Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Action
Land Transfer – Cherokee County
Remnant Tracts to the City of Rusk
November 7, 2013

I.       Executive Summary:  The City of Rusk has requested that TPWD transfer unneeded right-of-way acquired with the Texas State Railroad to the City.

II.     Discussion:  The Texas State Railroad (TSRR) runs 25 miles from Palestine in Anderson County to Rusk in Cherokee County.  The TSRR was owned and operated from mid-1970 to 2007 by TPWD.  In 2007, the operations and many of the assets of the TSRR were transferred to the Texas State Railroad Authority (TSRA) by Act of the 80th Texas legislature.  Consistent with that Act, TPWD retained ownership of the railroad right-of-way (ROW) and the rails. Portions of the ROW extend beyond the terminus of the TSRR in Rusk and Palestine and are not needed for rail operations.  In recent years, TPWD has sold two of these remnant tracts to adjacent landowners.  The City of Rusk requests that TPWD transfer any remaining remnant parcels associated with the eastern terminus of the TSRR to the City.  At least one of those parcels is to be incorporated into a City-owned industrial park currently in the planning stages.

The TPW Commission took action on this item in May. At that time the City of Rusk believed the subject tracts to be within its city limits. Since then, it has been determined that one of the tracts lies partly outside city limits. The City requests the TPW Commission authorize the transfer of this tract. The tract is depicted in Exhibit D below.

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

“The Commission adopts the Resolution attached as Exhibit A.”

Attachments – 4

  1. Exhibit A – Resolution
  2. Exhibit B – Location Map
  3. Exhibit C – Vicinity Map
  4. Exhibit D – Site Map

Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit A

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Regarding the Transfer of Remnant Tracts of Land from the Texas State Railroad to the City of Rusk in Cherokee County

Resolution

Whereas, in 1953 the 53rd Texas legislature created the Texas State Railroad (TSRR); and,

Whereas, in 1971 the 62nd Texas legislature did transfer the duties of the Board of Managers from the Texas State Railroad (TSRR) to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPDW); and,

Whereas, the transfer did include approximately 395 acres of land made up of numerous parcels consisting of land for railroad right-of-way (ROW) and purposes related to the operation of the TSRR; and,

Whereas, in 2007 the 80th legislature did transfer the operation and many of the assets of the TSRR to the Texas State Railroad Authority; and,

Whereas, consistent with the transfer, the TPWD did retain ownership of the ROW and the rails, but leased the ROW to the Texas State Railroad Authority for 99-years;

Whereas, the ROW includes remnant tracts not needed for operation or maintenance of the TSRR; and,

Whereas, the City of Rusk has requested the transfer of unneeded remnant tracts of ROW in and near the City of Rusk (Remnant Tracts) from TPWD to the City for development or other purposes, at the discretion of the City; and,

Whereas, the Remnant Tracts do not have recreational or biological values that would make ownership by TPWD consistent with the mission of TPWD; and,

Whereas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) finds that as required by Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 26, notices of today’s hearing of this matter were published at least once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation which is published at least six days a week in the community nearest to the Remnant Tracts in which such newspapers are published (Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches County), with the last day of publication being not less than one week or more than two weeks before the date of today’s hearing and that such notices specified the date and time at which the Commission would hear testimony regarding the transfer; and,

Whereas, the City of Rusk has agreed to undertake all necessary research and costs associated with identifying, locating and transferring the Remnant Tracts, and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 26, that there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the transfer of the Remnant Tracts; and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Section 13.009 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code that transfer of the Remnant Tracts is in the best interest of TPWD; and,

Now, therefore, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to transfer the Remnant Tracts for the purposes and subject to the conditions described herein and in the motion approved in this Resolution.

Adopted and approved this 7th day of November, 2013.

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T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman

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Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

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Roberto De Hoyos, Member

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Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

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Bill Jones, Member

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James Lee, Member

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Margaret Martin, Member

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S. Reed Morian, Member

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Dick Scott, Member


Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit B

Location Map for Rusk in Cherokee County

Location Map for Rusk in Cherokee County


Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit C

Texas State Railroad Vicinity Map

Texas State Railroad Vicinity Map


Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit D

Site Map of Subject Tracts in Rusk

TSRR Shown in Red
Rusk City Limits Shown in Yellow
Two Subject Tracts Shown in Orange

Site Map of Subject Tracts in Rusk


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