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City makes movement on TPWD grants for park improvements

The Graham City Council Thursday gave the authorization of City Manager Brandon Anderson to work as applicant for the city when dealing with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regarding grant programs for city park improvements.

The city of Graham received $1.3 million from the Brazos River Authority for parks improvement projects in June 2018. The money was received for the Salt Creek Park project to turn the floodplain along Salt Creek into a park for the city with a waiver of liability to the BRA. Since then, the parks board has been working to get numbers they can submit to TPWD in order to obtain matching grants for their suggested improvement projects, Anderson said in the October meeting. Anderson released a public notice regarding the park construction on Thursday after the meeting.

“The City of Graham is proposing to make improvements to Firemen’s Park and Shawnee Park as well as improvements to a new park recently set aside for park land,” he wrote in the release. “The improvements at each site will be performed within the designated flood plain or floodway or in proximity to established wetlands. However, none of the improvements will be constructed in a wetland and they will not result in an increase in flood plain levels. Descriptions of the improvements along with location maps and other documentation are available for public review at City Hall. Residents may review the documents and are encouraged to forward any comments to the City Manager’s office.”

The council approved the 2019 Park Improvement Study Executive Summary prepared by the engineering company Jacob Martin, LLC, and authorized the Graham Parks and Recreation board to give the engineering company the authority to apply for grants with TPWD in October. The approval also gave Anderson the authority to sign all documents related to TPWD applications.

“I am trying to get everything together to basically dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s for the application that Jacob and Martin is doing for us,” Anderson said. “Prior to submittal, we would have that in hand to review and look at, but essentially where we are at and the parks board has been meeting with Jacob and Martin and has the three year plan mapped out. We presented that last time and talked about giving the initial go ahead and this actually then would be with Texas Parks and Wildlife, their authorization would be to name a signator.”

According to TPWD, the annual deadline for Local Park grants is Dec. 4 and for Recreational Trails grants is Feb. 1. Anderson said the first stage is getting approved for the initial application.

“Our hope would be that they would see enough value in our three-phase plan that they would then turn around and fund us the next year and then obviously if we apply and we get told no on this first application process, then that sends us and the parks board back to the drawing board to figure out how we want to downsize what our plan is or what,” Anderson said. “I really feel like we have taken the right steps. I think that the plan that we put together is very, very useful and I know (Parks and Recreation Board President) Lee (Boyd) has stayed in touch with Parks and Wildlife and is kind of aware of what works and what doesn’t work and we will be banking on him and relying on him. That is why we want to get the application back before we actually submit it for review and make it look like it has our values and what we are focused on in that application process.”

For the full story, see the Saturday, Nov. 16 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

GRAHAM OFFICE
620 Oak Street
P.O. Box 600
Graham, Texas 76450
Phone: (940) 549-7800
Fax: (940) 228-0589