Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Dana Lagarde
Darlene Lewis

Texas Recreation and Parks Account
Large County and Municipality Recreation and Parks Account
Grants Rule Amendments
March 27, 2014

I.      Summary:  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff requests that proposed revisions to Subchapters B-E of Chapter 61 be adopted by the Commission. These rule changes were posted in the February 21, 2014 Texas Register for comment.  As background, the Texas Recreation and Parks Account (TRPA) and Large County and Municipality Recreation and Parks Account (Urban Park Account) are funded through a dedication of a portion of the state sales tax on sporting goods as codified in 151.801 Tax Code.  Chapter 24 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code requires the adoption of rules and regulations for grant assistance and gives the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission the authority to adopt such rules.  Programs administered as part of TRPA and Urban Park Accounts include:

II.        Discussion:  The proposed changes are necessary due to the actions of the 83rd Texas Legislature restoring partial funding to the TRPA and Urban Park Accounts. During the last two months, staff has been preparing draft rules and regulations for administration of the TRPA for consideration by the Commission.  The last such general review of program guidelines was in 2008.  Since October 2013, the following major activities have taken place in the process of preparing draft rules:

Proposed rule changes for the TRPA Outdoor Recreation Grants, Indoor Recreation Grants, Small Community Grants, Urban Outdoor Recreation Grants and Urban Indoor Recreation Grants include revisions in the priority scoring systems in the following general areas:

Proposed rule changes for the Community Outdoor Outreach Program Grants include revisions in the priority scoring systems in the following general areas:

Other administrative recommendations for all TRPA and Urban Park Accounts programs include adjustments to grant assistance ceilings recommendations to account for partial restoration of funding by the Legislature as follows:

The final administrative change recommended is the continued suspension of funding for the TRPA and Urban Park Accounts Indoor Recreation Grant Programs.  Funds appropriated to these indoor programs by the 83rd Texas Legislature do not meet the threshold of $14 million per year required for funding under sections 24.006 and 24.0056 of the Parks and Wildlife Code.

The draft rules proposal was posted in the Texas Register as a “Proposed Rule” on February 21, 2014.  Comments, if any, received from that posting will be summarized with responses and made available to the Commission.

III.   RECOMMENDATION: The staff recommends the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to 31 Tex. Admin Code §§61.131, 61.133-61.136, 61.138, and 61.139, concerning Guidelines for Administration of the Texas Local Parks, Recreation and Open Space Fund Program, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 21, 2014 issue of the Texas Register (39 Tex. Reg. 1071)”

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rule Changes

Commission Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

TEXAS RECREATION AND PARK ACCOUNT GRANTS RULES

PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

         The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes amendments to §§61.131, 61.133-61.136, 61.138, and 61.139, concerning Guidelines for Administration of Texas Local Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Fund Program. The proposed amendments are a result of the department’s continual outreach and communication efforts with the regulated community. In general, the proposed amendments incorporate suggestions from the regulated community with respect to word choice in order to improve clarity and accuracy and reflect a desire on the part of the department to more explicitly recognize the value of conservation as a component of recreation; however, the proposed amendments also make changes to scoring criteria and point values.

         Several changes occur throughout the proposed amendments. The proposed amendments would replace the word “sponsor” with the word “applicant” for the sake of accuracy.  Because the evaluation of a grant proposal must take place before a grant can be awarded, the governmental entity making the request is technically an applicant. The proposed amendments to §§61.133(a)(7) and (c)(7), 61.134(a)(7) and (c)(6), 61.136(a)(5) and (b)(7)(D), 61.138(c)(6)(C), and 61.139(c)(3) replace general references to “underserved citizens” with the term “underserved population.” Parks and Wildlife Code, §24.001(12) defines “underserved population” as “any group of people that is low-income, inner city, or rural as determined by the last census, or minority, physically or mentally challenged, youth at risk, youth , or female.” The department has determined that the current regulatory references and terminology in those provisions dealing with grant awards on the basis of serving underserved populations is not consistent with the wording of the statute. Therefore, appropriate conforming changes have been made in the identified sections.

         The proposed amendments also would standardize references to the use of federal census data throughout the subchapter, by implementing the phrase “most recent federal census data” in all places where the rules require census data.

         The proposed amendments also would replace the phrase “department-approved” with the phrase “department-endorsed” in wherever it occurs in order to more accurately reflect the status of master plans submitted to the department. The department does not actually approve master plans that are required by the rules; it appraises their sufficiency with respect to the department’s priorities.

         The proposed amendments to §§61.133(a)(11)and (c)(7)(J), 61.134(a)(8) and (c)(7), 61.136(a)(8) and (c)(7)(G), 61.138(c)(14), and 139(c)(11) alter or replace current rule language to address sustainable park design. Sustainable park design is becoming increasingly important as communities strive to create viable, long-term recreation space in times of increasing competition for space and funding. The department has determined that sustainable design and management is of great importance and is consistent with the objectives of the department’s Land and Water Resources Recreation and Conservation Plan (sometimes referred to as the Land and Water Plan).

         The proposed amendment to §65.131, concerning Policy, would eliminate dates regarding the period for which the Application Procedures are adopted.  The current dates are archaic and unnecessary. The department has determined that a year-by-year approach to maintaining the viability of background documents is impractical.

         The proposed amendment to §61.133, concerning Grants for Outdoor Recreation Programs, would consist of several changes.  The proposed amendment to §61.133(a)(4) would replace the phrase “provide water-related park and recreation opportunities” with the phrase “expand access to water-based recreation opportunities.”  The department has determined that the proposed wording better explains the criteria and is consistent with wording in other agency plans and documents. Comment from the regulated community also indicated a preference for the criteria to include projects that improve fish and wildlife habitat. The department concurs with the preference, since it would be consistent with the department’s mission and its Land and Water Plan. The proposed amendment also would alter subsection (a)(5) to remove the term “innovative use.” Staff had determined that the term is problematic because it is subjective and difficult to define; therefore, it is being removed. The proposed amendment would alter subsection (a)(6) to include the word “conservation” and remove the phrase “basic park.” The intent of the change is to recognize a larger sphere of program applicability, inclusive of parks, and to emphasize the department’s commitment to conservation. The proposed amendment to subsection (a)(8) would augment the current category by providing consideration for sponsors who utilize local resources. The proposed amendment also would alter reword subsection (a)(9) to narrow the scope of the priority to “public parkland” as opposed to the current “public land” and replace a reference to stewardship with a reference to conservation. The department has determined that the current reference to “public land” is too broad; there are many types of public land that would be inappropriate for use as outdoor recreation assets, so the proposed amendment would narrow the priority by referring to “public parkland.” The insertion of the term “conservation” is necessary for reasons articulated earlier in this preamble. In the proposed amendment to subsection (a)(10), the phrase “parks and recreation areas” would be removed because it has caused confusion regarding the eligibility of projects that would convert obsolete facilities of various types into parks and recreation facilities, which is absolutely encouraged by the department.  The proposed amendment to subsection (a) also would alter paragraph (12) to clarify that the priority points under that category are not restricted to projects containing greenbelts and may be awarded for any project that links parks and conservation areas. Finally, the proposed amendment to subsection (c) would eliminate paragraph (13) because the appreciation of and preservation of cultural resources is considered to fall within the scope of recreational diversity, which is addressed in subsection (a)(3).

         The proposed amendment to §61.133(c) also would alter subsection (7) to provide that an applicant for a grant could also submit a comprehensive plan other than a master plan and eliminates unnecessary informational description of what is considered by the department to constitute need. The proposed amendment to subsection (c)(7)(A) also alters subparagraphs (ii)-(iv) to allow greater flexibility to applicants for satisfying priority needs identified in the master or comprehensive plan. The proposed amendment to subsection (c)(7)(B) would make changes regarding the priority category of park and recreation diversity. The proposed amendment also would eliminate the list of example categories in items (i)-(xi) because input from the regulated community indicated that there are many types of projects other than those listed that provided significant recreational opportunity and the current list is too limited. Also in response to input from the regulated community, the  proposed amendment would replace the language in current subparagraph (C) to rectify perceptions that the hierarchy of water-body types listed in the current rule caused areas of the state with plentiful water resources to be more competitive than projects in parts of the state with fewer water resources. The proposed amendment also would alter paragraph (D) to remove the term “innovative use.” Staff had determined that the term is problematic because it is subjective and difficult to define; therefore, it is being removed. The proposed amendment also would alter paragraph (D)(ii) eliminate confusion regarding the basis for point awards under that priority category. The current rule requires an applicant to qualify new and different opportunities “in the sponsor’s jurisdiction or intended service area” and bases the point award “on the percentage of construction budget.” Feedback from the regulated community suggests that the current wording is difficult to understand. Therefore, the proposed amendment would substitute “at the project site” for “in the sponsor’s jurisdiction or intended service area” and eliminates the reference to “percentage of construction budget.” Subparagraph (E) would be altered by inserting language to emphasize the importance of recreation as opposed to facility support, an unnecessary reference to two of many possible project facets, and eliminating an explanation of the calculation of total facilities cost. The department received feedback from the regulated community indicating a desire to have the rules more overtly focus on conservation as opposed to project infrastructure (signage, parking lots, etc.) only peripherally related to conservation. The “total facilities cost” explanation is being removed because it is not informative and cannot be applied effectively to every situation. The proposed amendment also makes changes to subparagraph (F) by reducing the total number of points available under the category (from 15 to 12) and creating a category for “physically/mentally challenged citizens.” The proposed amendment would allow the award of five points for projects that provide opportunity for the physically/mentally challenged, rather than only for the elderly population. Feedback from the regulated community persuaded the department that a broader context would be just as effective, since the component of the elderly population that the department believes needs to be served is the elderly with physical and/or mental challenges. Thus, the category is more inclusive. The proposed amendment also would alter subparagraph (G) to reward applicants for both local and partner resource contributions.  Points would be awarded based on the total dollar amount of documented contributions that go above and beyond the required match. The proposed amendment to subparagraph (G) also would remove unnecessary examples of non-grant assisted facilities. As has been noted elsewhere, the use of examples causes confusion because a list of examples is not exhaustive and therefore isn’t helpful. Under the current rule, points are awarded under subparagraph (G)(ii) for cooperation with other private or public entities on a per-activity basis. The criteria would be expanded to reward applicants for both local and partner resource contributions.  Points would be awarded based on the total dollar amount of documented contributions that go above and beyond the required match.  The proposed amendment to subparagraph (H) would eliminate the need for a project to be regionally representative and eliminate unnecessary references to wetlands and water resources. The category is intended to reward applicants for acquisition and conservation of parks and recreation lands. The department has determined that “regionally representative” is an abstract term in many instances, and that all natural features of a prospective project should be considered as part of the evaluation process. The proposed amendment to subparagraph (H) also would alter item clause (i) to remove an unnecessary reference to types of government and restructure the remainder of the subparagraph to reflect the department’s intent to be responsive to input from the regulated community regarding perceptions that the hierarchy of water-body types listed in the current rule allows projects submitted from areas of the state with plentiful water resources to be more competitive than projects in parts of the state with fewer water resources. The point award values are also being reduced in each category. The department’s rationale is that because requirements are being eased to make more projects competitive, the number of potential points should be reduced slightly to compensate for the increased availability. The proposed amendment to subparagraph (I) eliminates the phrase “parks and recreation area or facilities” because it has caused confusion regarding the eligibility of projects that would convert obsolete facilities of various types into parks and recreation facilities, which is absolutely encouraged by the department. The proposed amendment to subparagraph (K) also would clarify that the priority points under that category are not restricted to projects containing greenbelts and may be awarded for any project that links parks and conservation areas, based on the significance of the linkage. The proposed amendment also would eliminate current subparagraph (L) because the appreciation of and preservation of cultural resources is considered to fall within the scope of recreational diversity, which is addressed in subsection (a)(3).

