Presenter: Walt Dabney

Commission Agenda Item No. 12
Action
Land Transfers
June 2000

I. Discussion: Negotiations are currently underway between Parks and Wildlife and various public entities to transfer some individual Department sites to alternative ownership and management. The sites currently under serious consideration include Lubbock Lake Landmark State Historical Park, Jim Hogg State Historical Park, Old Fort Parker State Historical Park, the Port Lavaca State Fishing Pier, and the Huntsville State Fish Hatchery.

House Bill 2108, 76th Legislature, amended Parks and Wildlife Code to include grants for interim operation and maintenance of parks owned or operated and maintained by the department and being transferred to a political subdivision for operation and maintenance of the site. Included in the negotiation of the proposed transfer of state parks sites will be to consider transfer grant funding to facilitate the transfer. A total of $2 million is available each year of the FY00 – 01 biennium. Grants will be awarded based upon a proposal from the political subdivision explaining the need for transfer grant funding and detailing the exact amount requested for operations and maintenance. No final proposal regarding the potential transfers will be brought forward to the Commission without extensive opportunity for local public review and input, and coordination with the Texas Historical Commission.

With Commission approval today, Department staff will continue negotiations toward site transfers involving Lubbock Lake Landmark State Historical Park, Jim Hogg State Historical Park, and Old Fort Parker State Historical Park. As requests for transfer grant funding are finalized, project agreements will be executed pending final Commission approval. The Commission will be asked to approve final transfer proposals and transfer grant funding at the August 2000 meeting.

The City of Port Lavaca had requested funds to study the feasibility of renovation and reconstruction of the Port Lavaca State Fishing Pier. The pier was transferred to Parks and Wildlife from TxDOT in 1963 and has been operated through a concession contract. The facility is currently closed as a result of extensive damage experienced in a 1999 fire. The City of Port Lavaca is interested in accepting transfer of the pier along with funds for renovation and reconstruction, if determined feasible. The City has requested transfer grant funding of an amount not to exceed $100,000 to complete an engineering study to determine the cost and feasibility of the project.

Sam Houston State University (SHSU) has indicated an interest in assuming ownership of the Huntsville State Fish Hatchery, no longer in use by Parks and Wildlife. SHSU has plans to develop a Center for Biological Field Studies on a portion of the site, and believes that ownership of the site will provide an advantage in securing federal grant funding for the center. The university is committed to continued habitat improvement and archaeological resource preservation efforts on the site. One condition of a potential transfer would be a requirement for continued preservation of the property’s natural and cultural resources, including the critical habitat located on the site. The transfer of the hatchery will be at no cost to Parks and Wildlife.

THIS RECOMMENDATION IS FOR THE PUBLIC COMMISSION VOTE:

II. Recommendation: The staff recommends the Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Executive Director is authorized to:

  1. Take all steps necessary to negotiate site transfers and enter into project agreements for the above-mentioned sites, with final Commission approval for the transfers and grant funding requested at the August 2000 meeting.
  2. Enter into an agreement with the City of Port Lavaca for FY00 transfer grant funds in an amount not to exceed $100,000 for completion of an engineering study on the Port Lavaca State Fishing Pier.
  3. Complete title transfer of the Huntsville State Fish Hatchery to Sam Houston State University at no cost to Texas Parks and Wildlife."

Attachment - 1

1. Exhibit A – Fiscal Note (available upon request)


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