This November, Texas voters approved Prop 14– the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund– with 76% of the vote. This $1 billion fund will enable the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to buy land to create dozens of new state parks.
But on top of that historic win for the state, voters in 9 Texas cities and counties approved another sum of $823 million in bonds to support local parks and recreation facilities.
Proposition B, which grants $276.44 million for projects related to parkland acquisition and improving park amenities, passed with 77% of the vote. The majority of the money is aimed at parkland acquisition along existing greenway corridors– $200 million will go into buying land on both the underserved east side of the county as well as projects across the county. Projects include building trails and amenities from Northeast Metro Park to Ben E. Fisher Park, and completing the Bee Creek Sports Complex.
Fort Bend County
Proposition B will grant $153 million for the development and enhancement of county park facilities. It passed with 52% of the vote. The projects from this bond will include the construction of a new Sports Complex in Central Fort Bend, and the enhancement of Duhacsek Park to include multi-purpose fields, walking trails, and a picnic area.
Proposition B, which allocates $59 million for the improvements to the city’s parks and expo centers, passed with nearly 60% of voters in favor. This bond will give the county funding for facility development projects associated with Berry Springs Park and Preserve, Williamson County Expo Center and Twin Lakes Park, as well as several shared use path projects. It will also include money for future parkland acquisition.
Proposition D grants $22.45 million towards “acquiring, developing, constructing, renovating, improving, and equipping land for park and open space purposes.” It passed with 63% of the vote.
Proposition C, which would have allocated $9 million for a trail around Kirby Lake, failed with 54% votes against.
The city of Allen approved $17 million to expand Ford Park by passing Proposition B with 56.5% of the vote. The improvements will include the installation and development of athletic fields and sports courts.
Proposition C, which passed with 64% of the vote, will issue $33.4 million for the parks system in Denton, including the acquisition of new parks, as well as renovations and improvements to existing parks. Improvement projects currently outlined include a new inclusive playground, trail development, and aquatic improvements.
Proposition B, which passed with 70% of the vote, will grant $61.7 million to fund parks, trails, and recreational facilities, including a new recreation center.
Proposition A grants $108.1 million for parks and recreation and passed with 71% of the vote. This will allow the city to complete projects such as building an 18-acre baseball and softball competitive sport center in Dale Heard Lambert Park, improvements to Veterans Memorial Park, and adding two multi-use fields, utilities and additional parking to JM Caldwell Sr. Community Park.
Also worth highlighting is Proposition 11 on the statewide ballot, which passed with 63% of votes– it grants El Paso the authority to empower small reclamation, conservation, and municipal utility districts to issue bonds to develop parks. Consequently, El Paso voters will now have the chance to endorse bond funding for parks projects in future elections.
The resounding approval of all these measures reflects the deep-rooted appreciation Texans have for parks and recreation. It’s a testament to our shared commitment to getting outside and moving around.
Executive Director, Environment Texas Research & Policy Center
As the director of Environment Texas, Luke is a leading voice in the state for clean air, clean water, clean energy and open space. Luke has led successful campaigns to win permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend; to compel Exxon, Shell and Chevron Phillips to cut air pollution at three Texas refineries and chemical plants; and to boost funding for water conservation and state parks. The San Antonio Current has called Luke "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has been named one of the "Top Lobbyists for Causes" by Capitol Inside, received the President's Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society for his work to protect Texas parks, and was chosen for the inaugural class of "Next Generation Fellows" by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT Austin. Luke, his wife, son and daughter are working to visit every state park in Texas.