         The proposed amendment to §61.134, concerning Grants for Indoor Recreation Programs, would alter subsection (a)(7) to remove the reference to federal census data, which is redundant.  The proposed amendment also would expand the potential for award of points under the criteria in subsection (c)(1) by allowing the award of points for projects that satisfy three of the top five priority needs or two of the five top category needs. Under the current rule, points are awarded if a project satisfies three of the top three priority needs or two of the three top category needs. The change is intended to make projects more competitive and broaden awards to include more communities. The proposed amendment to §61.134 also would remove language from subsection (c)(2) to remove a provision for the reduction of points for proposals that include facilities that do not support recreational activities and replace with a statement that project elements that do not support recreational activities will not be considered. The department has determined that the current rule is conditional in nature and should be more emphatic. Input from the regulated community has convinced the department that a project proposal that is consistent with intent of the section should not be penalized for also containing components that do not support recreational activities, as long as those components are not antithetical to the goals and objectives of the department. The proposed amendment also would remove unnecessary language from subsection (c)(4)(B) that furnishes an example of how the priority category might affect a hypothetical project. The department has determined that providing a general example as guidance could lead to misunderstandings and prefers to provide more detailed information in direct interactions with applicants. The proposed amendment also alters paragraph (B) to provide a mechanism to reward applicants for both local and partner resource contributions.  Points would be awarded based on the total dollar amount of documented contributions that go above and beyond the required match.  The proposed amendment would alter the priority category for the elderly in paragraph (6)(C) to make it encompass “physically/mentally challenged citizens,” which is intended to enlarge the applicability of the category, and includes elderly citizens.

         The proposed amendment to §61.135, concerning Grants for Community Outreach Outdoor Programs, would eliminate subsection (a)(10) because the importance of promoting outdoor educational activities is self-evident and at any rate  would be addressed under the priority for diversity. The proposed amendment also would add new subsection (b)(5)(A)-(D) to provide the department with more detailed information with which to evaluate and score project proposals. The new provisions would require an applicant to submit a project description, project action plan, budget summary, and resolution, and would describe the content of each of those components. The project description would consist of a basic overview of important factors such as the goals of the project, a method for measuring the progress of the project, risk management measures (safety training, first aid), and a list of expenses. The requirements are intended to allow the department to perform initial evaluation of projects without protracted interactions with the applicant to determine the essential components of the proposal. The project action plan would consist of a one-year timeline and a detailed description of the location(s) of the project, the dates at which various phases of implementation are to occur, and the nature of the activities that are to be undertaken. By requiring a detailed chronology of project implementation, the department believes that it will be better able to evaluate and award grants. Similarly, requiring a budget summary will provide the department with a way to determine the realistic probability of an applicant to achieve the goals and objectives of a proposal. Finally, a resolution from a governing board or authorized official is necessary to enable the department to be assured that all facets of proposed project have been properly vetted prior to submission to the department. The proposed amendment also would alter current subsection (b)(5)(A) to increase the potential point award, from 12 to 15 points. Because the proposed amendment to subparagraph (E)(iii)-(v) would increase the potential points awarded in those categories, the total point award under the category must be increased as well.  The point awards in subparagraph (E)(iii)-(v) would be increased in order to weight projects according to the number of people that would be served.

         The proposed amendment also would modify current subsection (b)(5)(G) to clarify that the intent of projects to support at-risk youth should be primarily concerned with mentoring and career development in the context of natural resources, which is consistent with the department’s Land and Water Plan. Similarly, the proposed amendment would eliminate current subsection (b)(5)(I) because the goals listed in the priority point category have been determined to be self-evident in the context of the department’s mission and the goals of the department’s Land and Water Plan.

         The proposed amendment to §61.136, concerning Small Community Grant Program, would alter subsection (a)(4) to remove the phrase “basic park” and replace it with the word “outdoor” and add the word “conservation.” As noted elsewhere in this preamble, one of the goals of this rulemaking is to clarify the department’s intent to administer grant programs that are consistent with the department’s overall conservation mission and objectives. The intent of the wording change is to expand the category to include conservation activities done in the park in addition to traditional park elements. The proposed amendment (a)(8) to replace the current priority (environmentally responsible activities) with a priority for sustainable park design. The totality of the various priorities is to encourage proposals that emphasize conservation in general; thus, it isn’t critical to devote a single priority to environmentally responsible activities. Instead, the department proposes to create a priority for sustainable park design, which is becoming increasingly important as communities strive to create viable, long-term recreation space in times of increasing competition for space and funding. The proposed amendment also would alter subsection (b)(7)(B) to remove “innovative use” as a component of the priority and to allow up to three points to be awarded for each need identified through a documented public input process. Staff has determined that the term “innovative use” is problematic because it is subjective and difficult to define; therefore, it is being removed. The current rule stipulates that points will be awarded “only if each recreation element is identified by a documented public input process.” Comments from the regulated community indicate a desire for this priority component to be clarified and quantifies. Therefore, the proposed amendment would establish a maximum point award of three points, to be awarded at a ratio of one point per facility.

         The proposed amendment also would modify subsection (b)(7)(C) to award points on the basis of “direct outdoor recreation and conservation” opportunities rather than “direct park and recreation” opportunities. The intent of the wording change is to expand the category to include conservation activities done in the park in addition to traditional park elements. The proposed amendment also removes a delineation of the components for determining total facilities cost. The department has determined that the term “total construction cost” is self-explanatory and sufficient for conveying the nature of the information the department is seeking. The proposed amendment also would alter subparagraph (E) to reward applicants for both local and partner resource contributions.  Points would be awarded based on the total dollar amount of documented contributions that go above and beyond the required match. The proposed amendment also would eliminate subparagraph (K). Under the current subparagraph (I), a deduction of five points may be made by the department if an applicant is not in compliance with its obligations under a prior grant awarded by the department. Therefore, the provisions of subparagraph (K) are redundant.

         The proposed amendment to §61.138, concerning Outdoor Urban Park Grants Program, would consist of several components. The proposed amendment would alter subsection (c)(1)(A), (B), and (E) to clarify that point awards for the acquisition of significant natural areas, green corridors, and future conservation and recreation purposes are awarded on the basis of acreage and quality. The department has determined that it is important to emphasize that in evaluating similar competing acquisition proposals, the project that offers the largest amount of space, most significant natural features, or a combination of the two, should be ranked highest. The proposed amendment also alters subparagraphs (C) and (F) to remove the variable point award and make each priority worth two points. The department has determined that the subjective difference between one point and two points causes confusion and should be eliminated. The proposed amendment also would eliminate current subsection (c)(1)(H) because it is redundant; the program is restricted to urban communities, so it is unnecessary to award points based on proximity areas of high population density. The proposed amendment also would alter subsection (c)(2) would clarify what is meant by the term “neighborhood park” in subparagraph (A) and eliminate the variable point awards in subparagraphs (A)-(C).  The department received requests from the regulated community to provide a definition for “neighborhood park.” Therefore, the proposed amendment would define a neighborhood park as “1-15 acres in size with a service area of one-half mile.” The variable point totals are being eliminated because the department has determined that the subjective difference between one point and three points causes confusion and should be eliminated. The proposed amendment would eliminate subparagraph (D) because proposed new paragraph (14) would address sustainability. The proposed amendment would alter subsection (c)(3) to address criteria for projects that propose restoration. The current rule has been determined to be confusing because it has been interpreted to limit awards to projects that propose restoration of existing recreation and conservation infrastructure, when in fact the category is intended to award any project that proposes to restore an existing building or complex for use as a recreational or conservation center. The proposed amendment would remove confusing language in paragraph (3)(A). Feedback from the regulated community suggests that the current wording is difficult to understand. Therefore, the proposed amendment would eliminate the reference to “percentage of budget dedicated to the criterion” and allow the rule consist of a formula for calculating Renovation Cost. The proposed amendment also would remove current subparagraph (B) because proposed new paragraph (14) addresses wildlife habitat management. The proposed amendment to current subparagraph (C) would remove the reference to “percentage of budget dedicated to the criterion” (for the reason discussed in the proposed amendment subparagraph (A) and add a formula for determining Reuse Cost, which the department believes will assist communities in developing grant proposals. The proposed amendment also would clarify paragraph (4) to state that points for trails/corridors/greenways will be awarded based on the length of the trail. The department’s intent is to emphasize major projects. The proposed amendment to paragraph (6)(A) would require the submission of a map showing the distribution of parks within the applicant’s service area. The current rule requires the applicant to identify the locations of parks, but the department has determined that a graphical representation of park distribution is more helpful. The proposed amendment also would alter subparagraph (D) to allow the award of points for projects that provide opportunity for the physically/mentally challenged, rather than only for the elderly population. Feedback from the regulated community persuaded the department that a broader context would be just as effective, since the component of the elderly population that the department believes needs to be served is the elderly with physical and/or mental challenges. Thus, the category is more inclusive. The proposed amendment also would replace the current provision governing joint ventures and partnerships in subsection (c)(7) with new language intended to reward applicants for both local and partner resource contributions. Points would be awarded based on the total dollar amount of documented contributions that go above and beyond the required match.  The proposed amendment also would address priority points awarded for master plans in subsection (c)(8). The current rule allows points to be awarded for projects satisfying three of the top three needs identified in a master place, two of the top three needs, and one of the top three. Feedback from the regulated community indicates that more flexibility in this category is desired. Therefore, the proposed amendment would allow the award of points for satisfying one of the top five priority needs identified in a master plan, but reduces the overall points available, from 10 to five. The proposed amendment also would provide that an applicant for a grant could also submit a jurisdiction-wide plan in lieu of a master plan. The proposed amendment to paragraph (9) would eliminate language that refers to projects that, if not undertaken in the near future, would result in a safety hazard or the elimination of usability. The department has determined that decaying infrastructure that has reached the point of being a safety hazard and is not suitable for restoration should not be considered in the scoring process. The proposed amendment also would alter language in subparagraphs (C) and (D) to create two categories, one that would award points for actions being considered to remedy a threat situation, and one that would award points for actions that will be taken in the future. Finally, the proposed amendment would add new paragraph (14) to create a new category to award points for projects for sustainable park design and development.

