508000457201Willacy County Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan, 2010 - 2020D R A F TDRAFT RESOLUTIONRESOLUTION NO. __________A RESOLUTION OF THE COMMISSIONERS COURT OF WILLACY COUNTY, TEXAS ADOPTING THE 2010-2020 PARKS, RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE MASTER PLAN; FINDING AND DETERMINING THAT THE MEETING AT WHICH THIS RESOLUTION WAS PASSED WAS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AS REQUIRED BY LAW.WHEREAS, the Commissioners Court of Willacy County recognizes the need for a 2010-2020 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan (the “Plan”) to provide goals, assessments, standards, recommendations and strategies for implementation over a ten-year period in an effort to provide for and continually improve park and recreational facilities, provide trail opportunities, preserve open spaces and rehabilitate existing parks in Willacy County; andWHEREAS, the primary objective of the “Plan” is to provide recreational services desired by the citizens of Willacy County, acquire needed open spaces, and preserve natural resources; andWHEREAS, in order to address recreational needs in the future, Willacy County has sought input from the citizens of the County through a printed and Internet survey, public input meetings, including meetings of the Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force; and that input has been incorporated into the “Plan”; andWHEREAS, the “Plan” complies with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department master plan guidelines which require parks and recreation needs to be prioritized and addressed in an action plan format; andWHEREAS, the Commissioners Court determines that the “Plan” is reasonable;NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COMMISSIONER’S COURT OF WILLACY COUNTY, TEXAS:I.That the 2010-2020 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan for Willacy County, Texas is hereby officially adopted, as attached hereto and incorporated herein for all intents and purposes.II.A ten-year Action Plan has been developed to prioritize implementation of the 2010-2020 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan, guide the rehabilitation of existing parks, provide guidance in the application of funding, and suggest alternative funding mechanisms.Adoption of the 2010-2020 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan shall not commit Willacy County, or any jurisdiction within Willacy County, to specific funding levels or implementation strategies, but shall provide a guidance plan for the County’s vision for availability and growth of park and recreational services.PRESENTED AND PASSED on this the __________ day of __________ 2010, by a vote of __________ yeas and __________ nays at a regular meeting of the Commissioners Court of Willacy County, Texas._________________________County JudgeATTEST_________________________County Administrative AssistantAPPROVED AS TO FORM AND CONTENT:_________________________County AttorneyTABLE OF CONTENTS TOC o ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PAGEREF _Toc134593420 h 5Willacy County Commissioner’s Court PAGEREF _Toc134593421 h 5Members of the Willacy County Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force PAGEREF _Toc134593422 h 6INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc134593423 h 7Importance of Parks and Recreation PAGEREF _Toc134593424 h 7Purpose of the Comprehensive Master Plan PAGEREF _Toc134593425 h 7Willacy County’s and Other Jurisdiction’s Roles in Providing Recreation Opportunities PAGEREF _Toc134593426 h 8County Overview PAGEREF _Toc134593427 h 8Location PAGEREF _Toc134593428 h 9History PAGEREF _Toc134593429 h 9Climate PAGEREF _Toc134593430 h 10Geology PAGEREF _Toc134593431 h 10Vegetation and Animal Life PAGEREF _Toc134593432 h 11Demographics PAGEREF _Toc134593433 h 11Economy PAGEREF _Toc134593434 h 13Education PAGEREF _Toc134593435 h 13Jurisdiction and Planning Areas PAGEREF _Toc134593436 h 13GOALS AND OBJECTIVES PAGEREF _Toc134593437 h 14Plan Development Process PAGEREF _Toc134593438 h 18Public Meetings PAGEREF _Toc134593439 h 18Survey of Area Needs PAGEREF _Toc134593440 h 18AREA AND FACILITY CONCEPTS AND STANDARDS PAGEREF _Toc134593441 h 20INVENTORY OF AREAS AND FACILITIES PAGEREF _Toc134593442 h 22Inventory PAGEREF _Toc134593443 h 22Willacy County Schools Facilities PAGEREF _Toc134593444 h 23Sports Programs and Participation PAGEREF _Toc134593445 h 24Other Recreation Options PAGEREF _Toc134593446 h 24NEEDS ASSESSMENT AND IDENTIFICATION PAGEREF _Toc134593447 h 25Overview of the Approaches to Determine Need PAGEREF _Toc134593448 h 25Demand-based Approach: the Community Survey and Community Meetings PAGEREF _Toc134593449 h 25Standards-based Approach: A Comparison of Existing Infrastructure to Locally-Adopted Standards PAGEREF _Toc134593450 h 26Community Parks PAGEREF _Toc134593451 h 26Special Use Areas PAGEREF _Toc134593452 h 27Sports & Recreation Complex PAGEREF _Toc134593453 h 27Resource-based Approach: Recognizing the County’s Coastal Environment and Unique Natural Resources PAGEREF _Toc134593454 h 27PLAN IMPLEMENTATION & PRIORITIZATION OF NEEDS PAGEREF _Toc134593455 h 28Plan Implementation PAGEREF _Toc134593456 h 28Priority Rankings PAGEREF _Toc134593457 h 28Outdoor Facility Priority Ranking PAGEREF _Toc134593458 h 28Indoor Facility Priority Ranking PAGEREF _Toc134593459 h 28Renovation and Replacement PAGEREF _Toc134593460 h 28Recreational Programming PAGEREF _Toc134593461 h 28Recognizing the Needs of Seniors and Youth PAGEREF _Toc134593462 h 29Seniors PAGEREF _Toc134593463 h 29Youth PAGEREF _Toc134593464 h 29Financing PAGEREF _Toc134593465 h 29Local Government Funding PAGEREF _Toc134593466 h 30State & Federal Financing PAGEREF _Toc134593467 h 30Private Sector Funding PAGEREF _Toc134593468 h 32APPENDICES PAGEREF _Toc134593469 h 33Appendix A PAGEREF _Toc134593470 h 34Map of Willacy County PAGEREF _Toc134593471 h 34Appendix B PAGEREF _Toc134593472 h 35Map of Raymondville PAGEREF _Toc134593473 h 35Appendix C PAGEREF _Toc134593474 h 36Map of Lasara PAGEREF _Toc134593475 h 36Appendix D PAGEREF _Toc134593476 h 37Map of Lyford PAGEREF _Toc134593477 h 37Appendix E PAGEREF _Toc134593478 h 38Map of Port Mansfield PAGEREF _Toc134593479 h 38Appendix F PAGEREF _Toc134593480 h 39Map of San Perlita PAGEREF _Toc134593481 h 39Appendix G PAGEREF _Toc134593482 h 40Map of Sebastian PAGEREF _Toc134593483 h 40Appendix H PAGEREF _Toc134593484 h 41Willacy County Parks and Recreation Community Survey PAGEREF _Toc134593485 h 41Appendix I PAGEREF _Toc134593486 h 43Encuesta de Condado de Willacy PAGEREF _Toc134593487 h 43Appendix J PAGEREF _Toc134593488 h 45TPWD Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan Guidelines PAGEREF _Toc134593489 h 45Appendix K PAGEREF _Toc134593490 h 50Survey Results PAGEREF _Toc134593491 h 50ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSWillacy County Commissioner’s CourtHon. Aurelio “Keter” Guerra, Acting County JudgeHon. Eliberto “Beto” Guerra, County Commissioner Precinct 1Hon. Eddie Chapa, County Commissioner Precinct 2Hon. Fred Serrato, County Commissioner Precinct 3Hon. Aurelio “Keter” Guerra, County Commissioner Precinct 4Prepared by:Peter A Ravella Consultant, LLC4107 Wildwood Road Austin, TX 78722512.784.3565 (Ph) 866.784.3959 (Fax)Frank Fuller, Consultant, Project ManagerKay Pils, Project CoordinatorPeter A. Ravella, PrincipleCover Page: Photo of Willacy County Wildflowers, March 2010All photographs copyright Kay Pils March 2010Members of the Willacy County Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task ForceTask Force Co-Chairs & StaffAurelio Guerra, Co-Chair, Willacy County Acting County JudgeMike Wilson, Co-Chair, Director Willacy County Navigation DistrictRebecca Chapa, Task Force Secretary, Willacy County Administrative AssistantIda Martinez, Willacy County AuditorTask Force ConsultantsPeter A. Ravella, Task Force Project ManagerFrank R. Fuller, Task Force Project CoordinatorM. Kay Pils, Task Force Project SpecialistTask Force MembersEleazar “Yogi” Garcia, City Manager, City of RaymondvilleOscar De Luna, Mayor, City of San PerlitaLydia Moreno, City Secretary, City of LyfordEliberto Guerra, Willacy County Commissioner, Precinct 1Johnny I. Piñeda, Superintendent, Raymondville ISD Rolando Peña, Superintendent, Lasara ISD Albert Peña, Superintendent, San Perlita ISD Eduardo Infante, Superintendent, Lyford CISC Tommie Martin, Operations Manager Sebastian MUDGabe Guzman, Raymondville Chamber of CommerceRobert Hulen, Port Mansfield Chamber of CommerceTerry Neal, Port Mansfield Chamber of CommerceElma Chavez, Director Raymondville Chamber of CommerceINTRODUCTIONImportance of Parks and RecreationParks play a critical role in defining communities. They are places to recreate, socialize, and relax. If developed and maintained appropriately, they can offer additional benefits to a community. An adequate park system can:Promote a conservation ethic;Entice businesses to locate within a community;Unify communities within a county around recreational and health goals;Offer a forum for personal interaction, community-building and play;Connect youth and adults to nature;Present a consistent community image; Serve as a venue for both youth and adult environmental education; andEnhance community economic development through ecotourism.Well-maintained parks, natural areas, and open space are often the first things visitors will notice about a community. Parks provide a visible example of how well communities are functioning, both through efficient and engaged governments and private sector support.Purpose of the Comprehensive Master PlanGovernments at all levels recognize that taxpayers demand both the efficient delivery of services and wise expenditures of limited financial resources. A Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan (Master Plan), based on locally-identified needs and priorities, will help ensure that a park system is maintained, developed, and, when necessary, rehabilitated in a manner that ensures a community’s long term support. A Master Plan presents a list of options for park development and rehabilitation based on community input, ranks those options in terms of need and priority, establishes a timeline for implementing elements of the Master Plan, and identifies funding sources to accomplish Master Plan goals. The County’s last Master Plan was completed and adopted by the Commissioner’s Court in June 2003. The Willacy County 2010-2020 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan will provide guidance to the County and communities within the County as they work together to improve and maintain park infrastructure, conserve and interpret unique natural areas, provide for recreational programming, and promote ecotourism. In developing the Master Plan, the County is aware that multiple jurisdictions within it are also interested in developing recreation facilities. To assist those communities, the County has developed its Master Plan in a manner that will allow other jurisdictions to identify their unique local needs, rank local priorities, and then adopt the County’s Master Plan with an addendum that reflects local priorities. The Master Plan fulfills the requirements of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Local Park Grant Program. Plan components are presented in a format that tracks TPWD’s requirements. Additionally, the plan is intended to assist with the implementation of the state’s Coastal Management Program (CMP). Portions of Willacy County east of State Highway 77 are within the state’s coastal management boundary. The CMP is intended to protect, enhance and provide public access to Coastal Natural Resource Areas such as wetlands, beaches, sand flats, seagrass beds, and the open waters of the Laguna Madre and Gulf of Mexico. Park and conservation projects falling within the coastal management boundary may be eligible for CMP grants. The plan will:Give an overview of Willacy County’s history, providing background information such as its history, geography, and socio-economic data;Discuss the County’s role in providing for parks and recreation opportunities; Present the County’s park, recreation, conservation, and ecotourism goals;Inventory existing park, recreation, and conservation facilities; Rank the needs for outdoor and indoor recreational opportunities based on citizen and community group input; andHelp community leaders determine where and how park, recreation and conservation funding should be allocated over the next 10 years.Willacy County’s and Other Jurisdiction’s Roles in Providing Recreation OpportunitiesPark and recreation opportunities within Willacy County are offered by multiple jurisdictions. The County maintains one county park in Port Mansfield on Willacy County Navigation District property. The City of Raymondville, which is both the county seat and its largest community, maintains the bulk of the park infrastructure within the County. Park infrastructure is also found in Lyford and Sebastian.5080095250Schools provide additional park infrastructure, but these facilities are not generally available for public use. Some school districts, during the plan development process, have expressed an interest in partnering with the County to provide publically accessible park infrastructure. A portion of the Padre Island National Seashore is located within Willacy County. However, with the exception of private boat access, the National Seashore and the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico on both North and South Padre Island are not accessible to the general public from within the County. Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1 Photo of Coast at Port MansfieldThe Willacy County 2010-2020 Parks and Recreation Master Plan includes the County’s entire jurisdiction. Because multiple jurisdictions play a significant role in the delivery of park, recreation and open space programming, Willacy County has designed the plan so that it can be modified and adopted through addendums by jurisdictions within the County. County OverviewThe information provided under the section titled “County Overview” (below) is intended to provide general information that may be beneficial in the development of the Master Plan and future park, recreation, and conservation efforts. In some cases, the reader may wish to research an area in more detail. To facilitate further research efforts that go beyond the scope of this Master Plan, the document cites sources of information and, in some cases, suggests references for further exploration.Location Willacy County is located in South Texas, some 30 miles north of the Texas-Mexico border and adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico. It is bordered to the north by Kenedy County, to the west by Hidalgo County, to the south by Cameron County, and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico.State Highway 77 is the major transportation artery running north/south through the county, providing a transportation linkage between the Corpus Christi/Kingsville area and the communities of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The county seat of Raymondville is approximately 21 miles from Harlingen. Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 2 Photo of "
Santa Maria de Yciar, San Esteban, Esperitu Santa"
Mural by Ramon ClaudioHistoryWillacy County’s history is rooted in ranching and agriculture. The County was formed out of parts of Cameron and Hidalgo Counties in 1911. At the time, the county included portions of what is now Kenedy County. In 1921, Willacy County was reorganized with the northern portion of the County, dominated by ranching interests, becoming Kenedy County, while the southern portion of the County, known for agricultural products, remained Willacy County. Key historical events or locations, among others, that may be relevant to park development and interpretation include:The Padre Island Spanish Shipwrecks of 1554. The Mansfield Cut Underwater Archeological District contains the scattered remains of three shipwrecks near Mansfield cut; Native American history, including the presence of nomadic Coahuiltecan Indians for nearly 11,000 years, and the Karankawa Indians living along the coast;Spanish exploration in the area;The history of the Texas Ranch Country and agricultural development in the County and the Lower Rio Grande Valley;The development of Port Mansfield and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway;The use of La Sal Vieja, a saltwater lake, now part of the Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge, that supplied salt to much of northern Mexico and the Confederacy; and The creation of the Padre Island National Seashore.An excellent resource for further study of Willacy County history is The Handbook to Texas, published by the Texas Historical Association. An online version is available at http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/. ClimateWillacy County is located in semi-arid South Texas. According to The Handbook to Texas, Willacy County’s climate is subtropical-humid; tropical storms and hurricanes are possible from June through October. Temperatures range from an average low of 48° F to a high of 69° in January and from 74° to 95° in July. Rainfall averages twenty-seven inches a year, and the growing season lasts for 318 days.39376351012190Tropical storms, hurricanes, and coastal flooding must be considered when developing and maintaining park infrastructure. Willacy County was hit by Hurricane Dolly, a Category 1 storm, near the Cameron/Willacy County border on July 23, 2008. The storm caused extensive damage in Port Mansfield, including damage to the public fishing pier at the County’s Fred Stone Park. The pier and other park facilities damaged by the hurricane are now undergoing repair or restoration. Port Mansfield was hit by Hurricane Allen as a Category 3 storm in 1980, and the area was affected by Hurricane Beulah, which hit Brownsville in 1967. GeologyWillacy County is generally flat with a slight rise from the coast to the western part of the County. Soils are primarily comprised of sands and clays. Some of the soils types, especially those dominated by fine sands, like those associated with dune complexes near the coast, are inappropriate for recreational infrastructure, but may be appropriate for environmental and geological interpretation. Soil types, like other significant factors such as flood zones, should be considered prior to construction of recreational facilities. Detailed soil maps, along with explanations of Willacy County soil surveys can be obtained from:Natural Resources Conservation ServiceAttention: Soils Section 101 S. Main StreetTemple, TX 76501 Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 3 Photo of a Couch's Kingbird at La Sal del Rey, Willacy Countyor online at The Cooperative Soil Survey http://soils.missouri.edu/survey/texas.asp# .Vegetation and Animal Life According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department “2005 Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan,” Willacy County is located in the South Texas Plains Ecoregion. TPWD notes that the area consists of level to rolling terrain characterized by dense brush. Overtime, much of the native brush habitat has been converted to agricultural use, making conservation and restoration of the native brush habitat a relatively high conservation priority. Plant life in the area is characterized by thorn-scrub habitat found through much of South Texas and includes species such as mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), acacias (Acacia spp.), granjeno (Celtis pallida), and cacti. According to TPWD, rare plants and communities found in the area include the Texas ebony-anacua, Texas palmetto and Texas ebony-snake-eyes assemblages. Rare species include Walker’s manioc, star cactus, Texas ayenia and Zapata bladderpod. North and South Padre Islands contain vegetation types, such as sea oats, typical of barrier island dune/swell complexes. Port Mansfield and other areas of the County adjacent to the Laguna Madre contain a mix of vegetation that is typified by salt tolerant wetland species in depressional areas and thorn/scrub in upland areas.Willacy County, like the rest of the Lower Rio Grande Valley is particularly rich in bird and butterfly life. Willacy County also contains habitat for the endangered ocelot. The area is known for its large mammals including white tailed dear and javelina. DemographicsWillacy County is one of the most economically challenged in the nation, and is the poorest coastal county in the country based on federal poverty rates. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Willacy County’s population in 2009 at 20,395. The Census reported the County’s population in 2000 as 20,082. Willacy County has a population density of 33.6 people per square mile compared to the state average of 79.6 people per square mile. The populations for the County’s population centers in 2000 were:Raymondville: 9,733Lasara: 1,024Lyford: 1,973Port Mansfield: 415San Perlita: 680Sebastian: 1,864The Texas State Demographer provides population projections by County. Table 1 illustrates the anticipated population growth to 2040. Between 2010 and 2040, the County’s population is expected to grow approximately 25 percent. These growth projections do not take into account recent economic developments (discussed below) that may impact population growth. TABLE 1: WILLACY COUNTY POPULATION PROJECTIONS YearEstimated Population201023,011201524,510202025,876202527,190203028,450203529,587204030,512Table 2, below, provides a summary of the County’s key demographic statistics, based on the 2000 Census Bureau. The Table provides, as appropriate, summary information for the nation for comparison purposes.TABLE 2: SOCIO-ECONOMIC PROFILE OF WILLACY COUNTY (2000 CENSUS)Willacy County PopulationWillacy County by PercentageU.S. Population by PercentageTotal Population20,082White and Hispanic14,13270.4%75.1%Black or African American4392.2%12.3%American Indian and Native Alaskan101.5%.9%Asian22.1%3.6%Native Indian/Pacific Islander60.0%.1%Some other race4,91224.5%5.5%Two or more races4702.3%2.4%Hispanic or Latino (of any race)17,20985.71%12.5%High School Graduate or higher5,52448.7%80.4%Bachelor’s Degree or higher8507.5%24.4%Speaks Language Other Than English at Home14,37678.1%17.9%Vacant Housing Units1,14317.0%9.0%Median Age29.8 yearsN/A35.5 yearsUnder 5 years1,6458.2%6.8%18 years or older13,73068.4%74.3%65 years or older2,32811.6%12.4%Per capita income (1999 dollars)$9,421N/A$21,587Families Below Federal Poverty Level1,34129.2%9.2%Individuals Below Federal Poverty Level6,30033.2%12.4%The socio-economic summary above provides information that may help guide park and recreation development and maintenance, and programming. The economic situation of individuals living within the county may limit somewhat the ability to pay additional taxes or user fees to support park development and maintenance, or to participate in recreational programs (sports leagues, after school recreation programs, etc.). Additionally, the County’s age distribution is lower than the national average, indicating that there might be a higher need for facilities and programming catering specifically to youth. The County’s low population density and the relatively small size of many of the County’s communities may also help guide the development of park and recreation infrastructure and programming. EconomyAgricultural and ranching are the largest economic sectors in Willacy County. According to the federal government, in 2007, the County had 338,048 acres of farmland that produced approximately $51,200,000 worth of agricultural products. Other important economic sectors include transportation and warehousing, construction, retail trade, real estate and leasing, professional services, healthcare and social services, art, entertainment and recreation, and accommodations and food services. The major employers in the County include: Willacy County Regional Processing Center (520 employees), Raymondville ISD (400 employees), Wal-Mart (200 employees), Willacy County Regional Detention Facility (220 employees), United States Department of Homeland Security (350 employees).Recently, Willacy County has experienced economic development associated with the construction and operation of a new prison. The County is also in negotiation with a firm that may construct and operate a large wind electric generation farm in the County. The addition of the prison, and a large wind electric generation facility, could significantly