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May 15, 2006
State Parks Advisory Committee to Discuss Park Needs, Costs
AUSTIN, Texas — The recently appointed Texas State Parks Advisory Committee will hold its second meeting May 19 in Austin, where members will hear about university research documenting the economic value of state parks for local communities, plus a report on needs and cost projections to effectively staff and maintain Texas state parks.
The committee will meet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 19, with a brief break at noon followed by a working lunch. The meeting will take place at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department headquarters, 4200 Smith School Road in southeast Austin.
Also during this meeting, advisory committee Chairman John Montford will set out subcommittee assignments and charges. Montford is a former state senator and former chair of the Senate Finance Committee who established the state sporting goods sales tax as a state park funding source in the 1990s.
He and other parks advisory committee members were asked to serve by Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Chairman Joseph Fitzsimons.
Fitzsimons has asked the committee for recommendations on four topics, including exploring funding options for the state park system.
The committee is also charged with considering any existing units of the state park system that might be operated by more appropriate entities; the role of public-private partnerships in parks, including concessions, sponsorships and incentive based solutions; and options to accomplish goals for state and local parks in the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan, the 10-year operating plan for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
At the May 19 meeting, advisory group subcommittee chair Andrew Sansom will provide a subcommittee report and lead a discussion of state park system funding needs, including how additional funding for state parks could best be spent. Sansom is former executive director of TPWD and currently leads the River Systems Institute at Texas State University in San Marcos.
The advisory committee includes former state legislators and leaders of state agencies and conservation and tourism organizations.
Three new members have been appointed who will join the committee for the first time May 19—David Woodcock, Texas A&M University architecture professor; Ann Hamilton of the Houston Endowment; and Michael Massey, City of Richardson parks and recreation director.
For more information, including a complete list of advisory committee members, see the TPWD Web site. *
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