         The proposed amendment to §61.139, concerning Indoor Urban Park Grants Program, would consist of several actions. The proposed amendment to subsection (c)(3) would require the submission of a map showing the distribution of parks within the applicant’s service area. The current requires the applicant to identify the locations of parks, but the department has determined that a graphical representation of park distribution is more helpful. The proposed amendment to subparagraph (B) would re-state the current provision and is nonsubstantive. The proposed amendment also would alter subparagraph (D) to allow the award of points for projects that provide opportunity for the physically/mentally challenged, rather than only for the elderly population. Feedback from the regulated community persuaded the department that a broader context would be just as effective, since the component of the elderly population that the department believes needs to be served is the elderly with physical and/or mental challenges. Thus, the category is more inclusive. The proposed amendment to subsection (C)(4) also would replace the current provision governing joint ventures and partnerships with new language intended to reward applicants for both local and partner resource contributions.  Points would be awarded based on the total dollar amount of documented contributions that go above and beyond the required match. The proposed amendment also would address priority points awarded for master plans in subsection (c)(5). The current rule allows points to be awarded for projects satisfying three of the top three needs identified in a master place, two of the top three needs, and one of the top three. Feedback from the regulated community indicates that more flexibility in this category is desired. Therefore, the proposed amendment would allow the award of points for satisfying one of the top five priority needs identified in a master plan, but reduces the overall points available, from 10 to five.  The proposed amendment also would provide that an applicant for a grant could also submit a jurisdiction-wide plan in lieu of a master plan. The proposed amendment to paragraph (6) would eliminate language that refers to projects that, if not undertaken in the near future, would result in a safety hazard or the elimination of usability. The department has determined that decaying infrastructure that has reached the point of being a safety hazard and is not suitable for restoration should not be considered in the scoring process.  The proposed amendment to paragraph (6) also would alter subparagraphs (A) and (B) to replace the phrase “action in progress” with the phrase “actions under consideration,” which is necessary because the department does not want the category to be limited to processes already in progress if action was imminent. Finally, the proposed amendment would add new paragraph (11) to create a new category to award points for projects for sustainable park design and development.

2. Fiscal Note.

         Mr. Tim Hogsett, Director of Recreational Grants, has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

         Mr. Hogsett also has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect:

         (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be regulations that are clearer and easier to interpret by the regulated community, which will benefit the public by making grant funding for outdoor and indoor recreation and conservation projects more efficient.

         (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses and micro-businesses. The department has determined that there will be no direct economic effect on small or micro-businesses or persons required to comply as a result of the proposed rules. The rules would not compel or mandate any action on the part of any entity, including small businesses or microbusinesses.

         (C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedure Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

         (D) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

         (E) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comment.

         Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Mr. Tim Hogsett, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-8712, e-mail: tim.hogsett@tpwd.texas.gov or via the department’s website at www.tpwd.texas.gov.

5. Statutory Authority.

         The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 24, which requires the department to adopt regulations for grant assistance.

6. Rule Text.

         §61.131. Policy. It is the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission policy that the executive director shall administer local projects in accord with the following guidelines with interpretation of intent to be made to provide the greatest number of outdoor recreational opportunities for Texas in accord with priorities of the Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan. In keeping with this policy, local projects will not be approved from the Texas Local Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Fund and the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund Program unless extraordinary circumstances dictate that high priority public needs will not be met without the full or partial funding of both programs.

                 (1) Section 61.81 of this title (relating to Application Procedures), the procedural guide for Land and Water Conservation Fund Program, is adopted for the Texas Local Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Fund Program.

                 (2) Section 61.121 of this title (relating to Policy), guidelines for administration of Local Land and Water Conservation Fund projects, is adopted for the Texas Local Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Fund Program, except all references to the state liaison officer shall mean the executive director.

                 (3) Section 61.81 of this title [(relating to Application Procedures)], the procedural guide for Land and Water Conservation Fund Program, is adopted by reference for the Texas Recreation and Parks Account [for the period September 1, 1993, through September 1, 1994]. Copies may be obtained from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Grants Program, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744, (512) 389-4948.

                 (4) Section 61.121 of this title [(relating to Policy)], guidelines for administration of Local Land and Water Conservation Fund Program and guidelines for administration of Texas Local Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Fund projects are adopted by reference for the Texas Recreation and Parks Account [for the period of September 1, 1993, through September 1, 1994]. Copies may be obtained from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Grants Program, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744, (512) 389-4948.

         §61.133. Grants for Outdoor Recreation Programs.

                 (a) Program purpose and priorities. All grant applications submitted to the department for outdoor recreation programs are evaluated for program eligibility and prioritized according to the Project Priority Scoring System set forth in this section. Scored applications are presented to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for approval. In general, recommended priorities for outdoor recreation projects are:

                         (1) to ensure applicant[sponsor] performance on active grants and compliance at previously assisted grant sites;

                         (2) to recognize and reward local planning;

                         (3) to increase recreational diversity;

                         (4) to expand access to water-based[provide water-related park and]recreation opportunities and improve fish and wildlife habitat;

                         (5) to improve geographic distribution [and innovative use] of park and recreation opportunities;

                         (6) to maximize the use of funds for conservation[basic park] and recreation opportunities;

                         (7) to improve park and recreation opportunities for an underserved population[low income (for the purposes of this section, low income is defined as median income or lower according to the most recent U.S. census (Median Household Income by State)), minority, and elderly citizens];

                         (8) to reward local resources and cooperative[cooperative] efforts between project applicants[sponsors] and other entities;

                         (9) to encourage the acquisition of public parkland and conservation of[preserve] significant natural resources [through public land acquisition and stewardship];

                         (10) to renovate existing, obsolete [park and recreation areas and] facilities;

                         (11) to promote sustainable park design and[environmentally responsible activities and] development;

                         (12) to provide [linear greenbelt] linkages to other public park and conservation areas[parks, neighborhoods, or public facilities]; and

                         (13)[ to encourage the appreciation and preservation of cultural resources; and]

                         [(14)] to support the department’s Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan.

                 (b) Local master plan standard requirements. Minimum master plan standards must be met to qualify for planning and priority points. Local applicants[sponsors]  may submit applications without having a department-endorsed[department-approved] master plan; however, only those applicants[sponsors] that have a TPWD endorsed[approved] park, recreation and open space master plan will receive points for completing a local plan. In addition, only proposals that address priority needs identified in endorsed[approved] plans will receive priority points under the provisions of subsection (c)(7) of this section. Master plans must have been received in an approvable format at least 60 days prior to the application submission deadline at which time credit is sought. The following are minimum master plan standards:

                         (1) Proof of adoption. The plan must be formally adopted or otherwise endorsed by act or resolution of the applicable governing body of the applicant[sponsor], and the endorsement must be included with the document.

                         (2) Jurisdiction-wide scope. The plan must be complete, comprehensive, and assess the entire jurisdiction area of the project applicant[sponsor]. County plans must cover the entire county, and city or district plans must cover the entire city or district. For large urban areas, the plan should cover the entire jurisdiction, and then may break the jurisdiction down into regions, sectors, precincts, districts, etc., as appropriate. Master plans that contemplate service delivery across more than one jurisdiction may be submitted by a local applicant[sponsor], with any necessary supplemental information, provided the plan has been formally adopted or otherwise endorsed by act or resolution of the applicable governing body of the applicant[sponsor].

                         (3) Plan duration. The plan must specifically identify the time period within which the goals and objectives of the plan are to be carried out. Plans should cover a minimum ten-year period. If a plan is more than five years old, a brief summary of plan accomplishments to date, as well as applicable updates of demographics, goals and objectives, standards, and maps must be provided to enable the department to recognize and credit program progress. Any revision of priorities other than an update of accomplishments must present a new priority listing justified by additional public input. Plans older than 10 years will be considered obsolete and new plans will be required.

                         (4) Plan content. The following information should be included in the document:

                                  (A) introduction;

                                  (B) goals and objectives;

                                  (C) plan development process (discuss when the planning process began, plan phases, public input received, survey/studies conducted, committees and/or personnel involved, etc.);

                                  (D) area/facility concepts and standards, including:

                                          (i) population/area service and acreage goals;

                                          (ii) "typical" park and facility standards; and

                                          (iii) applicable local codes, ordinances, and other requirements for community or neighborhood development.

                                  (E) inventory of existing park, recreation and open space areas and facilities (including schools).

                                  (F) needs assessment and identification. Information under this subparagraph shall be area- and facility-specific, and may include basic support facilities/infrastructure which are critical to the recreational experience. A discussion and identification of open space needs in the master plan, or a separate open space plan, shall be included.