enhance and diversify the County’s economic base. EducationApproximately 49 percent of Willacy County residents over 25 years of age are high school graduates or higher, with 7.5 percent of the population having a bachelor’s degree or higher. The County is served by Lasara Independent School District, the Lyford Consolidated Independent School District, the Raymondville Independent School District, and the San Perlita Independent School District.Jurisdiction and Planning AreasWillacy County covers an area of approximately 784 square miles of which 597 square miles is land and 188 square miles is water/submerged land. Willacy County falls within the planning area for Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council (LRGVDC). The entire county was considered the planning area for the Master Plan. GOALS AND OBJECTIVESThe goals in the Master Plan were developed in coordination with County officials, and the members of the Willacy County Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force, which includes school district superintendents, representatives of incorporated and unincorporated communities within Willacy County, representatives of the Willacy County Navigation District, the Raymondville and Port Mansfield Chambers of Commerce, and other community stakeholders. The goals are also reflective of the community survey, the area’s unique natural resources, and the availability of coastal-specific grant funding sources, such as the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) and the state Coastal Management Program (CMP) grants, that allow enhanced recreational development, conservation activities, and environmental education programs in coastal portions of the County. The County expects that as the work of the Willacy County Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force continues, and community needs change over time, new goals and objectives will arise. Timeframes for achieving existing goals and objectives may also change. The goals and objectives outlined in this plan span the 10-year time frame required of TPWD Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan, however, it is anticipated that the plan will be updated well before 10 years has elapsed.Note on Timing: At the time of the Adoption of the Willacy County Park, Recreation and Master Plan 2010-2020, federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program funds are being made available to the state. Approximately $35 million (estimated) is expected to be awarded to Texas coastal counties through a grant competitive process administered by the Governor’s Coastal Land Advisory Board made up of the General Land Office, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Railroad Commission of Texas. The timing of CIAP grant solicitation and awards may run well into 2011 and the expenditure of CIAP funds may extend through 2014. Under federal law, CIAP funds must be used for the following purposes:Projects and activities for the conservation, or restoration of coastal areas, including wetlandsMitigation of damage to fish, wildlife, or natural resourcesPlanning assistance and the administrative costsImplementation of a federally-approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive conservation management planMitigation of the impact of Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas activities through funding of onshore infrastructure projects and public service needsWhile not specifically mentioned, CIAP funded projects can include park infrastructure such as nature trails, wildlife viewing stations, and boardwalks that are protective of coastal resources and other conservation initiatives. Additionally, the funds can be used for habitat acquisition and restoration, and environmental education programs. Depending on state and federal grant solicitation and administrative requirements, and Willacy County’s (and jurisdictions within Willacy County) success in competing for CIAP funds, the timing of some goals, objectives, and projects may change substantially.TABLE 3: GOALS & OBJECTIVES IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE20102011201220132014201520162017201820192020Goal 1: Inventory, Rehabilitate, and Develop Park Infrastructure To Accommodate the Needs of Willacy County’s Population CentersObjective 1.1: Develop a Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan consistent with TPWD requirementsXObjective 1.2: Develop community parks in population centers without them XObjective 1.3: Add additional park facilities within existing community parks that fulfill additional needsXXXObjective 1.4: Identify funding sources for both park infrastructure and operations and maintenance XXXXGoal 2: Significantly Enhance Recreation, Water Access, and Environmental Education Opportunities in Port Mansfield Objective 2.1: Develop an on-the-ground Conceptual Plan for implementation of Port Mansfield recreational, conservation, and educational enhancementsXObjective 2.2: Implement Phase I of on-the-ground improvements at the Laguna Point location at Port Mansfield with funds already awarded by the state’s Coastal Management Program and the federal Coastal Impact Assistance ProgramXXObjective 2.3: Develop additional facilities at Port Mansfield specifically-designed to enhance outdoor public environmental education and increase ecotourismXXXXObjective 2.4: Work with the State’s Coastal Management Program to more clearly define ways in which the Willacy County Navigation District can protect and enhance Coastal Natural Resource Areas while increasing public access to coastal waters XXXObjective 2.5: Develop and implement a phased grant/funding plan aimed at using CMP grants to implement Objective 2.4XXXXXXXXXXObjective 2.6: Evaluate the possibility of providing free or low-cost transportation from Port Mansfield to the Gulf Beaches of North or South Padre Island XXObjective 2.7: Develop and implement an Operations and Maintenance Plan for park and conservation infrastructure at Port Mansfield XObjective 2.8: Evaluate the feasibility of developing an indoor environmental learning/nature center at Port Mansfield (see also Objective 4.5) X20102011201220132014201520162017201820192020Goal 3: Develop a County Sports ComplexObjective 3.1: Conduct a Feasibility Plan to assist with the assessment of need, recommend facility types, and evaluate land acquisition, construction, and maintenance costs. XObjective 3.2: Develop a funding strategy for the construction, and operation and maintenance of the Sports ComplexXObjective 3.3: Seek Funding for Sports Complex DevelopmentXObjective 3.4: Construct Sports ComplexXObjective 3.5: Maintain and operate the Sport Complex and associated programming (sport’s leagues, etc.)XXXXXXXGoal 4: Work to Increase Environmental Education and Ecotourism OpportunitiesObjective 4.1: Inventory existing publically-owned sites that would benefit from environmental interpretationXObjective 4.2: Work with state and federal natural resource managers to identify acquisition or conservation activities that would enhance both conservation and ecotourismXXObjective 4.3: Develop a coordinated ecotourism and implement campaignXXObjective 4.4: Develop an environmental education program for area youthXXObjective 4.5: Evaluate the feasibility of developing an indoor environmental learning/nature center at Port Mansfield OR elsewhere in the County (See Objective 2.8) XGoal 5: Enhance Recreational ProgrammingObjective 5.1: Determine demand for programming such as additional sport leagues and organized senior activitiesXObjective 5.2: Implement recreational programs if demand exists and funding sources can be foundX20102011201220132014201520162017201820192020Goal 6: Promote Intergovernmental Coordination and Community Involvement in the Implementation and Review of Park, Recreation, Conservation and Ecotourism ActivitiesObjective 6.1: Continue to Coastal and Recreational Ecotourism Task Force to guide implementation of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP)XXXObjective 6.2: Consider using the Task Force for continued intergovernmental cooperation and community input after CIAP funds have been expendedXXXXXXXXXObjective 6.3: Establish a fund development subcommittee of the Task Force to help evaluate financing options for both park infrastructure, and operations and maintenanceXXXObjective 6.4: Update the Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan every 5 years to ensure eligibility for TPWD fundingXX Plan Development ProcessWillacy County’s first master plan was adopted in 2003. The following year, the City of Raymondville developed a master plan. Since that time, little recreational development has occurred and some of the needs identified by the County and the City are not being met. The County and other jurisdictions began working informally with the staff of the Coastal Management Program (CMP) and the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP), both coordinated by the General Land Office, to develop natural area conservation and park-related projects for Port Mansfield and other areas projects within the County that would benefit from funds provided the CIAP and CMP programs. Those informal meeting took place in 2008 and 2009. PARC joined those conversations in 2009 as a contractor to the Willacy County Navigation District on issues related to the state’s coastal funding sources. The County hired PARC in January 2010 to:Assist in the programming and administration of the Coastal Impact Assistance Program funds; Establish the Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force, andDevelop the Park, Recreation and Open Space Master PlanUndertake other related tasks.Public MeetingsPARC and the County used the Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force as the coordinating entity for the development of the Master Plan. The County and members of the Task Force believe that the multi-jurisdictional, cooperative approach fostered by the Task Force will ensure efficient expenditures of local and grant funds through coordinated planning and implementation of park and conservation projects. The Task Force met five times during the Master Plan development process on January 14, 2010 (11 attendees), January 22, 2010 (13 attendees), February 8, 2010 (35 attendees), March 23, 2010 (40 attendees), and May 21, 2010 (40 attendees). A list of Task Force members can be found in the preface. At the March 23, 2010 meeting, participants, which included county and city officials, school districts superintendents, members from local chambers of commerce, among others, reviewed Master Plan elements. They discussed and agreed to “Area and Facility Concepts and Standards.” Survey of Area NeedsConcurrent with the input of the Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force, the County and PARC developed, in English and Spanish, a park, open space and recreational survey to gauge the community’s interest in park and recreation programs and facilities, and natural area conservation. The survey was available online and distributed in hard copy form at restaurants, local government offices, and through the County’s school districts. The Reber Memorial Library in Raymondville displayed flyers at public computers located within the library to direct users to the online survey. The County advertised the survey in the Raymondville Chronicle/Willacy County News on March 31, 2010. On March 19th and 20th, 2010 PARC also conducted in-person surveys at local restaurants, Smiley Park in Raymondville during the Little League Opening Ceremony Day and at a community fish fry. The Raymondville Chamber of Commerce, all of the Willacy County school districts, Port Mansfield Chamber of Commerce and the Willacy County Navigation District sent out surveys to community members. Finally, in support of the survey, PARC conducted informal interviews with key stakeholders and decision-makers including local clergy, elected officials, school district superintendents, Willacy County Navigation District personnel, a TPWD game warden, and anglers in Port Mansfield.A copy of the survey, in Spanish and English, the newspaper announcement, and the survey results are included in the Appendices. More than 340 individuals completed the survey, a high response rate, and among the notable results were the