Park and Recreation Impact Fees: Describing the Attitudes and Current Practices of Texas Cities
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The purpose of this research is to describe the current uses of parkland impact fees that support parks and recreation activities in Texas cities. It is important for parks and recreation professionals to learn and understand the tools they have available to finance new parks and repair old infrastructure. This research uses existing literature to develop a conceptual framework based on four categories: Collection of Impact Fees and Land Dedication, Attributes of Impact Fees, Management of Impact Fee Revenues, and Managing Unintended Consequences.
The method of this study is an electronic survey that was sent to city managers and parks and recreation professionals in Texas with the support and endorsement of the Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS) and the Texas City Management Association (TCMA). These organizations provided contact lists of appropriate professionals to respond to the electronic questionnaire. The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
The findings provided critical information on "best practices" in finance and insight on how Texas cities use impact fees as a tool in the parks and recreation field. Attitudes of citizens, elected officials and professionals help shape the criteria used for the collection of parkland impact fees, and the study found that cities in different areas of the state use this tool differently. The study also confirmed some of the basic attributes of impact fees and the steps used to most effectively use these fees, such as leveraging them with other revenues, master planning and citizen engagement.