                                  (G) prioritization of needs. Applicant shall include:

                                          (i) priority lists for outdoor and indoor needs (may be separate or combined);

                                          (ii) if necessary, a map of all specific area(s) intended for open space acquisition and preservation, identified as a need, discussed, and prioritized, if desired;

                                          (iii) where appropriate, a discussion of renovation/redevelopment needs, which may be ranked as a priority; and

                                          (iv) plan implementation recommendations, including a timeline and discussion of resources for meeting priorities (which must identify and prioritize which needs are to be met, where, and when). Any revision of priorities other than an update of accomplishments must present a new priority listing justified by additional public input.

                                  (H) illustrations, maps, charts, surveys, etc.

                 (c) Outdoor recreation project priority scoring system.

                         (1) Outdoor recreation projects presented to the commission shall be scored according to the criteria, rating factors, and point values set forth in this subsection.

                         (2) The priority ranking of a project will depend on its score in relation to the scores of other projects under consideration.

                         (3) Funding of projects will depend on the availability of TRPA funds.

                         (4) Projects which have not been approved after two considerations by the commission, without alterations to significantly raise the project score, shall be returned to the applicant[sponsor] and not accepted for resubmission.

                         (5) Each site of a multiple-site project shall be scored individually. Individual site scores will be weighted on a pro-rata share of the total budget for the entire project. All weighted scores will be added together for the total project score.

                         (6) If the applicant[sponsor] is in full compliance at previously assisted grant project sites and is progressing on schedule with all active grant projects in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter, the application will be scored and presented for award consideration. If the applicant[sponsor] does not meet the requirements of this paragraph, the application will not be scored or considered further.

                         (7) A project proposal meeting the requirements of paragraph (6) of this subsection shall be evaluated according to the extent that:

                                  (A) the applicant[sponsor] has a current department-endorsed[department-approved] master plan or other comprehensive plan on file with the department at the time of application and the project will satisfy the priority outdoor recreation needs identified in the [master] plan required by this subparagraph. [Consideration of "need" for this criterion includes basic support facilities/infrastructure critical to the park and recreation experience. Eligible support facilities/infrastructure are limited to restrooms, roads and parking, area lighting (to ensure public safety), utilities essential to eligible support facilities, irrigation, and land acquisition.] Scoring shall be as follows, up to a total of 15 points:

                                          (i) for having a current department-endorsed[department-approved] master plan on file at the time of application submission — 5 points;

                                          (ii) for satisfying 3 of the top 5[3] priority needs — 10 points;

                                          (iii) for satisfying 2 of the top 5[3] priority needs — 6 points; and

                                          (iv) for satisfying 1 of the top 5[3] priority needs — 3 points.

                                  (B) the project will provide diversity of park and recreation facilities[opportunities/facilities. Priority points for this criterion shall be awarded based on the number of park and recreation opportunities/facilities provided within the intended service area.] One point will be awarded for each type of significant and diverse recreation facility. Each facility must be identified as a need in the applicant’s[category listed in this subparagraph, provided each element is specifically identified in a] locally adopted park, recreation and open space master plan or, if the applicant[sponsor] does not have an adopted master plan, by a documented public input process, up to [a total of ] 10 points. [The significant recreation categories are:]

                                          [(i) campgrounds;]

                                          [(ii) sports fields and courts;]

                                          [(iii) playgrounds (tables, pavilions, etc.);]

                                          [(iv) picnic areas;]

                                          [(v) golf courses;]

                                          [(vi) swimming facilities;]

                                          [(vii) trails;]

                                          [(viii) passive recreation (scenic overlooks, gardens, etc.);]

                                          [(ix) amphitheater;]

                                          [(x) fishing/hunting facilities; and]

                                          [(xi) natural area.]

                                  (C) the project will expand access to water-based recreation opportunities along existing natural water  bodies, provide desirable habitat conditions for fish and wildlife, and will not degrade the resource. Scoring shall be as follows, up to a total of 4 points:

                                          (i) project expands access to water-based recreation on an existing  wetland, river, continuous flow stream, pond, lake, gulf, bay, or estuary :1 point;

                                          (ii) project preserves, restores, or  improves habitat conditions for fish and wildlife: 1 point;

                                          (iii) project is provided in an area that currently has limited public access to water-based recreation along existing natural water bodies: 1 point;

                                          (iv) project provides a link to existing natural water bodies that support water-based recreation opportunities: 1point.)[the project will provide improved natural water-based park and recreation opportunities, up to a total of 6 points. The project provides direct park and recreation or conservation opportunities which do not degrade the resource along existing quality water bodies, for no more than one of the following:]

                                          [(i) coast or lake: 6 points;]

                                          [(ii) bay or estuary: 5 points;]

                                          [(iii) river: 4 points (only water bodies named as "rivers" may receive points under this category. All others, e.g., creeks, brooks, bayous, branches, etc., are considered "streams");]

                                          [(iv) stream (continuous flow): 3 points;]

                                          [(v) pond: 2 points ("ponds" are generally man-made and no larger than five surface acres. Points will not be awarded for constructing ponds under this category.); or]

                                          [(vi) wetland: 1- 3 points, dependent upon size and quality.]

                                  (D) the project will improve the geographic distribution [or innovative use] of park and recreation lands and facilities in the project’s service area or within the applicant’s[sponsor’s] jurisdiction, up to [a total of] 10 points.

                                          (i) project provides the first public park in the applicant’s[sponsor’s] jurisdiction or intended service area: 10 points; or

                                          (ii) project provides significantly new and different park and recreation opportunities (other than school facilities)  at the project site[in the sponsor’s jurisdiction or intended service area]: 1-10 points. Points for this item shall be awarded only if specific recreation elements are identified as a need in a locally adopted park, recreation, and open space master plan or, if the applicant[sponsor] does not have an adopted master plan, by a documented public input process. Point awards shall [be based on the percentage of construction budget and will] be calculated as follows: new and different facility costs, divided by total construction costs, multiplied by 10.

                                  (E) the project maximizes the use of development funds for outdoor[facilities which provide direct park and] recreation and conservation opportunities, up to a total of 20 points, determined by dividing the direct recreational and conservation[facilities] costs[, including trees and drip irrigation,] by the total construction costs and multiplying the result by 20. ["Total Facilities Costs" includes park/recreation and support/infrastructure facilities, contingency, and all required program signage costs in excess of $1,000.]

                                  (F) the project improves park and recreation opportunities for an underserved population,[low-income, minority, and elderly,] up to 12[a total of 15] points.

                                          (i) project improves opportunities for low-income citizens based on economic and demographic data for the service area from the most recent federal census data: determined by multiplying the percentage of population qualifying as low-income by 5 [and dividing by 100]. Maximum of 5 points.

                                          (ii) project improves opportunities for minority citizens based on economic and demographic data for the service area from the most recent census data: determined by multiplying the percentage of population qualifying as minority by 5 [and dividing by 100]. Maximum of 5 points.

                                          (iii) project provides park and recreation opportunities for physically/mentally challenged citizens, which exceed the federal and state required accessibility standards. 2 points.[project improves opportunities for the elderly: 1 point for each facility or activity that is identified as a need for this special population in a locally adopted master plan or, if the sponsor does not have an adopted plan, by a documented public input process. Maximum of 5 points.]

                                  (G) the project involves local resources or documented cooperation between the applicant[sponsor] and other public or private entities to provide park and recreation opportunities at the project site(s). Maximum of 20 points.

                                          (i) project involves the contribution of resources from sources other than the applicant[sponsor], including publicly owned non-parkland, which serves as all or part of the applicant’s[sponsor’s] matching share of funds. Maximum of 15 points. Points shall be awarded on a percentage basis, determined by dividing the total outside contribution value by the total match and multiplying the result by 15.

                                          (ii) project includes documented contributions via the applicant or outside resources above the 50% required match.  Up to five points will be awarded based on the following criteria:  (Additional Contribution Amount / Required Match) X 5 =

[project involves cooperation between the sponsor and other public or private entities and resources are contributed to the overall project for non-grant assisted facilities (example: a county constructs roads/parking facilities for a city, but no grant funds are requested for roads/parking): 1 point per activity, to a maximum of 5 points].

                                  (H) the project provides for the acquisition and conservation[preservation/conservation] of park and recreation lands, including publicly owned non-parkland, which consist of [regionally representative] natural resources or provides desirable [wetlands,] open space[, water access,] or needed parkland. Total point range: 0-25[1-30] points for not more than one of the following:

                                          (i) project provides for the acquisition and conservation[preservation/conservation] of a [federal, state, regional, or local] government- identified natural area which is recognized in an acceptable, published planning document for having valuable or vulnerable natural resources, ecological processes, or rare, threatened, or endangered species of vegetation or wildlife: 0-25[5-30] points, based on acreage and/or quality; or

                                          (ii) [project provides for the acquisition and preservation/conservation of a significant wetland area: 5-25 points, based on acreage and/or quality; or]

                                          [(iii)] project provides for the acquisition and conservation[preservation/conservation] of natural open space [land or water for human use and enjoyment] that is two acres or larger in size, relatively free of man-made structures [(including creek corridors, floodways, natural drainage basins, and areas which may be enhanced for native habitat)], and which is identified in an acceptable[, published,] and adopted local, jurisdiction-wide open space plan or master plan: 0-15[5-20] points, based on acreage and/or quality; or

                                          [(iv) project provides for the acquisition of land which would provide needed public access to park and recreational waters (see definitions under criteria listed in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph), 1-5 points, as determined below:]

                                                   [(I) coast or lake: 5 points;]

                                                   [(II) bay or estuary: 4 points;]

                                                   [(III) river: 3 points;]

                                                   [(IV) stream (continuous flow): 2 points;]

                                                   [(V) pond: 1 point; or]

                                          (iii)[(v)] project provides for the acquisition of needed parkland; 0-5 points. Points awarded based on the quality, size and how well the narrative justifies need[recreational land proposed for future development: 10 points].

                                  (I) project provides for the renovation or adaptive reuse of an existing obsolete facility[park and recreation area or facilities], determined by dividing the renovation cost by the total construction cost and multiplying the result by 25. Maximum of 25 points.