following:98% said the county should work to improve OUTDOOR recreation facilities, especially by adding playgrounds, picnic and bar-b-que areas, hike and bike trails, and baseball fields94% said the county should improve INDOOR recreation facilities, especially fitness and aerobic rooms, and basketball, bowling, and swimming pool facilitiesMore than 70% of respondents said they would participate in recreational programs if more facilities were available77% of respondents said they would like to see park improvements in Port Mansfield, such as fishing piers, bird watching areas, trail improvements, and kayak launches.AREA AND FACILITY CONCEPTS AND STANDARDSThe recognized guide for establishing area and facility concept and standards is Park, Recreation, Open Space and Greenway Guidelines developed jointly by the National Recreation and Park Association and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Standards. Both the published guidelines and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department encourage local communities to develop their own standards based on local geography, demographic information, local capacity, identified recreation and open space needs, among other factors.In approaching the development of local area concepts and standards, Willacy County and the Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force considered a number of factors.These included:The nature of ownership and management of existing park systems within the county. Willacy County operates one park within the County at Port Mansfield called Fred Stone Park. The bulk of the County’s park and recreation needs are served by the City of Raymondville, other local communities, and area school districts. In promoting parks, recreation, and open space opportunities in the community, the County seeks to support and enhance the capacity of existing park providers to meet community needs through partnerships with municipalities, the Willacy County Navigation District, and local school districts. The County recognizes that the communities and potential local partners face multiple challenges and limited resources. However, cooperative partnerships present the greatest opportunity for the County to efficiently provide for the acquisition, development, and maintenance of additional park and recreational facilities. The County’s geography and location of existing parks.The County has a low population density, with the population centered in Raymondville and a handful of smaller communities. The County seeks to ensure that each of the population centers has park facilities, and in doing so, focus its limited resources.The County, while having an extensive coastline, has little coastal access.The County seeks to develop public access to the shorelines in order to provide recreational opportunities for local citizens and promote tourism. Additionally, the County recognized that funds from program such as the state’s Coastal Management Program and the federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program could enhance the County’s capacity to develop park services in the Port Mansfield area.Based on the Park, Recreation, Open Space and Greenway Guidelines, the demographic, geographic and funding concepts discussed above, and community input, the County defined and adopted three park types that it would like to support, enhance, and/or develop. The area and facility concepts and standards were reviewed and discussed at the March 23, 2010 meeting of the Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force.The three park types are:Community Parks: parks, ranging in size from approximately one acre to 50 acres, serve a specific geographic region. The parks provide a variety of recreational opportunities that may include ball fields, basketball courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, and swimming pools. While the Park, Recreation, Open Space and Greenway Guidelines recommend that these parks serve a population living between one to three miles, this criteria of the guideline is not practicable in Willacy County due to the distance that many residents live away from publically-owned property and the County’s relatively low population density. The County anticipates that each community will further define the specific infrastructure / recreational opportunities located within a community park based on locally identified needs. Special Use Parks: parks that are oriented to a single purpose. As adopted by these standards, the County considers the recreational facilities on the approximately 1,800 acres owned by the Willacy County Navigation District (which contains the unincorporated development of Port Mansfield) as a special use park. The facilities within Port Mansfield, including Fred Stone Park, are largely geared to coastal recreation. They provide access to the Laguna Madre through a pier at Fred Stone Park and unimproved shore access elsewhere and, through the use of private boats, the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A looped nature trail, approximately 500 feet in length, provides both opportunities for exercise such as walking or running, and wildlife viewing. To date, general public access has been limited. Sports & Recreation Complex: consolidates heavily programmed athletic fields and associated facilities into one location that serves a larger community need. The County is considering promoting the development of a Sport & Recreation Complex in Raymondville. A smaller field complex within a larger park does exist in Sebastian, but its location in the southern portion of the County makes it difficult for the majority of county residents living in the Raymondville area and in northern Willacy County, to access it. Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 4 Photo of SMUD Sports Facility in SebastianINVENTORY OF AREAS AND FACILITIESInventoryA facility inventory is instrumental in analyzing and determining recreation facility needs for existing and forecasted populations. Willacy County maintains one park, Fred Stone Park in Port Mansfield and relies on partnerships with other entities to provide park and recreational opportunities to citizen. The following two tables illustrate the publically accessible, publically owned park inventory in the County. TABLE 4: PARK INVENTORY BY LOCATIONNAMELOCATIONPARK SIZEFACILITIES AVAILABLELyford City ParkLyford3 Acres1 covered and lit basketball court w/ restroom facilities, 6 park benches, 2 picnic tables, 8 swings, 3 seesaws, 2 tower gyms w/curve slide, no lights or covers in park properLyford High SchoolLyford8 AcresOpen schoolyard adjacent to High School, 1 high school track w/ adjoining field, football stadium (not available to public), modern fenced playscape w/climbing wall, swings, geodesic jungle gym, 4 swings, 3 chin-up bars, climbing gym, hand ladder, double slide, 2 tables, 3 benches, fall zonePony League ParkRaymondville3 Acres1 fenced baseball field with some bleachers, open ball field/no bleachers, restrooms, 8 swings, gym w/slide, monkey bars, water fountain, lightsFred Stone ParkPort Mansfield>1 acre5,360 Square Foot Pier, which includes a 1,400 Square Foot “T-Head.” 1 restroom facility, 6 uncovered picnic tables with bbq pits, one swing set, jungle gym and one seesaw Willacy County Navigation DistrictPort Mansfield500’ concrete nature trail, 150 public boat stalls, 2 public boat ramps, City Park with dilapidated basketball court and playscape with no public restroomSmiley Face ParkRaymondville4 Acres1 baseball field w/bleachers and dugouts, covered lit basketball court, water fountains, restrooms, tower gym w/3 slides, 16 swings, trash receptacles, 25 picnic tables and benchesSwimming Pool ParkRaymondville5 Acres1 swimming pool w/diving board, changing & restrooms, 1 basketball court, 4 picnic tables, 16 swings, tower gym, fall zone, water fountains, well litSMUD Regional Sports FacilitySebastian6 AcresLarge park fully lit, 2 baseball fields, 2 tennis courts, track, jogging trail, 1 lit & covered basketball court, outdoor exercise bars, 1-tower playscape w/ slide, 2-tower playscape w/2 slides, 16 swings, 4 open air picnic tables, 8 picnic tables covered, pavilion, concession stand, handicapped facilitiesTABLE 5: PARK FACILITIESSoftball/BaseballBasketball CourtsFootball FieldsSoccer FieldsTennis CourtsSwimming PoolsWater FountainVolleyballTrash ReceptaclesHiking-Biking TrailPicnic Tables/BenchesPlaygroundLightingCommunity CenterLyford City Park11NNY81NNLyford High School1111NNN51NNPony League Park1YNN31YNFred Stone Park/Port MansfieldYCity Park/Port Mansfield1Smiley Face Park111YYN252YNSwimming Pool Park11YYN41YNSMUD Regional Sports Facility212YY123YYTOTAL 652121010313753594615Willacy County Schools Facilities While school facilities are not usually available to the general public during school hours, they are critical to providing recreational opportunities to youth, and the school districts will occasionally make their facilities available to sports leagues and for public functions. Five schools from Lasara ISD, Lyford ISD, Raymondville ISD, and San Perlita ISD are located within Willacy County. Additionally, some school districts have expressed an interest in partnering with the County to provide recreational opportunities to the general public.Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 5 Photo of the City Park in LyfordTable 6 lists the youth served by each school. TABLE 6: YOUTH SERVED BY SCHOOLSCHOOLSTUDENTSGRADELasara Elementary358PK-8Lasara High School249-12Lyford Elementary756PK-5Lyford Middle School3526-8Lyford High School4309-12Pittman Elementary Raymondville632PK-5Smith Elementary Raymondville526PK-5Myra Green Middle School Raymondville4836-8Raymondville High School6639-12San Perlita Elementary135PK-5San Perlita Middle School716-8San Perlita High School135PK-5Sports Programs and Participation2680335810260The County does not sponsor organized recreational activities, however there are several sports league operating by other organizations within the County. Willacy County Little League (956-383-1901) (39 teams) with 450-500 children, Sebastian Pony Express (which covers T-Ball) in Sebastian with 175-200 children, Pony League (which comes under the in Raymondville with 100 children, Raymondville Sports Foundation which sponsors flag football in the fall with 300 children.Other Recreation OptionsSeveral other recreational resources are located within Willacy County: including wildlife viewing opportunities at La Sal Vieja, Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area, a private golf course in Raymondville, and the gulf beaches of Padre Island National Seashore. Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 6 Photo of People Fishing at Fred Stone Park in Port MansfieldNEEDS ASSESSMENT AND IDENTIFICATION Overview of the Approaches to Determine NeedThe County recognizes that a needs assessment is critical to efficient allocation of the limited resources for parks, recreation and open space facility planning.The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recommends that communities consider one or more of the following approaches to identify needs:A demand-based approach relies on needs identified by communities. Arriving a demand-based assessment is often accomplished through the use of surveys. Willacy County conducted a community survey to evaluate demand. A standards-based approach relies on nationally or locally identified standards and concepts. Some communities adopt the national standards found in the Park, Recreation, Open Space and Greenway Guidelines, while others develop more localized standards. As discussed in the section “Area and Facility Concepts and Standards,” Willacy County adapted the national standards to local conditions.A resource-based approach relies on an area’s unique geography, ecology and natural features. In developing Willacy County’s goals and priorities, the County considered such things as the area’s unique coastal environment, an interest in ocelot and bird conservation, and ecotourism (wildlife viewing opportunities). Willacy County used a combination of the three approaches to arrive at the “Goals and Objectives” discussed previously and the plan priorities discussed in the following section. Demand-based Approach: the Community Survey and Community MeetingsWillacy County conducted a community survey to in order to obtain public input on park-related issues. The survey was available both online and in paper form at locations throughout the County. Some school districts sent the survey home with students to be completed by parents. Citizen response was high with approximately 1.7 percent of county residents or 340 individuals participating in the survey. A copy of the survey can be found in the Appendices.The survey covered outdoor and indoor needs, and recreational programming. In addition, the survey asked about current use of Port Mansfield (the Willacy County Navigation District property) and whether citizens would make greater use of the area if additional park amenities were located in port area.In summary, 281 residents supported park improvements, while five did not. (Note: some individuals did not answer specific questions, hence the total number of responses for any one question may be less than 340, total number of individuals taking the survey.) The five highest-ranking outdoor recreation facilities identified by residents as a need were:PlaygroundsPicnic areas and barbeque pitsTrailsSwimming pools / spray parksBaseball fieldsThe five highest-ranking indoor priorities were:Fitness rooms (yoga, aerobics, martial arts)BowlingIndoor swimming poolWeight roomIndoor basketball courtResidents were surveyed regarding a variety of recreational programming areas. By well over a two to one margin, residents indicated a need for recreational programming including fitness classes, sports leagues, swim lessons and water fitness, and arts and crafts (see the Appendices for entire survey results). When asked about access to and use of Port Mansfield, 37 respondents indicated that they never go, 97 indicated that they rarely go, 100 indicated that they sometimes go, and 30 indicated that they often go. When asked if they would go to Port Mansfield more often if improved park facilities, like fishing piers, nature trails, and new playgrounds were installed, 205 individuals – or 77% of respondents – indicated that they would make greater use of Port Mansfield facilities if they were improved, while 45 indicated that they might go, and 16 individuals indicated they would not go. The park survey asked individuals what town – Lasara, Lyford, Port Mansfield, Raymondville, San Perlita, and Sebastian – they lived near. These questions helped determine parks and recreation needs by population center or geographic area. While this plan will not summarize survey responses by town, the responses sorted by location have been provided to County, local government, and school district officials so they can use the results in future planning efforts. Additionally, it is expected that some governmental entities, such as the Willacy County Navigation District (Port Mansfield), will, by addendum that reflect local priorities, adopt the County plan. Providing information by community area will help those communities examine and establish their own priorities. Finally, in addition to the survey, as discussed in the section “Plan Development Process,” the County and PARC conducted public meetings and informal interviews that also serve as part of a demand-based understanding of community need. Standards-based Approach: A Comparison of Existing Infrastructure to Locally-Adopted StandardsIn the section titled “Area and Facility Concepts and Standards,” the County identified three park types that it would like to support. Those types were community parks, special use parks, and a sports complex. Community ParksThe County wants to provide or assist in the development and maintenance of community parks in each of the County’s population centers of Lasara, Lyford, Port Mansfield, Raymondville, San Perlita, and Sebastian. Table 7, below, illustrates the publically accessible park infrastructure by population center.TABLE 7: ACCESSIBLE PARK INFRASTRUCTURE BY CITYPopulation CenterCommunity Park(s)LasaraNoneLyfordLyford City ParkPort MansfieldFred Stone County Park, and port-owned basketball court and playgroundRaymondvilleSmiley Face Park, Pony League Park, Swimming Pool ParkSan PerlitaNoneSebastianSMUD Regional Sports FacilitySpecial Use AreasThe County has identified the coastal resources of Port Mansfield, all of which are located on property owned by the Willacy County Navigation District, as a special use area. While there is a small, poorly developed county park in Port Mansfield and other ancillary Port amenities, the larger Willacy County community has limited access to the coastal natural resource areas and waters of the Laguna Madre. The County and the Navigation District have recognized this deficiency and have allocated Coastal Impact Assistance Program funding to develop a conceptual plan for public access improvements, conservation, and nature tourism on port-owned land. The conceptual planning process is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.Sports & Recreation ComplexThe County has indentified the need to develop a sports & recreation complex in Raymondville in the north portion of the county. The SMUD Regional Sports Complex does contain several ball fields, among other park amenities. However, it is located in the southern portion of the County. There are ball fields located at parks in Raymondville and other communities. The concept underpinning a sport complex --- centralization of ball fields and other sports facilities (as well as potentially indoor recreational facilities) to encourage efficiencies in construction, maintenance, and programming --- may be beneficial to the communities in Willacy County.Resource-based Approach: Recognizing the County’s Coastal Environment and Unique Natural ResourcesWillacy County is endowed with a variety of unique natural resources, including the Laguna Madre and North and South Padre Islands. The County contains parts of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge on South Padre Island, the Padre Island National Seashore on North Padre Island, and salt lakes that are units of the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge. The County has six sites listed on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.Aside from its marina operation, Port Mansfield provides limited public access to the Laguna Madre for non-boaters with a single fishing pier at Fred Stone Park and unimproved and unmarked wade fishing areas along the shore. The Willacy County Navigation District property contains a variety of sand flats, wetlands, sand dune complexes, and other unique habitats that would benefit from interpretation, protection, and, where necessary, restoration. With proper planning and improvements, public use of the Port’s natural land and resource areas could be provided while protecting and conserving the resources.There is no established public access to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico in Willacy County. Currently, a county resident can get to gulf beaches from Port Mansfield only through the use of a private boat and by making landfall and undesignated and unimproved points along the island shore. Alternatively, local Willacy County residents must leave the County to access gulf beaches, relying primarily upon beach access areas in Cameron County and within the Town of South Padre Island. Paradoxically, Willacy County, while blessed with an extensive and beautiful gulf beach shoreline, offers no improved public access to them. Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 7 Photo of Laguna Point in Port MansfieldPLAN IMPLEMENTATION & PRIORITIZATION OF NEEDS Plan ImplementationThe County intends to implement the plan according to the schedule established in the “Goals and Objectives” section (see Table ###: Goals and Objectives Implementation Schedule on page 16). Additionally, the County anticipates using a Task Force, like the existing Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force, to act as the coordinating body for park implementation. Implementation financing is discussed later in this section.Priority RankingsIn developing the facility rankings, the County considered a combination of the assessment approaches identified and described in the previous section. Additionally, the County anticipates that the Willacy County Navigation District, through addendum, will adopt the County plan and establish its own set of priorities that benefit county residents but are more closely tied to the recreational opportunities found within the Port’s coastal areas.Outdoor Facility Priority Ranking1. Ball fields2. Playgrounds3. Trails4. Picnic Areas5. Natural Area Conservation/Open SpaceIndoor Facility Priority Ranking1. Fitness Room2. Game Room3. Gymnasium (multi-use for basketball, volleyball, performances, etc.)4. Weight Room5. Meeting RoomsRenovation and ReplacementIn 2008, the County’s Fred Stone Park in Port Mansfield suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Dolly. The park’s pier is being replaced by a new 5,360 square foot pier, which includes a 1,400 square foot “T-Head.” The playground equipment and picnic facilities at the park are in dilapidated and unsafe conditions and in immediate need of replacement but no funds or plans for these improvements have been identified.Recreational ProgrammingIndividuals responding to the parks survey indicated that there is an insufficient supply of recreational programming across age ranges. Several respondents noted the lack of a Boys and Girls Club in Willacy County and no organized parks or recreation programs for elderly residents are provided by the County at any facility.Recognizing the Needs of Seniors and YouthSeniorsSenior citizens identified as priorities in the survey bird watching, trails, open space, and outdoor pavilions. Additionally, they identified the need for playgrounds for youth, likely their children or grandchildren, as a community need. Included in the Appendices is a summary of the responses obtained to the community survey question: What can local governments do to increase the park and recreational opportunities available to senior citizens?YouthYouth participated in the survey. They identified as priorities playgrounds, rock climbing walls, skateboard parks, and swimming pools/spray parks.During the development of the Master Plan, some county youth were simultaneously organizing a petition drive to the Raymondville City Council for the development of a skateboard park within Raymondville. At the March 21, 2010 meeting of the Coastal Conservation and Ecotourism Task Force, the Raymondville City Manager presented a youth-produced video documenting their petition drive. FinancingFunding park maintenance, infrastructure improvements, and new park development is becoming difficult for local governments and other organizations. Communities throughout the state are often interested in large, regional parks that serve multiple purposes. Efforts to develop such facilities are partly driven by state and federal grant programs that encourage regional solutions to infrastructure-related issues. Development of large parks is expensive and often requires multiple funding sources. Concurrent with the demand for large, regional parks, park and recreation departments continue to confront request for well-maintained community parks that are within easy walking distance of residents and other traditional park infrastructure such as ball fields. Recently there appears to have been a slight shift in what the public demands of a parks system. The Introduction notes that parks are increasingly becoming mechanisms that communities use to define themselves. While ball fields, playgrounds, and traditional park infrastructure continue to largely define park systems, communities often want new types of park infrastructure. Within the past decade, new park elements, such as spray parks, skateboard parks, dog parks (leash free zones), large open spaces and trails along water courses, and nature tourism, are beginning to play prominent roles in park development. Willacy County has seen such a change as other counties in the Rio Grande Valley have sought to portray themselves collectively as world birding centers, and the County, with its tremendous natural resources and access to the Laguna Madre at Port Mansfield has yet to fully capitalize or