Highland Village leaders want to improve the boat ramp access at Pilot Knoll Park and will seek grant funding to do so, but it may be a few years before the project comes to fruition.

City Council at the April 11 meeting approved a resolution authorizing an application to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Recreational Boating Access Grant Program for the Pilot Knoll Park Redevelopment Project Phase 1.

Park and Recreation Director Phil Lozano told council the city has a “pretty good” chance of getting approved for the grant. The city has four years to complete the project and up to three years of work prior to the award date that is eligible for reimbursement, which includes the grant writer’s cost and any architect fees completed leading up the grant. Any matching funds are in the 2021 bond issue, Lozano said.

On Sept. 28, 2021, council approved $15.26 million in issuance of certificates of obligation for construction improvement projects related to streets and parks:
  • Streets: $8.85 million
  • Parks: $6.41 million
Of the $6.41 million allocated for parks, $620,000 is allocated for major improvements to the boat ramp at Pilot Knoll Park, the city agenda notes stated. The city is seeking grants from the TPWD to help with the funding of the boat ramp and dock improvements.

In his presentation to council, Lozano said the TPWD Boating Access Grant Program assists local government agencies in developing boating access throughout the state. The program provides 75% match grants on a reimbursement based on eligible applications. The city will be responsible for 25% of the project's total cost. The matching maximum amount is $250,000 for planning—which Lozano said the city does not anticipate using—and up to $1 million for construction. The resolution is for the Planning Grant of Phase 1.

“In this particular grant, we’re allowed to phase it out,” Lozano said. “So we’re going to design beyond what we need knowing that we’re going to be coming back. What that does is it tees us up with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for future asks, and that’s a good thing, and that’s what we want to do. So we’re going to have several phases with this boating grant over the next several years.”

City staff sought the assistance from a professional grant writer to help write the TPWD boating access grant, Lozano said.