Susan Combs Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts • Partnering with local governments to solve important issues.
3 Lufkin powers up
with biomass plant
T Grand Canyon
Burnet resort fly
Postcard scenery and soaring revenues make this park grand.
by Tracey Lamphere
With its breathtaking views and natural beauty, the Panhandle’s Palo Duro Canyon
5 How to promote
the great outdoors State Park is among Texas’ most-visited destinations.
Recently acquired land for new trails, a moun- Myriad organizations support and promote the
tain bike rally and hot air balloon events have “Grand Canyon of Texas” that measures 120 miles
ramped up the park’s activity offerings. The long by 20 miles at its widest point.
second-largest canyon in the United States, Palo Canyon, the city nearest to Palo Duro Canyon
Duro offers perks its Arizona counterpart can’t. and the state park, and its chamber of commerce
“It’s better than the Grand Canyon because you coordinate special events year-round to bring
7 Links to recreation
don’t have to take a mule down to the bottom,”
says Maggie Johnson, founder of the Partners in
visitors to the city and the park.
Palo Duro Canyon offers pageantry with its
Palo Duro Canyon Foundation. “You can ride annual “TEXAS” musical drama. Attendance in
comfortably in your air-conditioned car.” 2007 was up more than 28 percent and revenues
Johnson manages the foundation’s gift shop at rose 44 percent, according to the Texas Panhandle
Palo Duro Canyon State Park. All proceeds are Heritage Foundation Inc. (TPHF), the nonprofit
used to buy equipment and supplies for the park. producer of “TEXAS.” Support from TPHF
The foundation, along with entry ticket sales, has members helps maintain and improve the Pioneer
8 Texas named best
for business helped support the park for the past 14 years.
Palo Duro Canyon
Amphitheater where the musical is held. The
continued on page 6
Texas Rising is one of the ways the
Comptroller’s office strives to assist
taxpayers and the people of Texas.
The newsletter is a by-product of the
From Comptroller Susan Combs
Comptroller’s constitutional responsibilities
to monitor the state’s economy and to
estimate state government revenues.
Articles and analysis appearing in Texas Texas is blessed with a wealth of beautiful state parks offering
Rising do not necessarily represent the policy
or endorsement of the Texas Comptroller of
rich recreational opportunities for both citizens and tourists alike.
Public Accounts. Space is devoted to a wide Our state parks also have a tremendous economic impact on both
variety of topics of Texas interest and general
government concern. their surrounding communities and the Texas economy.
STAFF As your strategic partner for local government management, the
Director of Public Outreach and Strategies Comptroller’s office is pleased to present this issue of Texas Rising,
Creative Directors which offers valuable resources and tips on funding, developing
Beth Hallmark and Dan Lynch
Editorial Team Leader and promoting your community’s state parks and recreational
Karl Wolfshohl offerings.
Karen Hudgins In this issue, we travel to Texas’ own grand canyon, the vast Palo Duro Canyon.
Michael Castellon, Russell Gallahan, Tracey
Ranked among the state’s most visited destinations, Palo Duro Canyon and its annual
Lamphere, Clint Shields “TEXAS” musical drama bring an economic impact of more than $30 million each
and Bruce Wright
Graphics Director season to the Panhandle area. We share how the nonprofit Texas Panhandle Heritage
Foundation has partnered with Palo Duro Canyon State Park to help support park
Graphics, Layout and Photography
Tyra Peterson, Jo Ann Reyes infrastructure and promote the “TEXAS” musical.
and Barbara Schlief
Photos We also visit the Hill Country’s Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park and Lodge, a
Cover: Connie Taylor Real Estate, Canyon Texas
Page Five: Rod Gardner
successful partnership between the Lower Colorado River Authority and private
Page Six: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department investors that has yielded a popular destination for both outdoor adventurers and indoor
and Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation
Page Seven: Westcave Preserve enthusiasts.
We spotlight the Central Texas Hills and Rivers Region, a nonprofit group that
Comptroller field offices are located in promotes the lush parks and outdoor recreational offerings of its member counties of
Abilene, Amarillo, Arlington, Austin,
Beaumont, Brownsville, Bryan, Corpus
McCulloch, Menard, Kimble and Concho. We share information on local and state
Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, resources grants that local government leaders can pursue to fund recreation projects in
Houston, Laredo, Longview, Lubbock,
Lufkin, McAllen, Odessa, San Angelo, San their communities.