develop natured-based tourism or park facilities.Communities also confront the increasing costs of maintenance and policing. Many parks are typically “high use” facilities. Like most highly used public infrastructure, park facilities wear out, increasing the cost of maintenance. Parks infrastructure located in coastal environments are subject to the added stress of weathering and the corrosive environment of sea spray, high humidity, and an atmosphere sometimes laden with salt. Governments are recognizing that policing parks in order to keep them free of graffiti, vandalism, and drug-use is a cost that that strain even well funded police and park departments. Securing the necessary funding for new park infrastructure and operations and maintenance is difficult at best. Despite Willacy County being on of the most economically challenged coastal counties in the country, the presence of the Willacy County Navigation District and its location on the Laguna Madre offers unique funding options not available to inland counties. Thus the County and the Willacy County Navigation District may be able to develop a blend of funding streams or a “funding quilt” that takes advantage of public grants and other resources not generally available to other inland communities.This section discusses the possible avenues that Willacy County and/or the Willacy County Navigation District may use to fund park system infrastructure. In addition to the more common ways of funding parks (a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department), area governments may consider taking advantage of the number of coastal and habitat grant programs that could fund protection of open space while allowing low-impact recreation (trails, nature centers, wildlife viewing, nature tourism). Taking full advantage of the entire funding quilt often requires the use of professional program and grant consultants or not-for-profit organizations well-versed in weaving together local funding with multiple state and federal funding sources in order to maximize public resources. This is especially important if Willacy County intends to pursue funding opportunities that rely on grants for the protection of open space, wetlands, and watershed.Local Government FundingLocal government funds are a common method to finance park development. Typical funding streams include property taxes, sales taxes, user fees, accommodations taxes (hotel/motel tax) and other sources of revenues used for the general operation of the local government. Bonds can be used for infrastructure improvements and land acquisition. Since these funds are paid, for the most part, by local residents and may require increases in taxes and/or fees, public entities must consider the tax burden on local citizens, the value of taxable property, and other items, such as property types (residential, commercial, industrial) in a community, a city’s economic base and socioeconomic factors such as poverty and growth rates. Importantly, most state and federal government grants require some type of local match, often up to 50 percent. Many communities use local government funds as a match for state and federal grant funds. State & Federal FinancingTPWD Outdoor Recreation Grants: This Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant program provides 50 percent matching grant funds to municipalities, counties, MUDs and other local units of government with a population less than 500,000 to acquire and develop parkland or to renovate existing public recreation areas. Each year the department conducts two funding cycles. The maximum grant award is $500,000. Eligible sponsors include cities, counties, MUDs, river authorities, and other special districts. Projects must be completed within three years of approval. The deadlines for grant applications are January 31 and July 31 of each year with master plan submission deadline 60 days prior to application deadline. The department notifies award recipients six months after the deadlines. TPWD Indoor Recreation Facility Grants: TPWD’s Indoor Recreation Facility Grant Program provides 50 percent matching grant funds to municipalities, counties, MUDs and other local units of government with a population less than 500,000 to construct recreation centers, community centers, nature centers and other facilities (buildings). The maximum grant maximum is $750,000. The application deadline is July 31st each year with master plan submission deadline 60 days prior to application deadline. Award notifications occur the following January. TPWD Recreational Trail Grants: TPWD administers the National Recreational Trails Fund in Texas under the approval of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This federally funded program receives its revenue from a portion of federal gas taxes paid on fuel used in non-highway recreational vehicles. The grants can be up to 80 percent of project cost with a maximum of $200,000 for non-motorized trail grants and currently there is not a maximum amount for motorized trail grants. Funds can be spent on both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail projects such as the construction of new recreational trails, to improve existing trails, to develop trailheads or trailside facilities, and to acquire trail corridors. The application deadline is May 1 of each year. TPWD Boating Access Grants: This TPWD grant program provides 75 percent matching grant funds for the construction of public boat ramps. Local government sponsors must make an application, provide the land, provide access to the proposed boat ramp, supply 25 percent of the development costs, and accept operation and maintenance responsibilities for a minimum 25-year period. These funds are allocated annually and supported by the federal Sport Fish Restoration Act. The deadline for this program is October 31 of each year. TPWD Boat Sewage Pumpout Grants: Federal funds through the Clean Vessel Act of 1992 allow private marinas and local governments to receive grants to install boat sewage pumpout stations in Texas. Pumpout grants are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and can constitute up to 75% of all approved project costs. These grants provide funds for the construction and/or renovation, operation, and maintenance of pumpout and portable toilet dump stations. Proposals offering the greatest benefit to water quality and public access take precedence. Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Grants: TPWD administers the Texas apportionments of LWCF through the Texas Recreation Park Account. TPWD allocates LCWF as part of the awards for its indoor and outdoor infrastructure programs. The department does not accept applications specific to the LWCF. Coastal Impact Assistant Program (CIAP grants): In the summer and fall of 2010, the State of Texas will allocate through a competitive process the approximately $46.1 million for federal fiscal years 2009 and 2010 it will received from the federal government to compensate for environmental damage caused by oil and gas development in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The program is limited to designated counties immediately adjacent to the coast. Funds for the program can be used for a number of park-related activities such as natural area acquisition and restoration, environmental education and interpretation and controlled-public access to coastal resources. In addition, Willacy County will receive directly from the federal government approximately $760,500 for federal fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Like the CIAP allotment reserved to the State, the County can use its CIAP funds for park-related activities that have a positive effect on the coastal environment. Use of the funds by Willacy County is subject to project approval by the federal government. It is anticipated that the federal government will ask the County how it wishes to allocate county funds in the fall 2010.Coastal Management Program Grants (CMP grants): The Texas Coastal Management Program (CMP) awards approximately $1.8 million in grants per year. Awards typically range from $50,000 to $100,000 for programmatic activities. Approximately $1.2 million in CMP awards are set aside for infrastructure projects. Priority infrastructure projects are the acquisition and restoration of coastal natural resources and providing public access to the Texas coast. Of the $1.2 million set aside for infrastructure projects, the CMP awards $800,000 in grants for large infrastructure projects. Large grants are limited to no more than $400,000 per project. CMP grants require a 40 percent nonfederal match. Project types include restoration and acquisition projects, community outreach and coordination efforts (ecotourism for example), conservation planning, education that takes place in schools, and research. Projects are limited to areas within the Coastal Management Boundary. Interstate Highway 10 establishes the Coastal Management Boundary in the City of Orange. Projects south of the interstate are eligible for CMP funding; projects north of the interstate are not. Other Coastal and Habitat/Open Space Conservation Programs: The federal government through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and some cooperating private entities, award grants to state agencies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. Funds are tied strongly to habitat protection and restoration, and can also serve to protect open space. The funds have been used extensively in the Houston/Galveston and the Coastal Bend regions of the state. Funding and matching requirements vary. Discussions with private consultants, non-governmental organizations, and state and federal natural resource agencies are strongly suggested before an organization pursues these funds. Programs include:NOAA Community Based Restoration Program;National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program;NOAA Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP);Five Star Restoration Program;North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Funds;Shell Marine Habitat Program; andUSFWS - Texas Coastal Program.Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) Funds: The state allows environmental violators, with the approval of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, to offset part of an environmental fine by undertaking an environmentally beneficial project within a community. Undertaking or funding a SEP project is an entirely voluntary activity on the part of the violator. SEP funds for environmental enhancements come from two sources: (1) air violations; and (2) violations affecting water, including violations at wastewater and drinking water facilities, and municipal and industrial solid waste facilities. Generally, the agency does not allow funding to cross medias --- meaning, air violations must fund air SEPs; water violations must fund water SEPs. Private Sector FundingLand Donation: In some cases, individuals and businesses may be willing to donate property appropriate to park development and open space conservation to the city or a third party, such as a land trust. Foundation Grants: Texas has over 3,600 private foundations that award funding to not-for-profit organization, typically those exempted from federal income tax known as 501(c)(3) organization, and governments. Often funding is limited for specific purposes, say animal protection, or organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs. Many foundations do award grants on a competitive basis, but often do so with regional limitations. Despite the limitations discussed above, foundation funding should be considered as part of any funding mix. Before pursuing grant funding, the city or other organizations may want to consider contacting private grant writing consultants or the nearest cooperating collection of the national Foundation Center (foundationcenter.org). The cooperating collections maintain reference materials and online services that are helpful in researching private grant opportunities. There are two collections near Willacy County --- one at UT-PAN AM and the other at Texas A&M Kingsville. The collections referenced above can be contacted at:TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY - KINGSVILLE SOUTHWEST BORDER NONPROFIT RESOURCE CENTERJernigan LibraryThe University of Texas-Pan American700 University Blvd., MSC 1971201 West University Drive, ITT 1.404H Kingsville, TX 78363Edinburg, TX 78541(361) 593-3416(956) 292-7566Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 8 Photo of mural by Ramon Claudio "