                                  (J) project promotes sustainable park design[environmentally responsible activities and development by the use of activities or techniques such as xeriscape/native plant materials for landscaping, drip or treated effluent irrigation systems, energy efficient lighting systems, recycled materials for facility construction, environmental education and interpretation, significant tree plantings where no trees exist, alternative energy sources, water catchment systems, or other resource conservation measures.] Points for this category will be awarded based on how the overall project embraces sustainable techniques in the design and construction of the park, including but not limited to the diversity, innovative nature and/or cost of the project elements, up to a maximum of 10 points.

                                  (K) project provides [significant] linkage via trail to other public park and conservation areas.  Points shall be awarded based on the significance of the linkage,[i.e., trails and green corridors (not to include streets or sidewalks) to other parks and recreation areas, neighborhoods, or public facilities,] up to a maximum of 3 points.

                                  [(L) project provides park and recreation opportunities that enhance and encourage appreciation and preservation of site-based cultural (historical and archaeological) resources through interpretive facilities or preservation strategies: maximum of 3 points. Points for this item are awarded based on the significance of the enhancement.]

                                  (L)[(M)]project supports the department’s Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Plan). Applicant[Sponsor] must address how the project meets the goals of the Plan in the proposal narrative. Up to a maximum of 5 points.

                                  (M)[(N)] applicant[sponsor] is in compliance with previously funded projects. If applicant[sponsor] is not in compliance with existing grant obligations, 5 points will be deducted from the project score.

                                  (N)[(O)] a complete application was received by the application deadline — 5 points will be awarded.

         §61.134. Grants for Indoor Recreation Programs.

                 (a) Program purpose and priorities. All grant applications submitted to the department for indoor recreation programs are evaluated for program eligibility and prioritized according to the Project Priority Scoring System set forth in this section. Scored applications are presented to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for approval. The priority ranking of a project depends on its score in relation to the scores of other projects under consideration. Funding of projects will depend on the availability of TRPA funds. Projects which have not been approved after two considerations by the commission, without alterations to significantly raise the project score, shall be returned to the applicant[sponsor] and not accepted for resubmission. In general, recommended priorities for indoor recreation projects are:

                         (1) to ensure applicant[sponsor] performance on active grants and compliance at previously assisted grant sites;

                         (2) to recognize and reward local planning;

                         (3) to provide indoor recreational diversity;

                         (4) to improve geographic distribution [and innovative use] of indoor recreation facilities;

                         (5) to reward local resources and cooperative efforts between project applicants[sponsors] and other entities;

                         (6) to provide for the renovation or adaptive reuse of existing, obsolete indoor recreation or other facilities or structures;

                         (7) to improve indoor recreation opportunities for an underserved population according to the most recent federal census[low-income (for the purposes of this section, low income is defined as median income or lower according to the most recent U.S. census (Median Household Income by State)), minority, and elderly citizens];

                         (8) to promote sustainable park design[environmentally responsible activities] and development; and

                         (9) to support the department’s Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan.

                 (b) Local master plan standard requirements. Minimum master plan standards must be met to qualify for planning and priority points. Local applicants[sponsors] may submit applications without having a department-endorsed[department-approved] master plan; however, only those applicants[sponsors] that have a department-endorsed[department-approved] park, recreation and open space master plan will receive points for completing a local plan. In addition, only proposals that address priority needs identified in endorsed[approved] plans will receive priority points under the provisions of subsection (c) of this section. Master plans must have been received in an approvable format at least 60 days prior to the application submission deadline at which time credit is sought. The following are minimum master plan standards:

                         (1) Proof of adoption. The plan must be formally adopted or otherwise endorsed by act or resolution of the applicable governing body of the applicant[sponsor], and the endorsement must be included with the document.

                         (2) Jurisdiction-wide scope. The plan must be complete, comprehensive, and assess the entire jurisdiction area of the project applicant[sponsor]. County plans must cover the entire county, and city or district plans must cover the entire city or district. For large urban areas, plans should cover the entire jurisdiction, and then break the jurisdiction down into regions, sectors, precincts, districts, etc., as appropriate. Master plans that contemplate service delivery across more than one jurisdiction may be submitted by a local applicant[sponsor], with any necessary supplemental information, provided the plan has been formally adopted or otherwise endorsed by act or resolution of the applicable governing body of the applicant[sponsor].

                         (3) Plan duration. Plans must specifically identify the time period within which the goals and objectives of the plan are to be carried out. The plan should cover a minimum ten-year period. If a plan is more than five years old, a brief summary of plan accomplishments to date, as well as applicable updates of demographics, goals and objectives, standards, and maps must be provided to enable the department to recognize and credit program progress. Any revision of priorities other than an update of accomplishments must present a new priority listing justified by additional public input. Plans older than 10 years will be considered obsolete and new plans will be required.

                         (4) Plan content. The following information should be included in the document:

                                  (A) introduction;

                                  (B) goals and objectives;

                                  (C) plan development process (discuss when the planning process began, plan phases, public input received, survey/studies conducted, committees and/or personnel involved, etc.);

                                  (D) area/facility concepts and standards, including:

                                          (i) population/area service and acreage goals;

                                          (ii) "typical" park and facility standards; and

                                          (iii) applicable local codes, ordinances, and other requirements for community or neighborhood development;

                                  (E) inventory of existing park, recreation and open space areas and facilities (including schools);

                                  (F) needs assessment and identification. Information under this subparagraph shall be area/facility specific, and may include basic support facilities/infrastructure which are critical to the recreational experience. A discussion and identification of open space needs in the master plan, or a separate open space plan, shall be included.

                                  (G) prioritization of needs. Applicant shall include:

                                          (i) separate priority lists for outdoor and indoor needs;

                                          (ii) if necessary, a map of all specific area(s) intended for open space acquisition and preservation, identified as a need, discussed, and prioritized, if desired;

                                          (iii) where appropriate, a discussion of renovation/redevelopment needs, which may be ranked as a priority; and

                                          (iv) plan implementation recommendations, including a timeline and discussion of resources for meeting priorities (must identify and prioritize which needs are to be met, where and when). Any revision of priorities other than an update of accomplishments must present a new priority listing justified by additional public input.

                                  (H) illustrations, maps, charts, surveys, etc.

                 (c) Indoor recreation project priority scoring system. If the applicant[sponsor] is in full compliance at previously assisted grant project sites and is progressing on schedule with all active grant projects in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter, an application will be scored and presented for award consideration. If the applicant[sponsor] does not meet the requirements of this paragraph, the application will not be scored or considered further. A project proposal meeting the requirements of this paragraph shall be evaluated according to:

                         (1) whether or not the applicant[sponsor] has a current department-endorsed[department-approved] master plan on file at the time of application and the extent to which the project will satisfy the priority indoor recreation needs identified in the master plan required by this section, up to a total of 15 points.

                                  (A) for having a current department-endorsed[department-approved] master plan on file at the time of application submission 5 points;

                                  (B) for satisfying 3 of the top 5[3] priority needs 10 points; and

                                  (C) for satisfying 2 of the top 5[3] priority needs 6 points.

                         (2) the extent to which the project will provide diversity of public indoor recreation facilities or opportunities. Points shall be awarded based on the number of indoor recreation facilities provided. One point will be awarded for each type of recreation facility, up to a maximum of 10 points, provided that each recreation element is identified as a need in a locally adopted master plan or, if the applicant[sponsor] does not have an adopted plan, by a documented public input process. The department will not consider project elements that do not support a recreational activity.[.Points may be deducted for projects which propose support facilities which do not support recreational activities.]

                         (3) the extent to which the project will improve geographic distribution [or innovative use] of public indoor recreation facilities. Maximum of 20 points.

                                  (A) project provides the first public indoor recreation facility in the applicant’s[sponsor’s] jurisdiction or intended service area: 20 points; or

                                  (B) project provides significantly new and different public indoor recreation facilities (other than school facilities) in the applicant’s[sponsor’s] jurisdiction or intended service area, based on 5 points per opportunity, provided the individual recreation elements are identified as a need in a locally adopted master plan or, if the applicant[sponsor] does not have an adopted plan, by a documented public input process. Maximum of 15 points.

                         (4) the extent to which the project involves local resources or documented cooperation between the applicant[sponsor] and other public or private entities to provide public indoor recreation facilities at the project site. Maximum of 20 points.

                                  (A) project involves the contribution of resources, including publicly owned non-parkland, from sources other than the applicant[sponsor], which serves as all or part of the applicant’s[sponsor’s] matching share of funds. Maximum of 15 points. Points shall be awarded on a percentage basis, determined by dividing the total outside contribution value by the total match and multiplying the result by 15.

                                  (B) project includes documented contributions via the applicant or outside resources above the 50% required match.  Up to five points will be awarded based on the following criteria:  (Additional Contribution Amount / Required Match) X 5 =

[project involves documented cooperation between the sponsor and other public or private entities and/or resources are contributed to the overall project for non-grant assisted facilities (example: a county constructs roads/parking facilities for a city, but no grant funds are requested for roads/parking): 1 point per documented activity, to a maximum of 5 points.]

                         (5) the extent to which the project provides for the renovation or adaptive reuse of an existing facility, determined by dividing the renovation cost by the total construction cost and multiplying the result by 25. Maximum of 25 points.

                         (6) the extent to which the project improves public indoor recreation opportunities for an underserved population[low-income, minority, or elderly citizens], up to a total of 15 points.

                                  (A) project improves opportunities for low-income citizens: determined by multiplying the percentage of population qualifying as low-income by 5 and dividing by 100. Maximum of 5 points.

                                  (B) project improves opportunities for minority citizens: determined by multiplying the percentage of population qualifying as minority by 5 and dividing by 100. Maximum of 5 points.

                                  (C) project improves opportunities for the physically/mentally challenged. Project provides park and recreation opportunities for physically/mentally challenged citizens, which exceed the federal and state required accessibility standards. 2 points.[elderly. Points for this item shall be awarded on the basis of recreational facility type and service or activity that is identified as a need for the special population in a locally adopted master plan or, if the sponsor does not have an adopted plan, by a documented public input process. Maximum of 5 and dividing by 100 points.]