Antonio, Sherman, Belton, Killeen, Tyler,
Victoria, Waco and Wichita Falls, as well as When it comes to economic development, creating jobs and generating new levels of
Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Tulsa.
prosperity, local governments in Texas are focused
HOW TO REACH US
Toll-free telephone line: (800) 531-5441, on rising to the occasion every time.
ext. 3-3116; in Austin, 463-3116.
COMPTROLLER’S WEB SITE
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subscriptions or renewal s of
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The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts is an equal
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In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act,
this document may be requested in alternative formats.
Contact the Public Outreach and Strategies Division at
(512) 463-4900 or (800) 531-5441, ext. 3-4900 (VOICE),
(512) 463-4226 (FAX), or visit the LBJ State Office Building,
111 E. 17th St., Room 311, Austin, Texas.
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
2 Texas Rising September/October 2008 www.texasrising.org
Tell Us Your Story! We want to hear about your town’s economic development accomplishments. Whether you’ve
landed a new employer or you’ve partnered with a university to train tomorrow’s work force,
E-mail us at email@example.com. please tell us the unique solutions you’re using to create success in your community every day.
Businesses and industries are expanding their operations and building new facilities
throughout Texas. Here is a sampling of recently announced expansions, tracked
by the Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism Division.
Number of New
City Business Name Type of Business Type of Expansion/Type of Job Employees
Port Arthur Valero Owns and operates oil refineries and retail and Company will invest $2.4 billion in the Port Arthur Refinery, adding 2,000
branded wholesale outlets. 2,000 construction jobs. The expansion, to be completed in 2011, will
increase production from 325,000 to 405,000 barrels per day.
El Paso El Paso Electric Generates and distributes electricity to The $217 million addition to the Newman Power Generating Station 200
approximately 344,000 customers in the Rio will create construction jobs. Facility will be fully operational in May
Grande Valley and southern New Mexico. 2011 and will provide electricity to power about 200,000 homes.
Lufkin Aspen Power LLC Power and telecommunication sales with Company will build $100 million renewable energy plant on a 67-acre 160
offices in Denver, Colo. and Phoenix, Ariz. tract in North Lufkin. Aspen Power and its affiliate, Angelina Fuels
LLC, anticipate employing 160 people.
Waco Caterpillar Makes construction and mining equipment, New 750,000-square-foot distribution center will pursue a “green” 140-180
diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial designation; will be completed next year.
Marble Falls Lowe’s Operates more than 1,575 home improvement 94,000-square-foot store is under construction and represents a $12 Up to 120
stores in the United States and Canada. million investment in the community.
Fort Worth Health Care Service Corp. Fourth-largest health insurer in the Construction has begun on $232.5 million, 250,000-square-foot data 100
United States. center, which will handle expected growth in members and services.
Bryan Texas A&M University Research-intensive flagship university. New Texas A&M Health Science Center campus will be built on a N/A
$6 million, 200-acre tract donated to the A&M system by the city
Sources: Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism Division; Texas A&M University’s Real Estate Center
For more information, visit the Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism Division at www.governor.state.tx.us/ecodev or the Texas A&M Real Estate Center at www.recenter.tamu.edu.
Texas State Parks: Natural Economic Assets
A new report by the Comptroller’s office provides an in-depth look at the economic benefits of Texas state parks.
The report, Texas State Parks: Natural Economic Assets, examines the economic impact of state parks. Each county with a
state park averages almost $3 million in retail sales, $1.5 million in resident income and 59 jobs attributable to park
visitors. Rural state parks provide the counties in which they are located approximately 90 jobs out of every 10,000,
attributable to park-related expenditures. Out-of-state visitors to Texas parks contribute $15.7 million in gross
state product, $7.9 million in personal income and 288 new jobs to the Texas economy each year.
In researching the report, Comptroller staff visited state parks around the state, talked with local
economic development and tourism officials, studied retail sales and other data and pored over
recent economic analyses. The report demonstrates the favorable impact that the state parks
have on the Texas economy and the positive returns the state receives on its financial
investments to operate, maintain and preserve these parks.
View the report at www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/parks/ or call the Comptroller’s office
at (800) 531-5441, ext. 5-0332, to request a free copy.
www.texasrising.org September/October 2008 Texas Rising 3
by Tracey Lamphere
Tools that Made
Where Eagles Fly
Canyon of the Eagles Public-private partnership drives visitors to Hill Country park.
