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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [MM]

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TPWD News Release — Aug. 30, 2004

TPW Commission Awards $12.5 Million in Grants

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved $12,477,119 in grants Aug. 26 to build or improve local parks, regional parks, small community parks, recreational trails and target ranges across the state.

For Local Park Grants, the commission approved 12 grants totaling $5,223,628. Funds for this program come from the Texas Recreation and Parks Account (TRPA) and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. These funds go to Texas local governments for the acquisition and/or development of outdoor recreation sites. The TRPA was authorized in 1993 to assist local political subdivisions of the state in providing basic public recreation facilities. TRPA revenue is generated from a portion of the state sales tax on sporting goods. Demand for grants always exceeds available funding, and as of Jan. 31, 2004 TPWD received 24 applications requesting $10,185,866 in matching fund assistance.

For Small Community Grants, the commission approved 15 grants totaling $703,495. The TRPA funds these grants as well. Small community grants are available to governments of a population of 20,000 or less, and $50,000 is the maximum amount that may be applied for per application. In recent years the demand for these funds has dramatically increased, as has the competition for these limited resources. As of Jan. 31, 2004 TPWD received 26 applications requesting $1,181,556 in matching fund assistance.

The commission approved three Regional Park Grants for a total of $4,425,713. The 76th session of the Texas Legislature authorized the creation of a regional park grant program to be funded through the TRPA. The program is designed to support multi-jurisdictional projects of regional significance serving Texas’ metropolitan areas. Projects proposing intensive use recreation and/or regional conservation and recreation are eligible to request matching funds. As of Jan. 31, 2004 TPWD received five applications requesting $9,408,500 in matching fund assistance.

Target Range Grants totaled $300,000. With support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Assistance, TPWD administers a target range grant program. Applicants must provide 25 percent of the total cost of the project and federal grant funds made available through the hunter safety apportionment provide the remaining 75 percent. The funds are available to qualifying applicants from both private and public sectors who provide public use of their facilities and open them to hunter education programs and services.

The criteria for funding grant requests is the "Target Range Plan" which was approved by the Commission, based on 1) population of county, 2) number of hunter education students certified in the county in the previous calendar year, 3) number of existing shooting facilities in the county, and 4) hunter days data in the county.

National Recreational Trails Grants totaled $1,824,283. The National Recreational Trails Fund (NRTF) comes from a portion of the federal gas tax generated by gasoline purchases to utilize off-road recreational vehicles, such as off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers. The purpose of the NRFT is to provide funding for projects that create new and maintain existing motorized and non-motorized recreational trails. These federal funds are administered by the Federal Highway Administration and distributed to states via a formula that takes into account state population and sales of fuel for off-road recreational vehicles. Nationwide, the program was appropriated $50 million for FY2004; Texas’ share of these funds is $2,018,172. A few projects funded in previous years were completed under budget or were withdrawn creating another $341,897 available for re-allocation this year.

Below is the complete list of grants awarded Aug. 26, listed in alphabetical order by county. Type of grant received is indicated in parentheses:

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