                         (7) the extent to which the project promotes sustainable park design[the environmentally responsible activities] and development [by the use of activities or techniques such as xeriscape/native plant materials for landscaping, drip or treated effluent irrigation systems, energy efficient lighting systems, recycled materials for facility construction, environmental education and interpretation, significant tree plantings where no trees exist, alternative energy sources, water catchment systems, or other resource conservation measures.] Points shall be awarded based on how the overall project embraces sustainable techniques in the design and construction of the facility including but not limited to the diversity, innovative nature and/or cost of the project elements, up to a maximum of 10 points.

                         (8) the extent to which the project supports the department’s Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Plan). Applicant[Sponsor] must address how the project meets the goals of the Plan in the proposal narrative. Up to a maximum of 5 points.

                         (9) applicant[sponsor] is in compliance with previously funded projects. If applicant[sponsor] is not in compliance with existing grant obligations, 5 points will be deducted from the project score.

                         (10) a complete application was received by the application deadline — 5 points will be awarded to the project score.

         §61.135. Grants for Community Outreach Outdoor Programs.

                 (a) Program purpose and priorities. All grant applications submitted to the department for community outdoor outreach programs are evaluated for program eligibility and prioritized according to the Project Priority Scoring System set forth in this section. In general, recommended priorities for community outdoor outreach projects are:

                         (1) to ensure applicant[sponsor] compliance on previous grants;

                         (2) to improve community outdoor outreach opportunities for inner-city, rural, low-income (for the purposes of this section, low income is defined as median income or lower according to the most recent U.S. census ([Median Household Income by State])), ethnic minority, female, physically/mentally challenged, and youth citizens;

                         (3) to reward partnerships between local applicants[sponsors] and other organized groups;

                         (4) to increase the number of participants served;

                         (5) to maximize the use of funds for direct community outdoor outreach opportunities;

                         (6) to reward commitment of applicant[sponsor] resources;

                         (7) to increase use of TPWD programs, personnel and facilities;

                         (8) to serve youth-at-risk;

                         (9) to promote activities related to TPWD initiatives;

                         [(10) to promote outdoor educational activities;] and

                         (10)[(11)] to reduce priority of new funding for applicants[sponsors] who have not fulfilled all previous grant reimbursement requirements.

                 (b) Community outdoor outreach program project priority scoring system.

                         (1) Community outdoor outreach projects shall be scored according to the criteria, rating factors, and point values set forth in this subsection.

                         (2) The priority ranking of a project will depend on its score in relation to the scores of other projects under consideration.

                         (3) Funding of projects will depend on the availability of TRPA funds.

                         (4) If the applicant[sponsor] is in full compliance with previously assisted grant projects in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter, the application will be scored and presented for award consideration. If the applicant[sponsor] does not meet the requirements of this paragraph, the application will not be scored or considered further.

                         (5) A project proposal meeting the requirements of paragraph (4) of this subsection shall be evaluated according to:

                                  (A) Project description: 0-5 points. Project description should provide a basic overview that:

                                          (i) allows the department to quickly determine the key points of the project (location, time, scope, rationale, etc.);

                                          (ii) describes the goals and objectives of the project;

                                          (iii) includes an assessment instrument for measuring project progress from initiation to completion;

                                          (iv) addresses risk-management measures (safety training, first aid, etc.); and

                                          (v) includes an itemized list of expenses to be paid by co-op funds.

                                  (B) Project Action Plan: 0-3 points. A project action plan should include:

                                          (i) a one-year timeline for the project, beginning within six months of grant approval and proceeding to completion; and

                                          (ii) a detailed description of proposed sites, dates, and planned activities.

                                  (C) Budget Summary: 0-3 points. A budget summary should explain proposed expenses and costs, the dollar value of the grant being requested, and applicant’s contribution.

                                  (D) Resolution: 1 point.  An applicant is ineligible for a grant award under this subchapter unless the application includes a resolution signed by a governing board or authorized official that:

                                          (i) specifically authorizes the submission of the grant application to the department;

                                          (ii) identifies any sponsorship contribution;

                                          (iii) designates a project official by name; and

                                          (iv) is dated. A resolution bearing a date more than one year preceding the date of submission will not be accepted.

                                  (E)[(A)] Proposed project’s primary constituency. Maximum of 15[12] points.

                                          (i) inner city (city must have population of 100,000 or greater): 2 points, based on population figures of applicant[sponsor] location (may be inner-city or rural or neither, but not both);

                                          (ii) rural (cities or counties of 20,000 or less population: 2 points, based on population figures of applicant[sponsor] location (may be inner-city or rural or neither, but not both);

                                          (iii) ethnic minority (ethnic minorities within served population greater than or equal to 50% of total served population): 3[2] points;

                                          (iv) female (females within served population greater than or equal to 50% of total served population): 3[2] points;

                                          (v) low-income greater than or equal to 50% of total served population: 3[2] points;

                                          (vi) physically/mentally challenged (includes ADD, ADHD, special education and must be stated in a number or percentage of total population served): 2 points;

                                          (vii) youth must be stated in number or percentage served (age 17 and under): 2 points.

                                  (F)[(B)] Proposed project encourages partnerships with organized groups. Application must include partnership letters from the partnering organization. Letters of endorsement will not receive credit. One point shall be awarded for each partnership agreement that commits cash contributions, volunteer labor, program materials, physical facilities use, transportation, food, etc. Letters must be current, dated, signed and state what the partners are providing to the program as well as the value of the contribution applicable. Maximum of 4 points.

                                  (G)[(C)] Number of program participants the proposed project will serve. One point awarded per 25 persons served, up to a maximum of 10 points.

                                  (H)[(D)] The extent to which the proposed project prioritizes direct service costs. Points shall be awarded on a percentage basis, determined by dividing the direct service delivery costs by the total project cost and multiplying the result by 10. Maximum of 10 points.

                                  (I)[(E)] The extent to which the applicant’s[sponsor’s] funds and resources are committed to the project. Points shall be awarded on a percentage basis, determined by dividing the local/applicant[local/sponsor] funds by the total project cost and multiplying the result by 4. Applicant[Sponsor] must provide auditable proof of the contribution. Maximum of 4 points.

                                  (J)[(F)] The extent of the proposed project’s direct relationship with TPWD programs and/or facilities. Maximum of 5 points. One point shall be awarded per instance of:

                                          (i) TPWD facility used (must name each department facility);

                                          (ii) TPWD personnel involvement (must provide letter of coordination from TPWD staff); and/or

                                          (iii) TPWD program provided (must identify each program).

                                  (K)[(G)] Project specifically serves at-risk youth. Maximum of 4 points, as follows:

                                          (i) one point for each activity serving at-risk youth through natural resource mentoring programs; and

                                          (ii) two points for each activity serving at-risk youth through natural resource career development programs.[A definition of at-risk youth for the target audience must be included, as well as a description of each activity designed to serve at-risk youth. One point shall be awarded for each activity serving at-risk youth as defined in the project (e.g., tutoring, mentoring, self-esteem building, career development, leadership development, etc.). Maximum of 3 points.]

                                  (L)[(H)] Project proposes activities related to TPWD initiatives. One point shall be awarded for each proposed activity related to a TPWD initiative (e.g., fishing, camping, hunting, environmental education, or other outdoor activity). Maximum of 5 points.

                                  [(I) Project promotes outdoor educational activities. Each educational element must be demonstrated by a discussion of the educational goals and objectives to be employed as they pertain to outdoor/environmental education. Maximum of 4 points. Points will be awarded according to the curriculum’s potential to increase participants’:]

                                          [(i) awareness;]

                                          [(ii) knowledge, skills, and abilities;]

                                          [(iii) critical thinking; and]

                                          [(iv) behavioral change.]

                                  (M)[(J)] Project includes an outdoor service project. Eligible service projects must be related to the department’s mission. Projects must be described in detail and must include a partnership letter from the involved entities or organizations. Examples of eligible service projects include but are not limited to: trail or habitat restoration, planting native vegetation, wildlife monitoring, students mentoring students and building/distributing bird houses. Maximum of 3 points. Points will be awarded on the following criteria:

                                          (i) environmental/conservation needs addressed by the proposed service project and how the proposed service project will address the needs identified in subparagraph (E)[(A)] of this paragraph;

                                          (ii) the direct involvement of youth in the planning and problem solving process; and

                                          (iii) the prospective impact of the service project on youth and the community.

                                  (N)[(K)]  Applicant has fulfilled all previous community outdoor outreach grant reimbursement requirements. If no, deduct points from the application score determined by multiplying the remaining unspent grant balance by .0015 percent.

         §61.136. Small Community Grant Program.

                 (a) Program purpose and priorities. All grant applications submitted to the department for the small community grant program are evaluated for program eligibility and prioritized according to the Project Priority Scoring System set forth in this section. Scored applications are presented to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for approval. In general, recommended priorities for small community projects are:

                         (1) to ensure applicant[sponsor] performance on active grants and compliance at previously assisted grant sites;

                         (2) to reward the smallest communities;

                         (3) to improve geographic distribution [and innovative use] of park and recreation opportunities;

                         (4) to maximize the use of funds for outdoor[basic park and] recreation and conservation opportunities;

                         (5) to improve park and recreation opportunities for an underserved population[low income (for the purposes of this section, low income is defined as median income or lower according to the most recent U.S. census (Median Household Income by State)), minority, and elderly citizens];

                         (6) to reward cooperative efforts between small communities and other governmental, educational, or private sector entities;

                         (7) to renovate existing, obsolete [park and recreation areas and] facilities;

                         (8) to promote sustainable park design[environmentally responsible activities] and development; and

                         (9) to support the department’s Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan.

                 (b) Small communities project priority scoring system.

                         (1) Small community projects presented to the commission shall be scored according to the criteria, rating factors, and point values set forth in this subsection.

                         (2) The priority ranking of a project will depend on its score in relation to the scores of other projects under consideration.

                         (3) Funding of projects will depend on the availability of TRPA funds.

                         (4) Projects which have not been approved after two considerations by the commission, without alterations to significantly raise the project score, shall be returned to the applicant[sponsor]and not accepted for resubmission.