When it comes to bring-
ing private partnerships A partnership between the Lower Colorado Eagles Ltd. of San Antonio to fund the $6
to public recreation,
Jeff Singleton, the
River Authority (LCRA) and private investors million lodge, which occupies 45 acres of the
LCRA’s senior project has yielded a Hill Country destination that park with 16 cottages and 64 lodge rooms.
manager for public/private appeals to outdoor adventurers and indoor The LCRA also recruited Vanishing Texas
initiatives, says attracting quality
enthusiasts alike. River Cruises and Lake Buchanan River
partners is key to success.
“We create the right product in
Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park and Adventures to give visitors additional recre-
the types of parks we build. We Lodge, located west of Burnet on the shores of ational options, says Jeff Singleton, the LCRA’s
build a quality park facility that Lake Buchanan, is a thriving joint effort senior project manager for public/private
private interests find attractive.” In
between the LCRA and private investment initiatives. Daily and seasonal cruises attract up
maintaining those relationships,
“have it all in writing in a good, group Canyon of the Eagles Ltd. It attracts an to 90 passengers at a time.
solid contractual agreement estimated 40,000 visitors annually, up from Tent camping and RV parking are avail-
clearly stating the responsibilities
5,000 in 1999, its first year of operation. able, and the lodge has air conditioning and
of each party,” Singleton says.
As part of its development of the Colorado hot showers. Presidian, a San Antonio-based
For resources on maximizing your
community’s recreational River Trail, in 1993 the LCRA purchased 940 hotel management company, operates the
offerings to drive acres of ranchland, including a site for the facility, which is equipped to host corporate
park. Aside from its river access, the Canyon of meetings and special events. Despite the
the Comptrol- the Eagles Park area is home to rarities such amenities, the lodge has one deliberate
ler’s Local as bald eagles and golden-cheeked omission: The guest rooms don’t have
Government warblers. LCRA selected televisions.
Economic Devel- Canyon of the “It gives you a chance to slow your pace
opment Division down and put your BlackBerry away,” says
at (800) 531-5441, ex. David Whatley, park superintendent.
3-4679, or visit the Web
site at www.TexasAhead.org. The Canyon of the Eagles Lodge has grown
as a popular family
Concept vacation destination.
“People go up there
LCRA officials say they hope
these types of parks will help and have a great time.
people reconnect to nature with- It’s really well-suited
out necessarily roughing it. Since for the family,” says
Canyon of the Eagles, the LCRA
has incorporated the lodge con- Steve Dutton,
cept in its other Colorado River partnership manager
Trail parks. The LCRA operates for Canyon of the
12 developed parks in addition
to several recreational areas and Eagles Ltd.
river access points. For instance, For more informa-
the McKinney Roughs Nature tion about Canyon of
Park between Austin and Bastrop
includes a Hill Country Hyatt
the Eagles Nature
adjacent to the park site. Plans Park and Lodge visit
are also in the works to develop Jeff Singleton, LCRA senior project manager, www.canyonoftheea-
a lodge at the Matagorda Bay at Canyon of the Eagles: “We create the right
Nature Park. product in the types of parks we build.”
4 Texas Rising September/October 2008 www.texasrising.org
by Karen Hudgins
A River Runs Through It Local Government
Steps for Success
Rural counties partner to tout recreational offerings.
Hunting has long been a boon to tourism for McCulloch, Menard, Kimble
and Concho counties in Central Texas.
County leaders and landowners appreciate CTHRR’s help, the public relations firm
the big influx and economic impact of hunters coordinated three media tours in 2005 and
each year. But a few years ago they decided 2006. Farris says the tours cost about $150,000 Lynn Farris
they could do a better job of promoting the total to organize and brought in travel writers Lynn Farris, president of the Cen-
region’s other outdoor offerings. from around the state and nation. The tours tral Texas Hills and Rivers Region
(CTHRR), says that in deciding
In 2005, the nonprofit Central Texas Hills led to coverage in publications ranging from to hire a public relations firm to
and Rivers Region (CTHRR) formed to Texas Highways, Texas Parks and Wildlife market the region’s recreational
encourage tourism in its member counties. magazine, the Dallas Morning News, the offerings, the group benefited
from two realizations: “The rec-
“Hunting is a large recreational opportunity Midland Reporter-Telegram and Trailer Life.
