With Nintendo's Wii U now more than a year old, the two remaining members of the triopoly of video game console makers - Microsoft and Sony - are now vying for market share with the latest versions of their signature consoles.More >>
With Nintendo's Wii U now more than a year old, the two remaining members of the triopoly of video game console makers - Microsoft and Sony - are now vying for market share with the latest versions of their signature consoles. More >>
Progress Reported for State Park Developments & Capital Improvements Funding Also Allocated for Trail Grants & Multi-County Marketing Associations
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission met Wednesday morning at the First National Center in Oklahoma City for their regularly scheduled meeting. The Commission, along with Executive Director Hardy Watkins, expressed their heartfelt appreciation for Commissioner Jim Schlimpert who today served at his last meeting. "We are thankful for the energy and passion Commissioner Schlimpert brought to our group," said Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins. "He has served with distinction and our parks system and Oklahoma tourism overall are better because of his contributions."
Lake Texoma Area Update
The Commission approved the sale of Tourism-owned property and Tourism-leased property in the Texoma State Park area to Pointe Vista Development Corporation. The action includes the sale of approximately 90 acres of tourism-owned land as well as facilitating the sale of approximately 900 acres of land the Tourism Department leases through the Corps of Engineers.
This action was facilitated by Pointe Vista reaching agreements with each of the three concessionaires to ensure the business interests of those parties were appropriately addressed.
The Tourism Department will continue a leadership role throughout the transition process. "We are working with Pointe Vista to provide public use of the campgrounds through this summer travel season and possibly beyond as appropriate within the construction schedule," said Watkins. "We are also moving forward to locate an alternative location for a state park within Marshall County."
Lake Murray Development Update
Mita Bates reported to the Commission that the Ardmore Tourism Authority continues to move forward with development at Lake Murray State Park. Abstract work has been completed and attorneys are now conducting necessary title work. Progress has also been made regarding the property's water treatment system. Ms. Bates has been working with engineering firms to confirm that the new system proposed is a closed system. With that in place, the Ardmore Tourism Authority can move forward to secure EPA grant funds for the area.
Oklahoma Recreational Trail Grants Approved
The Commission approved the allocation of federal funding to various projects for recreational trails. The Recreational Trails Program provides money to the State of Oklahoma through the Federal Highway Administration and is earmarked for motorized, non-motorized and multi-use trails in the state. The Oklahoma Trails Advisory Board reviewed the eligible applications and selected projects from 13 communities and organizations to receive the federal funds totaling $1,498,144.
$10 Million Approved for State Parks Capital Improvements
State Parks will receive $10,487,000 in upgrades after Commissioners approved funding from the Oklahoma Tourism Capital Improvement Revolving Fund, establish by the Legislature in 2007. According to the guidelines of the Revolving Fund, the Department can only use the money in accordance with its Parks Master Plan which lists the park system's capital needs which are currently in excess of $90 million. These funds will be used for infrastructure and environmental improvements. Watkins said these funds are essential for the future of the parks. "We are thankful for the dedicated funding to help chip away at our list of park needs in an effort to better serve the public."
Approval of Multicounty Organization Funding and FY09 Budget
Tourism Commission members approved the allocation of $1.14 million of matching funds provided by the Legislature to support marketing programs of 11 Multicounty Organizations. Multicounties are regional tourism organizations that promote the tourism product in their parts of the state.
Commissioners also adopted the Department's FY-2009 budget of approximately $89 million which is a combination of state appropriations, federal funds, revolving funds, and capital project funds. The State Parks Division accounts for the majority of expenditures, with 77 percent of the Department's FY09 budget dedicated to parks, resorts and golf courses.
State Parks to Continue Partnership with Oklahoma Press Association
Commissioners approved the renewal of a trade agreement between the Tourism Department and the Oklahoma Press Association. The agreement allows the Press Association to broker trade with Oklahoma news outlets on behalf of the Department. Advertising is traded for promotional coupons redeemable at Oklahoma State Parks. The trade agreement is in the amount of $95,000.
Fountainhead Golf Course Update
On March 26, 2008, the Commission approved an action item regarding the Fountainhead Golf Course facility, directing the Executive Director to take all steps necessary and appropriate to cease Tourism's operation of the golf course or transfer the course area to an alternative eligible lessee. Since that time, the Department has been in negotiations with the Muscogee Creek Nation regarding terms of a sub-lease and/or transfer of the Department's Corps of Engineers lease for the golf course which the Commission voted to extend from June 30 to July 31, 2008. "Things are moving forward in a good manner and we are pleased with the progress, however we need a brief extension to ensure there is no gap in service during the transition," said Watkins.
Partnership Approved for Diversafest
Commissioners approved a partnership agreement for a $5,000 sponsorship of Diversafest (DFEST) which takes place July 24-26, 2008 in Tulsa. This is a premier music festival in terms of attendance and level of talent. The agreement includes a custom sponsorship package with advertising and promotional opportunities, as well as an exhibitor booth at the trade show portion of the conference.