                         (5) Each site of a multiple-site project shall be scored individually. Individual site scores will be weighted on a pro-rata share of the total budget for the entire project. All weighted scores will be added together for the total project score.

                         (6) If the applicant[sponsor] is in full compliance at previously assisted grant project sites and is progressing on schedule with all active grant projects in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter, the application will be scored and presented for award consideration. If the applicant[sponsor] does not meet the requirements of this paragraph, the application will not be scored or considered further.

                         (7) A project proposal meeting the requirements of paragraph (6) of this subsection shall be evaluated according to the extent that:

                                  (A) the population of the applicant[sponsor] is 2,500 or less (based on the most recent federal census data). Three points will be awarded if the community population is 2,500 or less.

                                  (B) the project will improve the geographic distribution [or innovative use] of park and recreation lands and facilities in the project’s service area or within the applicant’s[sponsor’s] jurisdiction, up to a maximum of 10 points.

                                          (i) the project provides the first public park in the applicant’s[sponsor’s] jurisdiction or intended service area: 10 points; or

                                          (ii) the project provides significantly new and different park and recreation opportunities (other than school facilities) at the project site. One point per facility identified by documented public input process to be a need: up to 3 points. Points for this criteria will be awarded only if each recreation element is identified by a documented public input process.

                                          (C) the project maximizes the use of development funds for direct outdoor recreation and conservation[facilities which provide direct park and recreation] opportunities, up to a maximum of 10 points, as determined by dividing the direct recreational and conservation[facilities] costs by the total construction costs and multiplying the result by 10. ["Total Facilities Costs" include park and recreation facilities, support and infrastructure facilities, contingency costs, and all required program signage costs in excess of $1,000.]

                                          (D) the project improves park and recreation opportunities for an underserved population[low-income, minority, and elderly citizens], up to a maximum of 12[15] points.

                                                   (i) the project improves opportunities for low-income citizens (based on economic and demographic data for the service area from the most recent federal census data). Points will be calculated[as determined] by multiplying the percentage of population qualifying as low income by five. Maximum of five points.

                                                   (ii) the project improves opportunities for minority citizens (based on economic and demographic data for the service area from the most recent federal census data). Points will be calculated[as determined] by multiplying the percentage of population qualifying as minority by five. Maximum of five points.

                                                   (iii) the project provides park and recreation opportunities for physically/mentally challenged citizens, which exceed the federal and state required accessibility standards. 2 points)[the project improves opportunities for the elderly. One point is awarded for each facility or activity that is identified as a needed recreational opportunity for this special population by a documented public input process. Maximum of five points.]

                                  (E) the project involves local resources or documented cooperation between the applicant[sponsor] and other public or private entities to provide park and recreation opportunities at the project site(s). Maximum of 10 points.

                                          (i) project includes documented contributions via the applicant or outside resources above the 50% required match.  Up to five points will be awarded based on the following criteria:  (Additional Contribution Amount / Required Match) X 5 =

                                          (ii) the project involves the contribution of resources from sources other than the sponsor, including publicly owned non-parkland, which serves as all or part of the sponsor’s matching share of funds. Up to five points may be awarded on a percentage basis, as determined by dividing the total outside contribution value by the total match and multiplying the result by five.[(ii) the project involves cooperation between the sponsor and other entities where resources are contributed to the overall project for non-grant assisted facilities (example: a county constructs roads/parking facilities for a city, but no grant funds are requested for roads/parking): one point per activity, up to a maximum of five points.]

                                  (F) the project provides for the renovation of an existing obsolete facility[park and recreation area] or facilities, as determined by dividing the renovation cost by the total construction cost and multiplying the result by ten. Maximum of ten points.

                                  (G) the project promotes sustainable park design and development.[environmentally responsible activities and development through the use of activities or techniques such as xeriscape/native plant materials, drip or treated effluent irrigation systems, energy efficient lighting systems, recycled materials for facility construction, environmental education and interpretation, significant tree plantings where no trees exist, alternative energy sources, water catchment systems, or other resource conservation measures.] Points for this category will be awarded based on how the overall project embraces sustainable techniques in the design and construction of the park, including but not limited to the diversity, innovative nature and/or cost of the project elements, up to a maximum of 5 points.

                                  (H) project supports the department’s Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Plan). Applicant[Sponsor] must address how the project meets the goals of the Plan in the proposal narrative, up to a maximum of 2 points.

                                  (I) applicant[sponsor] is in compliance with previously funded projects. If applicant[sponsor] is not in compliance with existing grant obligations, 5 points will be deducted from the project score.

                                  (J) a complete application was received by the application deadline — 5 points will be awarded to the project score.

                                  [(K) sponsor is not in compliance with previously funded projects, if not, (-5) points will be deducted from the project score].

         §61.138. Outdoor Urban Park Grants Program.

                 (a) Program purpose and priorities. All Urban Park Program Outdoor Recreation Grant Program applications are evaluated for program eligibility and prioritized according to the Project Priority Scoring System set forth in this section. Multiple-site projects are allowed and will be scored as one project. A project’s priority ranking depends on its score in relation to the scores of other projects under consideration. Scored applications are presented to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) for approval. Funding of projects will depend on the availability of funds.

                 (b) A project that has been considered twice by the Commission but not approved will not be considered again unless it has been significantly altered to raise the project score.

                 (c) Points will be awarded based on the compatibility of project elements with the scoring criteria in this subsection.

                         (1) Acquisition. The project proposes to acquire land that would satisfy one or more of the following:

                                  (A) significant natural area. An area that is significant for a relatively undisturbed ecosystem that exhibits regionally representative geological, floral, faunal, or hydrological features and has the potential to serve regional or statewide recreation needs. Natural areas can serve as: greenbelts/open spaces; locations for passive activities; preservation areas for unique natural features; and interpretive sites which highlight or explain ecosystem processes (points based on acreage and quality) — (1-4 points);

                                  (B) green corridor/connectivity to existing protected areas (points based on acreage and quality) — (1-4 points);

                                  (C) pocket park. Pocket parks are defined as 1 acre or less  in size with a service area of one-quarter mile (2 points)[New parkland or additions to existing parkland in urban centers – (1-2 points)]);

                                  (D) intensive-use recreation facility such as an athletic complex – (2 points)[(1-2 points)];

                                  (E) future conservation and recreation purposes that initially provide limited public access (points based on quality and size) — (1-4 points);

                                  (F) expansion (to include in-holdings) of existing parks and conservation areas -  (2 points)[(1- 2 points)]; and

                                  (G)  adaptive reuse for recreation or conservation of lands that have limited use in their existing state — (1 point)[; and]

                                  [(H) proximity to areas of high population density — (1 point)].

                         (2) Development. Project proposes development of one or more of the following:

                                  (A) neighborhood park. Neighborhood park is defined as 1-15 acres in size with a service area of one-half mile. (3 points)[(1-3 points)];

                                  (B) nature center (natural-resource-based sites developed for outdoor recreation and education purposes such as trails, wildlife viewing, interpretive signage, etc.) NOTE: Indoor facilities are not eligible under this program. (2 points)[(1-2 points)];

                                  (C) park and conservation area of regional significance (project is a component of a comprehensive or park and recreation master plan for 1 or more political jurisdictions) (2points)[(1-2 points)];

                                  (D) [green construction/sustainability (1 point);]

                                  [(E)] multi-purpose recreation facility (1 point); and

                                  (E)[(F)] outdoor aquatic recreation (1 point).

                         (3) Restoration. Project provides for the restoration and/or renovation of existing [recreation and conservation] infrastructure (or other facilities) that is no longer usable for its intended or original purpose:

                                  (A) restoration of existing infrastructure. Points will be awarded based on percentage of the budget dedicated to the criterion (Renovation Cost divided by the Total Construction Cost multiplied by ten) — (1-10 points);

                                  (B) [wildlife habitat management (removal of invasive species or significant planting of native species resulting in the restoration of wildlife habitat). Points will be awarded based on percentage of the budget dedicated to the criterion — (1-10 points);]

                                  [(C)] adaptive reuse of existing structures and facilities to provide new or different recreation opportunities (use of an existing slab from a demolished building as a recreation court, the reuse of a bridge for recreation purposes, remediated brownfield, etc.). Points will be awarded according to the formula: (Reuse Costs divided by Total Construction Costs multiplied by five)[based on the percentage of the total budget dedicated to the criterion] — (1-5 points);

                         (4) Trails/Corridors/Greenways. Project proposes one or more of the following (points  awarded based on length of trail):

                                  (A) major linear development (1 mile or longer) — (1-6 points);

                                  (B) development that connects or extends an existing trail system or wildlife corridor — (1-5 points);

                                  (C) major loop development (1 mile or more) — (1-4 points);

                                  (D) neighborhood/loop trail development — (1-4 points);

                                  (E) off-road trail development for non-motorized use — (1-2 points);

                                  (F) aquatic paddling trail development — (1-2 points);

                                  (G) interpretive nature trail development — (1-2 points);

                         (5) Sports Facilities. Project proposes the development of one or more of the following:

                                  (A) large capacity, intensive-use sports facility — (7 points);

                                  (B) competition or practice facilities in close proximity to users (3 points);

                         (6) Underserved Populations. Project provides for one or more of the following:

                                  (A) more equitable geographic distribution of facilities. Project proposal shall provide a map showing current distribution of parks in entire service area to support a need in a particular location[include a map showing the locations of existing parks in the sponsor’s entire service area to justify additional facility] — (4 points);

                                  (B) project improves opportunities for low-income citizens based on the economic demographic information of the service area from the most recent census data, determined by multiplying the percentage of population qualifying as low-income by 2 (0-2 points);[improved park or recreation opportunities for low-income citizens (for the purposes of this section, low income is defined as median income or lower according to the most recent U.S. census (Median Household Income by State)). Project proposal must include an economic analysis of the relevant population demographics of the service area — (2 points);]

                                  (C) project improves opportunities for ethnic minority citizens based on the demographic information of the service area from the most recent census data: determined by multiplying the percentage of population qualifying as ethnic minority by 2 – (0-2 points);[improved park or recreation opportunities for minority citizens. Project proposal must include a demographic analysis of the target population within the service area — (2 points);]

                                  (D) project provides park and recreation opportunities for physically/mentally challenged citizens, which exceed the federal and state required accessibility standards. 2 points;[improved park or recreation opportunities for elderly citizens. Project proposal must demonstrate compatibility with the sponsor’s master plan or public input process — (2 points);]

                         (7) Local Resources and Partnerships.