ognition by everybody that we
and very important to our area,” says Lynn “We got a lot of coverage and it worked very had something worth promot-
Farris, CTHRR’s president. “There are also a well, and we’ve seen tangible benefits that it ing, and that no individual coun-
ty was able to do it themselves.
lot of folks who want to come out and sit on a brought people to our area,” says Farris. “For
“We couldn’t pay for it ourselves,
Texas ranch and listen to the birds sing.” example, we’ve had visitors to the Heart of
but we also couldn’t plan it and
From kayaking along the shimmering San Texas Country Music Museum in Brady who manage it,” Farris continues.
Saba, to fly-fishing at South Llano River State came specifically because of an article they’d “We needed some professional
help to do that. It really showed
Park, to viewing spectacular ancient Indian seen in one of the publications.”
that you can do a good job if
pictographs at Paint Rock in The CTHRR will host its first you work together. It was a clas-
Concho County, the area nature photography competition sic case of four or five counties
working together to have a posi-
offers a wealth of outdoor in spring 2009. The region also
options. promotes its multi-county bike
In 2006, the CTHRR race, the Tour de Forts. The 2009
hired Geiger & Associates, a race will take place May 23-24.
Florida-based public relations firm For more information on the
specializing in media marketing for CTHRR and the region’s upcoming
travel and tourism clients. events, visit www.cthrr.org. TR
“We initiated a
tour program to
promote the coun-
ties, bring the media
in, let them see what
the areas look like and
focus on what we
believe would interest
tourists in the area,”
www.texasrising.org September/October 2008 Texas Rising 5
Texas’ Grand Canyon
continued from page 1
production brings an economic impact of more
Local Government Canyon by Horseback
Tools that Made than $30 million per season to the Panhandle
Palo Duro Canyon State Park has about 10.5 miles of
the Difference area, according to TPHF.
trails, with one trail dedicated to horses, the Turn-
In fiscal 2007, the park generated more than
Palo Duro Canyon around Equestrian Trail. Horses are also allowed on
$1 million in revenues. The park is on track to the Interconnecting Trail (about two miles round-
trip) and the Lighthouse Trail (4.5 miles round-trip).
exceed that amount in fiscal 2008, says Mary
Visitors may bring their own horses or rent them
Fields, chief financial officer for the Texas from Old West Stables, where the guides are work-
Parks and Wildlife Department. ing cowboys. Located in the park, Old West Stables
offers tours that trace the rides of Brig. Gen. Ranald
Palo Duro Canyon ranked as the 22nd most
Mackenzie of the U.S. Cavalry and Col. Charles
Various organiza- popular attraction in Texas in 2006, according Goodnight, Palo Duro Canyon’s first settler.
tions support Palo to information compiled by the Office of the For more information, visit www.oldweststables.com.
Duro Canyon: Governor from a survey conducted by D.K.
• Improving in- ment with the Texas Travel Industry
Shifflet & Associates, Ltd. The canyon’s
1999, the Texas outdoor musical ranked 30th. Association.
Panhandle Heritage Founda- Rising gas prices may keep more Texas “It’s probably going to make people recon-
tion Inc. (TPHF) has made $3.5 tourists in state this year to see local attractions sider their plans,” he says. “They may not travel
million in improvements to the
Pioneer Amphitheatre, home to such as Palo Duro Canyon, according to David as far. They may look to reduce costs in other
the “TEXAS” musical drama. The Teel, vice president of planning and develop- ways. It’s a good thing for a lot of the smaller
nonprofit TPHF is the producer communities in the state. We would anticipate
of the musical and supports and
maintains the Pioneer Amphithe-
that Texans would be traveling closer to home.”
atre. Individuals, businesses and For more information on Palo Duro
others can join TPHF at annual Canyon, read the Comptroller’s new report,
sponsorship levels ranging from
Texas State Parks: Natural Economic Assets, at
$20 to $5,000.
• Community outreach. In
www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/parks/ or visit
2002, TEXAS Express formed as www.palodurocanyon.com. TR
an outreach arm of the TPHF.