The Salt of the King"
APPENDICESAPPENDIX AMap of Willacy CountyAPPENDIX BMap of RaymondvilleAPPENDIX CMap of LasaraAPPENDIX DMap of LyfordAPPENDIX EMap of Port MansfieldAPPENDIX FMap of San PerlitaAPPENDIX GMap of SebastianAPPENDIX HWillacy County Parks and Recreation Community SurveyAPPENDIX IEncuesta de Condado de WillacyAPPENDIX JTPWD Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan GuidelinesAPPENDIX KSurvey ResultsAppendix AMap of Willacy CountyAppendix BMap of RaymondvilleAppendix CMap of LasaraAppendix DMap of LyfordAppendix EMap of Port MansfieldAppendix FMap of San PerlitaAppendix GMap of SebastianAppendix HWillacy County Parks and Recreation Community SurveyWillacy County and other local governments are considering improving park and recreation opportunities within the County and would like your input. Your opinions are important to the understanding of the community needs and desires.1. Check which town do you live in or near:____Lasara ____Lyford ____Port Mansfield ____Raymondville ____San Perlita ____Sebastian_____I do not live in Willacy County2. What age group you are in: ____Under 20 _____21-35 _____36-50 _____51-65 _____Over 653. What is your gender: _____Male _____Female4. How many children (19 and under) live in your home? (Circle One) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 8 or more5. Do you or does someone in your family participate in organized league sports (baseball, softball, volleyball, etc.) outside of a school program? _____Yes _____No6. Should local governments develop or improve Outdoor Park & Recreation Facilities in the County? ____Yes ____NoIf your answer is no, please skip Question #7.7. Please check the top five (5) Outdoor Park and Recreation Facilities from the list below that you would like to see added in the County.Outdoor PavilionsPicnic Areas and Barbeque PitsOpen Space/Nature PreservesPlaygroundsWalking/Jogging/Hiking TrailsPublic Hunting AreasBicycling Trails/PathsSwimming Pool/Spray ParksPublic BeachesBaseball FieldsKayaking/Canoe LaunchesCamp GroundsBasketball CourtsBMX Bike ParksRunning TracksVolleyball CourtsFishing Piers/Wading AreasGolf CoursesSoccer FieldsBirdwatching AreasRV ParksSoftball FieldsTennis CourtsRodeo/Roping ArenasFootball FieldsHorseback Riding TrailsRock Climbing WallsDisc Golf (Frisbee) CoursesSkateboarding ParksAmphitheatersOther(s)8. Should local governments develop or improve Indoor Park & Recreation Facilities in the County? ____ Yes ____ NoIf your answer is no, please skip Question #9.9. Please check the top five (5) Indoor Park and Recreation Facilities from the list below that you would like to see added in the County. Please place an X next to each of your five (5) selections.Basketball CourtsIndoor Running TracksIndoor Swimming PoolBowlingFitness Rooms (yoga, aerobics, martial arts)Audio Visual/TV RoomNature CenterGame Rooms (foosball, pool, board games, chess, ping pong)Video Game RoomsGymnasiumsAuditorium for Music, Plays and other Art PerformancesComputer RoomsMeeting RoomsRacquetball/Handball CourtsArts and Craft RoomsVolleyball CourtsWeight RoomsRock Climbing WallsOther(s) 10. The list below provides examples of recreational and social programs that some communities develop for their residents. Would you participate in any of the following programs? _____Yes _____NoYesNoAquatic (swim lessons, water fitness, etc.)Fitness Classes (yoga, aerobics, martial arts, weight lifting, boxing, etc.)Social Activities (family nights, support groups, social clubs, volunteering)Sports Leagues (youth/adults basketball, soccer, baseball/T-ball, volleyball, etc.)Teen Programs (clubs, adventure/environmental programs, etc.)Arts & Crafts (writing, performing, dance, music, visual, crafts, etc.)Trips & Tours (youth/adult/senior outdoor education, hiking, day-trips, etc.)11. What can local governments do to increase the park and recreational opportunities available to senior citizens? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________12. Please check all the reasons why you and/or your family may not participate more frequently in community recreational programs or use community park facilities:Not enough programs or park facilitiesLack of information on programsNo interest in programs or recreational facilities offeredTimes and facility locations not convenientUnable to get to program or facilityInadequate amenities (bathroom/seating areas)Fees are not affordableDo not feel safeLack of timeProgram or facility is too far awayLack of ChildcareOther (please specify)13. How often do you go to Port Mansfield? _____Often _____Sometimes _____Rarely _____Never14. Would you go to Port Mansfield more often if there were a park with nature trails, improved fishing piers, improved areas for wade fishing, kayaking/canoeing launches, bird viewing stations, nature center, new playground, picnic pavilion, etc.? _____Yes _____No _____Maybe15. What is the single most important issue or greatest need concerning parks and recreation programs and facilities within Willacy County? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Please use this space for additional comments: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________THANK YOU FOR YOUR INVALUABLE PARTICIPATION IN THIS SURVEYTO MAIL THIS SURVEY PLEASE ADDRESS IT TO:KAY PILS305 WEST MILTON ST.AUSTIN, TX 78704-3017Appendix IEncuesta de Condado de WillacyEl Condado de Willacy y otros gobiernos locales están considerando mejorar oportunidades recreativos y de parques dentro del Condado. Sus opiniones son importantes para entender las necesidades y los deseos de la comunidad.1. Marque el pueblo donde vive o el más cercano:_____Lasara _____Lyford _____Port Mansfield _____Raymondville _____San Perlita _____Sebastian_____Yo no vivo en el Condado de Willacy2. ¿Cuáles su grupo de edad?: _____Menos de 20 _____21-35 _____36-50 _____51-65 _____Más de 653. ¿Cuál es su sexo? _____Mujer _____Hombre4. ¿Cuántos niños (de 19 años y menor) viven en su casa? (Círculo uno) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 más de 85. ¿Usted o alguien en su familia participa en ligas organizadas de deporte (béisbol, softbol, voleibol, etc.) fuera de un programa escolar? _____Sí _____No6. ¿Cree que gobiernos locales deberían desarrollar o mejorar instalaciones AFUERA de los lugares recreativos y de los parques en el Condado? _____Sí _____NoSi su respuesta es ninguna, salte por favor la pregunta #7.7. Favor de indicar las CINCO (5) instalaciones AFUERA de los lugares recreativos y de los parques de la lista de abajo que le gustaría ver ser agregado en el Condado. Indique su selección con un equis.Pabellones al afueraÁreas de picnic y con parrillasPlayas para ir en monopatínPatios de recreoPistas para caminar/hacer joggingÁreas públicas de caceríaPistas y caminos de bicicletaPiscinas/parques de esprayPlayas públicasCanchas de béisbolLanchas de kayak/canoaParques para tiendas de campoCanchas de basquetbolParques para bicicletas BMXPistas para caminar/hacer caminatasCanchas de voleibolAnfiteatrosCanchas de golfCanchas de fútbolÁreas para observar avesParques de vehículos recreativosCanchas de softbolCanchas de tenisPlazas para rodeo/lazarCanchas de fútbol americanoPistas para cabalgata de caballosMurallas de piedra para treparCanchas para jugar golfo de discos (Frisbee)Reservas a cielo abierto o áreas protegidasMuelles para pescar/Áreas para caminar por el aguaOtra (favor de especificar)8. ¿Cree que gobiernos locales deberían desarrollar o mejorar instalaciones INTERIORES de los lugares recreativos y de los parques cubiertos? _____ Sí _____ NoSi su respuesta es ninguna, salte por favor la pregunta #9.9. Favor de indicar las CINCO (5) instalaciones interiores de los lugares recreativo y de los parques de la lista de abajo que le gustaría ver ser agregado en el Condado. Indique su selección con un equis.Canchas de basquetbolPistas interiores de carreraPiscina interiorBolicheSalones de salud (yoga, aerobismo, artes marciales)Salones audiovisuales/TVReserva naturalSalones de recreo (futbolito, billares, juegos de mesa, ajedrez, tenis de mesa)Salones para juegos de videoGimnasiosAuditorio para música, obras de teatroSalones de computadorasSalones para reunionesCanchas de raquetbol/balonmanoSalones de arte y artesaníasCanchas de voleibolSalones de levantamiento de pesasMurallas de piedra para treparOtra (favor de especificar)10. La lista de abajo da ejemplos de programas recreativos y sociales que algunas comunidades desarrollan para sus residentes. ¿Participaría en cualquiera de los siguientes programas? _____Sí _____NoSíNoAcuática (lecciones de natación, salud acuática, etc.)Clases de forma física (yoga, aerobics, artes marciales, levantamiento de pesas, boxeo, etc.)Actividades Sociales (noches con familia, grupos de apoyo, clubes sociales, actividades voluntarios)Ligas deportivas (básquetbol para jóvenes/adultos, fútbol, béisbol/T-bol, voleibol, etc.)Programas para adolescentes (clubes, programas de aventuras/medio ambiente, etc.)Arte & Artesanías (escritura, teatro, baile, música, visual, artesanías, etc.)Viajes & Turs (educación al aire libre pare jóvenes/adultos/personas de tercera edad, hacer senderismo, viajes de un día, etc.)11. ¿Que pueden hacer los gobiernos locales para aumentar las oportunidades recreativas y de parques disponibles para personas de tercera edad? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________12. Favor de marcar todas las razones por la cual usted y/o su familia quizás no participarían con más frecuencia en programas recreativos comunitarios o usar instalaciones de parques comunitarios:Insuficientes programas o instalaciones de parquesFalta de información sobre programasNingún interés en los programas o las instalaciones recreativos ofrecidosHorarios y lugares de instalaciones son inconvenientesNo puedo llegar al programa o la instalaciónNo hay bañosLas entradas son demasiada caraNo me siento seguroFalta de tiempoEl programa o la instalación es demasiado retiradoFalta de cuidado infantilOtra (favor de especificar)13. ¿Qué tan seguido visita a Port Mansfield? _____Frecuentemente _____A veces _____Casi nunca _____Nunca14. ¿Iría más seguido a Port Mansfield si hubiera un parque con caminos de naturaleza, muelles de pesca, áreas mejorados para caminar por el agua, lanzamientos de kayaks/canoas, sitios para observar aves, áreas naturales, patio de recreo nuevo, pabellón para picnic, etc.? _____Sí _____No _____Quizás15. ¿Cuál es el tema mas importante o la necesidad mas importante con respecto a parques y programas recreativos en el Condado de Willacy? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Favor de usar estas líneas para comentarios adicionales: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________GRACIAS POR SU PARTICIPACION INAPRECIABLE EN ESTA ENCUESTAPARA ENVIAR ESTA ENCUESTA:KAY PILS305 WEST MILTON STREETAUSTIN, TEXAS 78704-3017Appendix JTPWD Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan GuidelinesLOCAL PARK GRANT PROGRAMPARK, RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE MASTER PLAN GUIDELINESRevised January 2008The following guidelines have been developed to help local governments prepare park, recreation, and open space master plans in accordance with the Local Park Grant Programs Manual. Points may be received through the applicable “Project Priority Scoring System” for projects which meet priorities identified in Department-approved, locally-endorsed parks, recreation, and open space master plans.