                                  (A) project involves public-public or public-private cooperation based on the percentage of the match contributed by partners. Points are calculated by dividing the partner contribution by the total match and multiplying by five. (0-5 points).

                                  (B) Project includes documented contributions via the applicant or outside resources above the 50% required match.  Up to 3 points will be awarded based on the following criteria:  (Additional Contribution Amount / Required Match) X 3 =[Joint ventures/partnerships. Project involves public-public or public-private cooperation (award is based on the percentage of the total budget contributed by partners; however, points are awarded based on all partners and not solely on the partners making a monetary contribution). The role of each partner must be explained. Application must include a partnership letter from each partnering organization or a current written and signed agreement between the project sponsor and each proposed partnership group. Partnerships that are programming-only will not be awarded. 1- 5 points may be awarded on the basis of the number of partners, as follows:

                                  [(A) three partners (1 point);]

                                  [(B) four partners (2 points); or]

                                  [(C) five or more partners (3 points).]

                         (8) Master plan. Points will be awarded for planning, as follows:

                                  (A) project applicant[sponsor] has a locally adopted and department-endorsed[department-approved] parks, recreation and open space master plan or other jurisdiction-wide plan that addresses outdoor recreation needs — (5 points); or

                                  (B) project satisfies 1[ 3] of the top 5[3] priority needs –  5[10] points.[;]

                                  [(C) project satisfies 2 of the top 3 priority needs — 6 points; or]

                                  [(D) project satisfies 1 of the top 3 priority needs — 3 points.]

                         (9) Threat. Project reduces the threat to the public availability of a conservation or recreation opportunity. The project narrative must include a discussion of the particular compelling circumstances involving the project, such as imminent loss of opportunity or[,] time-sensitive economic factors (i.e. loss of potential funding partner if action is not undertaken quickly)[, a significant safety hazard, or needed restoration (without which the facility could be deemed unusable.) Basic maintenance is not an eligible expense].

                                  (A) no evidence of threat is presented — (0 points);

                                  (B) minimal threat; the conservation or recreation opportunity appears to be in no immediate danger of loss in the next 36 months — (1 point);

                                  (C)  actions under consideration[action in progress] that could result in the conservation or recreation opportunity becoming unavailable for public use — (2   points); and

                                  (D) actions that will be taken to[action in progress that will] result in the conservation or recreation opportunity becoming unavailable for future public use or a threat situation has occurred or is imminent that will result in the acquisition of rights to the land by a land trust at the request of the applicant — (3 points).

                         (10) Historical/cultural resource. Project provides park and recreation opportunities that enhance and encourage appreciation and preservation of site-based cultural, natural, historical or archaeological resources by means of interpretation, facilities, or preservation strategies — (2 points).

                         (11) Consistency with Land and Water Conservation Plan (up to 10 points). Applicant[Sponsor] must specifically describe how the project meets the goals of the Land and Water Conservation Plan.

                         (12) Compliance.

                                  (A) applicant[sponsor] is not in compliance with previously funded projects — (5 points deducted from total score).

                                  (B) complete application received by the application deadline — (5 points).

                         (13) Urban biologist consultation. Applicant has consulted with an urban biologist from the department regarding the proposed site plan at least 30 days prior to the application deadline and the biologist’s comments are included in the application materials — (5 points).

                         (14) Sustainable park design and development. The project embraces sustainable techniques in the design and construction of the park or includes wildlife habitat improvement/restoration. Points will be awarded based on but not limited to diversity, innovative nature and/or cost of the project elements. (1-5 points).

         §61.139. Indoor Urban Park Grants Program.

                 (a) Program purpose and priorities. All Urban Park Program Indoor Recreation Grant Program applications are evaluated for program eligibility and prioritized according to the Project Priority Scoring System set forth in this section. Multiple-site projects are allowed and will be scored as one project. Individual site scores will be weighted on a pro-rata share of the total project score. A project’s priority ranking depends on its score in relation to the scores of other projects under consideration. Scored applications are presented to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) for approval. Funding of projects will depend on the availability of funds.

                 (b) A project that has been considered twice by the Commission but not approved will not be considered again unless it has been significantly altered to raise the project score.

                 (c) Points will be awarded based on the compatibility of project elements with the scoring criteria in this subsection.

                         (1) Development. Project proposes development of one or more of the following:

                                  (A) nature center that provides natural resource conservation or environmental education visitor experiences — (5 points);

                                  (B) [green construction/sustainability — (1 point);]

                                  [(C)] multi-purpose recreation facilities — (1 point);

                                  (C)[(D)] diverse recreation facilities within the applicant’s[sponsor’s] jurisdiction — (one point will be awarded for each type of significant recreation opportunity, up to 3 points);

                         (2) Restoration. Project provides for the renovation of existing recreation and conservation facilities that are[infrastructure that is] no longer usable for the[its] intended or original purpose (renewal or revival of existing facilities. Basic maintenance is not an eligible expense);

                                  (A) restoration of an existing structure. Points will be awarded based on percentage of the budget dedicated to restoration — (1-15 points);

                                  (B) adaptive reuse of existing structure or facility to provide new or different recreation opportunities (Points will be awarded based on the percentage of the budget dedicated to the adaptive reuse) — (1-10 points);

                         (3) Underserved populations. Project provides for one or more of the following:

                                  (A) more equitable geographic distribution of facilities. Project proposal shall include a map showing the current distribution of parks in the entire service area to support a need in a particular location[the locations of existing parks in the applicant’s[sponsor’s]  entire service area to justify additional facility] — (4 points);

                                  (B) project improves opportunities for low-income citizens based on economic and demographic data for the service area from the most recent federal census data: determined by multiplying the percentage of population qualifying as low-income by 2. (0-2 points)[improved park or recreation opportunities for low-income citizens (for the purposes of this section, low income is defined as median income or lower according to the most recent U.S. census (Median Household Income by State)). Project proposal must include an economic analysis of the relevant population demographics of the service area — (2 points)];

                                  (C) project improves opportunities for minority citizens based on economic and demographic data for the service area from the most recent federal census data: determined by multiplying the percentage of population qualifying as minority by 2. (0-2 points)[improved park or recreation opportunities for minority citizens. Project proposal must include a demographic analysis of the target population within the service area — (2 points)];

                                  (D) project provides park and recreation opportunities for physically/mentally challenged citizens, which exceed the federal and state required accessibility standards – (2 points)[improved park or recreation opportunities for elderly citizens. Project proposal must demonstrate compatibility with the sponsor’s master plan or public input process — (2 points)];

                         (4) Local Resources/partnerships.

                                  (A) project involves public-public or public-private cooperation based on the percentage of the match contributed by partners. Points are calculated by dividing the partner contribution by the total budget and multiplying by five. (0-5 points).

                                  (B) Project includes documented contributions via the applicant or outside resources above the 50% required match.  Up to 3 points will be awarded based on the following criteria:  (Additional Contribution Amount / Required Match) X 3 =

[Joint efforts/partnerships. Project involves public-public or public-private cooperation (award is based on the percentage of the total budget contributed by partners; however, points are awarded based on all partners and not solely on the partners making a monetary contribution). The role of each partner must be explained. Application must include a partnership letter from each partnering organization or a current written and signed agreement between the project sponsor and each proposed partnership group. Partnerships that are programming-only will not be awarded. 1-3 points may be awarded on the basis of the number of partners, as follows:]

                                  [(A) three partners — (1 point);]

                                  [(B) four partners (2 points); or]

                                  [(C) five or more partners (3 points)].

                         (5) Master plan. Points will be awarded for planning, as follows:

                                  (A) project applicant[sponsor] has a locally adopted and department-endorsed[department-approved] parks, recreation and open space master plan or other jurisdiction-wide plan  that addresses outdoor recreation needs — (5 points); or

                                  (B) project satisfies 1[3] of the top 5[3] priority needs – 5[10] points;

                                  [(C) project satisfies 2 of the top 3 priority needs — 6 points; or]

                                  [(D) project satisfies 1 of the top 3 priority needs — 3 points.]

                         (6) Threat. Project reduces the threat to the public availability of a recreation opportunity. The project narrative must include a discussion of the particular compelling circumstances involving the project, such as imminent loss of opportunity or[,] time-sensitive economic factors (i.e. loss of potential funding partner if action is not undertaken quickly)[, a significant safety hazard, or needed restoration (without which the facility could be deemed unusable.) Basic maintenance is not an eligible expense].

                                  (A) no evidence of threat is presented — (0 points);

                                  (B) minimal threat; the recreation opportunity appears to be in no immediate danger of loss in the next 36 months — (1 point);

                                  (C) actions under consideration[action in progress] that could result in the recreation opportunity becoming unavailable for public use — (2 points); and

                                  (D) actions under consideration[action in progress] that will result in the recreation opportunity becoming unavailable for future public use or a threat situation has occurred or is imminent that will result in the acquisition of rights to the land by a land trust at the request of the applicant — (3 points).

                         (7) Historical/cultural resource. Project provides park and recreation opportunities that enhance and encourage appreciation and preservation of site-based cultural, natural, historical or archaeological resources by means of interpretation, facilities, or preservation strategies — (2 points).

                         (8) Consistency with Land and Water Conservation Plan (up to 10 points). Applicant[Sponsor] must specifically describe how the project meets the goals of the Land and Water Conservation Plan.

                         (9) Compliance.

                                  (A) Applicant[sponsor] is not in compliance with previously funded projects — (5 points deducted from total score).

                                  (B) complete application received by the application deadline — (5 points).

                         (10) Urban biologist consultation. Applicant has consulted with an urban biologist from the department regarding the proposed site plan at least 30 days prior to the application deadline and the biologist’s comments are included in the application materials — (5 points).

                         (11) Sustainable park design and development. The project embraces sustainable techniques in the design and construction of the facility. Points will be awarded based on diversity, innovative nature and/or cost of the project elements — (1-5 points).

         This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

         Issued in Austin, Texas, on


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