and Recreation Dept., CO-OP This suspension comes at a time of record growth, not only in population, but also in demand for outdoor recreation experiences. As the population expands and urban areas continue to replace natural open space, children and adults alike have less access to outdoor experiences. Moving forward, state and regional governments will have to address growing demand for outdoor recreation with decreasing resources available. Figure 9.4 represents the increasing demand for grants from TPWD for acquisition and development of parklands and programs.

“…the money generated from the sales tax on sporting goods is money well spent to address many issues for Texans by providing State and Local Parks programs including local park acquisition and development.” Testimony by Texas Recreation and Parks Society to the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, January 2012

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Awarded projects include funding from TRPA (state funds) and LWCF (federal funds) LWCF for Recreation Grants While state funding is currently suspended, a limited amount of federal funding from the LWCF may be available for three of the local grant programs. The LWCF allows projects under the Outdoor Recreation, Urban Outdoor Recreation, and Small Community programs to be funded.

In April of 2010, President Obama commissioned the following U.S. agencies to develop

an updated and cohesive conservation and recreation agenda:

• Department of the Interior

• Department of Agriculture

• Environmental Protection Agency

• Council on Environmental Quality

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Since inception of the LWCF program, Texas has received approximately $175 million in matching grants distributed by the NPS, Department of the Interior. In FY 2011, Texas received just over $2 million. (Figure 9.5) The primary source of these funds is from the revenue from fees for off-shore drilling for oil and gas.

Texas continues to receive about 5% of the total available state-side funds through the LWCF program. The LWCF state-side assistance program faces similar issues as the state funded TRPA; fewer funds are being made available to support the acquisition and development of state and local parks.

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$400,000 $366,146 $361,866 $350,000 $410,374 $276,334 $336,524 $332,307 $300,000 $255,055 $250,000 $256,334 $230,445 $200,000 $150,000 $122,406 $100,000 $85,000 $38,083 $37,406 $27,995 $27,995 $27,161 $50,000 $23,133

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