** Please note that a master plan is not required to participate in the grant program, nor does Texas Parks & Wildlife Department approval of a plan guarantee that points will be awarded for any project. ** At a minimum, all master plans must meet the requirements below for approval. These guidelines are effective upon adoption by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on January 24, 2008. For questions or assistance, please contact the Recreation Grants office at 512/389-8322.Submit plans to Recreation Grants for review as early as possible, but no later than sixty days before the application deadlines: Local Park Grant ProgramMaster Plan Submission DateGrant Application Submission DateOutdoorMay 31stJuly 31stOutdoorNovember 30thJanuary 31stIndoorMay 31stJuly 31stUrban OutdoorDecember 31stFebruary 28thUrban IndoorMay 31stJuly 31stBecause of the large number of review requests, early submission of master plans for review and approval is strongly encouraged. It is also recommended that plans be reviewed by Recreation Grants prior to submission to the applicable governing body for final approval to preclude the sponsor from having to obtain additional approval from the governing body in the event the review finds changes to the plans are needed. Plans must be approved or submitted in an approvable format (including resolution of adoption) by the November 30th, December 31st, and May 31st deadlines to be eligible for project priority points. Please provide the name and address of the contact person in the local government submitting the plan as well as the name and address of the preparer, if other than the sponsor.The following documentation is required for approval by Recreation Grants:PROOF OF ADOPTION Once plans are complete, the applicable governing body (city council, county commissioner’s court, district or authority board) must pass a formal resolution (or ordinance) adopting the plan and list of priority needs. JURISDICTION-WIDE PLANPlans must be comprehensive and include the sponsor’s entire area of jurisdiction, i.e., the entire city, county, or district, etc. Plans may be broken into planning areas, regions, districts or precincts, as needed for larger communities or counties. All planning areas, regions, districts, or precincts must be included in the plan as partial plans are unacceptable.Plans must address the present and future needs of the community or area, not merely short-term needs. Plans that justify only one grant project will not be approved. As of January 24, 2008, Regional (multi-jurisdictional) Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plans may be submitted to the Department for review. This plan may be utilized by those communities located within the planning region. In order for any application to be eligible for priority planning points the project sponsor must adopt the regional plan by resolution. The plan must also include all of the required master plan elements for each community wishing to utilize the regional plan; or the project sponsor must submit a supplement, by the applicable master plan deadline, that includes any required information pertaining to their community that is not included in the regional plan. Please compare the regional plan’s elements to the following plan content list to determine if supplemental information will be required by the Department.PLAN DURATIONPlans must cover at least a ten year period. Plans must be updated every five years to remain eligible. At a minimum, updates should include a summary of:AccomplishmentsNew public inputMost recent inventory dataUpdated needs assessmentPrioritiesNew implementation planDemographicsPopulation projectionsGoals and objectivesStandards, and MapsPriorities should be updated as high priority items are accomplished and lower priorities move up. A new resolution is not required when updating priorities; however if you change or revise your priorities, submit a new resolution adopting the new priorities.A completely new plan is required every ten years.PLAN CONTENTSAll master plans must meet the following minimum requirements.I. INTRODUCTIONThis section should discuss the unit of government for which the plan is created. Include socio-economic data; demographics on ethnicity, age, and income; current and projected population figures and their source; growth or non-growth patterns; and the government’s or agency’s role in providing parks and recreation opportunities.GOALS AND OBJECTIVESIdentify your parks and recreation service goals and follow with specific objectives for each goal. These should be given careful thought. State the time period of the plan.PLAN DEVELOPMENT PROCESSThis section is very important so that we can understand how you identified and prioritized your needs. Describe who wrote the plan and when the process began. Discuss planning committees utilized and public input received through hearings, meetings, and surveys. Be brief, but thorough.AREA AND FACILITY CONCEPTS AND STANDARDSThis section of the plan is also very important and contributes directly to the assessment and identification of needs. You cannot properly identify needs without establishing local standards and concepts. Area/Facility standards should be determined locally. Local standards are influenced by preferences and available economic and natural resources. A good source of information on this topic can be found in the National Recreation & Park Association’s Park, Recreation, Open Space & Greenway Guidelines publication (formerly the Recreation, Park & Open Space Standards & Guidelines). All of the guidelines identified in this document may or may not apply to your community or county. Adjustments to those standards may be necessary to reflect your needs and resources. Contact the NRPA at http://www.nrpa.org or 703/858-2190 to obtain a copy of this publication.INVENTORY OF AREAS AND FACILITIESAssess what parks, recreation and open space areas and facilities are currently within your system. You should also include school and private recreational facilities that are open to the public. If inventory data are broken out by park, include a summary table for all parks and facilities. This inventory information is essential for assessing needs.NEEDS ASSESSMENT AND IDENTIFICATIONThe following three approaches may be employed in determining parks and recreation needs: (1) demand-based, (2) standard-based, and (3) resource-based. Or a combination of these approaches may help you more accurately assess your needs. The demand-based approach relies on information gathered from participation rates, surveys, and other information that indicates how much of the population wants certain types of facilities.The standard-based approach uses established standards to determine facilities and park areas needed to meet the needs of a given population size. The standards may be based on demand studies, the professional judgment of park and recreation planners and designers, etc.The resource-based approach examines the assets and resources of the area for open space, parks and recreation facilities, and defines how these resources can be utilized. For example – the availability of a lake or river within an area is a resource which can be utilized in developing a park system.Agencies with large jurisdiction areas may wish to divide their jurisdiction into planning areas, regions, districts or precincts. Specific needs can then be assessed and identified within each planning unit.Clearly identify needs and explain the methodology for determining them. Consider both outdoor and indoor recreation needs, if applicable.PLAN IMPLEMENTATION AND PRIORITIZATION OF NEEDSA priority list of needs should be ranked in order from highest to lowest priority and state when the needs will be met. If your plan is broken into specific planning areas, regions, districts or precincts, you may prioritize needs within each of the planning regions. Separate priority lists may be provided for indoor and outdoor needs. Lists must be area and/or facility specific, and be ranked according to priority order. It is the option of the sponsor to present the priority lists as park/site-based or recreational element-based. However, be aware that there are more points available in the current scoring system if priorities are compiled by recreational elements, and separated by indoor and outdoor. Example of recreational facility-based priority lists:Outdoor Priorities:#1 = Trails#2 = Acquisition additional park acres#3 = Restrooms in nature park#4 = Adult softball fields#5 = Tennis courts; etc. Indoor Priorities: #1 = Indoor pool#2 = Gym and basketball court#3 = Walking track#4 = Arts and crafts room#5 = Meeting room; etc.)Specific areas intended for open space acquisition and preservation should be located on a map, identified as a need, discussed, and prioritized in your plan.Where appropriate, renovation/redevelopment needs must be discussed and may be ranked as a priority. Renovation is defined as “to renew, make over…” Work on existing facilities to completely renew, update, or modernize such facilities so the finished product will meet present-day standards and be comparable with newly constructed similar facilities is classified as renovation.Redevelopment means the removal of obsolete facilities and construction of new ones. Repairs and/or maintenance may be listed as a priority, but are not eligible for grant assistance. Identify resources for meeting your needs (e.g., city funds, in-house labor, bonds, grants, donations, etc.), and include a proposed timeline for accomplishing the plan’s priorities.CAUTION! Do not just focus on short-term needs and actions. Plan for the future also.ILLUSTRATIONS, MAPS, SURVEYS, ETC.Required: City or County map, or map of jurisdiction, as appropriate.Include maps, surveys, charts, plates, graphics, and photographs in the plan which help explain and support your planning process and conclusions. <br />Appendix K<br />Survey Results<br />Willacy County Parks and Recreation Community Survey Report (340 Responses)<br />1. Check which town you live in or near. - 295 Answered<br />2. What age group you are in. – 280 Answered<br />3. What is your gender – 283 Answered<br />4. How many children (19 and under) live in your home? – 277 Answered<br />5. Do you or does someone in your family participate in organized league sports (baseball, softball, volleyball, etc.) outside of a school program? – 283 Answered<br />6. Should local governments develop or improve Outdoor Park & Recreation Facilities in the County? – 286 Answered<br />7. Please check the top five (5) Outdoor Park and Recreation Facilities from the list below that you would like to see added in the County. – 277 Answered<br />8. Should local governments develop or improve Indoor Park & Recreation Facilities in the County? – 283 Answered<br />9. Please check the top five (5) Indoor Park and Recreation Facilities from the list below that you would like to see added in the County. – 258 Answered<br />10. The list below provides examples of recreational and social programs that some communities develop for their residents. Would you participate in any of the following programs? – 262 Answered<br />11. What can local governments do to increase the park and recreational opportunities available to senior citizens? <br /><ul><li>Make available areas where the senior citizens can come to. Some need a place to exercise on; or maybe just a place to socialize. Birdwatching and or nature outings would be fun. A social meeting room so they can plan bingos, cards or just sit and read have coffee, etc.
Iwould like to see a place to play horseshoes. Maybe a small pond in the park with a fountain in the middle and benches or tables around it so that our parents and grandparents can sit around and talk ,play dominoes,or just sit and enjoy the view and the sounds of the water and birds(nature). I think they would enjoy that ,heck even I would.
Most seniors go to watch children, grandkids at sports events and for exercise most walk, run or ride bikes.
Create indoor facilities for arts & crafts. Workout area and dance classes.
Post activities on bulletin boards in RV Parks.
I believe in making the setting neutral for all to enjoy. And I know of many senior citizens who attend games and at times it is difficult for them to find a path to get to the bleachers. They are also in need of handrails and updated restrooms.
I feel we need an area for water aerobics, as it would help seniors citizens with joint and weight problems.
Build walkways accessible to wheelchairs & walkers.
Now that the governments are giving us an opportunity to decide if we want these things like a park here in our county that why people should take advantage of this opportunity so the government now that we care about this program and really give us the programs we want.
Make more leagues for senior citizens and more activities.