JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
GRANITE SHOALS — With a number of parks dotting the city, why did Granite Shoals apply for a $500,00 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant that would only be used to build sports fields and on other improvements to land around the City Hall area?
The answer comes down to how the city of Granite Shoals could come up with its match to the Texas parks $500,000 grant. Granite Shoals City Manager Ken Nickel said the city used one of the old buildings and the land surrounding it as its match, something he couldn’t do with land already designated as a “park.”
By utilizing the undeveloped building and land on the City Hall property, Granite Shoals doesn’t have to spend any cash to match the Texas parks department grant. If the city had applied for the grant to make improvements to any of its current parks, Granite Shoals officials would have had to come up with an equal amount of cash to match the grant.
“Parks are already park land,” Nickel said. “There’s not a match of land for (grant purposes). I’d have to put up dollar for dollar.”
The grant will help create two soccer fields for 14-and-under players, two volleyball courts, two basketball courts, three batting cages, one shuffleboard court, and one pickleball court. The grant also includes a girls softball field or youth baseball field in an area facing RR 1431.
While Texas Parks and Wildlife awarded the grant March 23, Granite Shoals still has to clear at least one more hurdle.
On April 18, Dan Reese of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will inspect Granite Shoals’ parks and recreation facilities, including the gray building located between the Roddick Tennis Center covered court and the Manzano Hike, Bike, and Run Trail and the nearby land where the city aims at putting sports fields.
City staff will also give Reese a look at the new Wildlife Viewing Station located in the trail system that was built by the Highland Lakes Master Naturalists. Nickel said city staffers added the viewing station to the application, which earned the city an additional 10 points. Texas Parks and Wildlife uses a points system to rank applications and determine which projects receive funding.
The Granite Shoals project earned the most points at 115 in the non-urban grand scoring for the March 23 funding. Port Isabel and Del Rio followed at 99 points each.
Once Texas Parks and Wildlife is satisfied with the inspection and a contract is completed, Nickel said he’ll start the process of obtaining bids to begin work on a new multipurpose sports facility on Phillips Ranch Road.
“Everything has to bid out,” Nickel said.
When the city begins receiving bills, city staff members will forward those to Texas Parks and Wildlife to be used as supportive documentation that allows the state agency to track where the money is spent.
Once the grant money comes, city staff will begin to pay contractors.
In other business, Nickel noted the city bulk trash day April 1 was a success. Residents filled fifteen dumpsters with trash, while a metal collector was loaded up with four trailers of metal, the city manager said. A paper shredder cut up 80 boxes of paper.
“A lot of folks brought brush, tires, metal, furniture, and trash,” Nickel said. “The activity was higher than last October.”