The 12-member ensemble has
performed the “TEXAS” musical
drama at more than 50 events in Palo Duro Canyon offers pageantry
the Panhandle area. with its annual TEXAS musical drama.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park of-
ficials say the addition of more
spectator events such as a moun-
tain bike rally and trail runs have
boosted park attendance and rev-
enue. In 2008, more visitors from
Europe and Asia visited the park,
possibly due to the weaker U.S.
dollar. The typical visitor spends
three to four days at the park.
Fiscal Palo Duro Canyon
Year State Park Revenues
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife
6 Texas Rising September/October 2008 www.texasrising.org
This month: resources for funding recreational development
Partnering for Impact
Cities can tap state and local grants for recreational development.
The Comptroller’s office empowers local funds may be used for a wide variety of recreational projects
governments and communities across the state including water parks, playgrounds, sport courts, ball fields
with the information and tools they need to and gardens.
For more information, contact your city’s 4A or 4B Eco-
support economic development and create
nomic Development Corporation at https://ecpa.cpa.state.tx.us/
new jobs for Texans. Look for our special edcr/EdcrSearch.jsp. TR
“Partnering for Impact” section in each edition,
featuring timely, important information and Students interact
tips for local governments and economic in programs at the
development corporations. Environmental
Center at the
During lean economic times, as cities scramble to meet
their essential services needs, the first budget items often near Austin.
targeted for reductions are parks and outdoor recreation
facilities and programs. With careful planning and grants
from state or local organizations, cities can continue recre-
ational development while conserving scarce general revenue
for essential services.
City 4A or 4B economic development corporations are key
sources of local funds for matching park grants. Both entities
may fund parks improvements, but grants by a 4B corporation
only require approval from the corporation’s board of directors
and the city council. For 4A corporations, the process is
similar but also requires voter approval prior to funding a
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)
administers the Texas Recreation and Parks Account. Funded
by a percentage of the state sales tax generated through the Other Recreation Grant Programs
sales of sporting goods, this program provides funding for the
Urban Indoor (UI) Grant Available to cities and counties with populations of more
acquisition of land and construction and improvement of than 500,000. Grants of up to $1 million may be used to
recreational sites in five categories: Urban Indoor, Urban renovate or construct a facility permanently dedicated to
Outdoor, Indoor Facility, Outdoor and Small Community. indoor recreation. Ongoing maintenance and operational
All grants require a 50 percent local match. expenses are the grantee’s responsibility.
Outdoor and indoor recreation grants are available to local Urban Outdoor (UO) Grant Provide funds to cities and counties to acquire and
develop parkland. Grant recipients must permanently
governments with fewer than 500,000 residents. Funds may
dedicate the land and funded facilities for public
be used to acquire and improve parkland and/or renovate recreation. UO grants are subject to the same
existing park facilities. These grants may not exceed $500,000 requirements, terms and population limits as UI grants.
for outdoor, and $750,000 for indoor, in matching funds. For more information, contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Recre-
TPWD also administers a Small Community recreational ation Grants Branch, at (800) 792-1112 or visit the Web site at www.tpwd.state.
grant program for cities and counties with populations of less
than 20,000 residents. Subject to a maximum of $75,000, Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
www.texasrising.org September/October 2008 Texas Rising 7
Texas Jobs Charge Ahead Texas Best for Business
Texas led the nation in job growth from August 2007 to August Percentage of Respondents Ranking the State
2008, posting the highest year-over-year increase in employment as Having the Most Favorable Business Climate
among the leading job-growth states. Texas also has the best Texas 40.8%
business climate in the nation, according to a new survey of U.S.
North Carolina 30.4%
corporate executives. In 2006, Texas hunters, ﬁshermen and
wildlife enthusiasts contributed more than $8.9 billion annually Georgia 20.4%
in retail sales. Tennessee/Florida (tie) 15.2%
Annual Employment Change by State Recreation Drives Sales
August 2007-August 2008*
Retail Sales 2006 State and Local Tax Revenue 2006
252,000 Texas Activity (in billions) (in millions)
Freshwater Fishing $2.4 $227
Saltwater Fishing $0.9 $102
21,900 District of Columbia
Hunting $2.6 $283
7,300 South Dakota Wildlife Watching $2.9 $276
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Development Counsellors International’s “Winning Strategies in Economic Development Marketing” survey and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
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For more information, call (800) 531-5441,
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8 Texas Rising September/October 2008 www.texasrising.org