Officials Meet to Discuss Big Spring State Park Funding

By Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - A West Texas State Park is on the chopping block. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is looking for ways to cut their budget by 25 percent. That's put the Big Spring State Park right in the cross hairs. On Friday, state lawmakers and city officials met in Big Spring to talk about the issue.

West Texas is known for having a flat landscape but in Big Spring, it's a different story. The scenic mountain, otherwise known as the Big Spring State Park, has breathtaking views of the area. But with the budget cuts all across the state, the park could be losing their state funding.

"We're really here to kind of explain that to the city leadership and to ask to them to give us their decision about whether or not they're interested in taking over this park or some other options," Scott Boruff, with Texas Parks and Wildlife, said.

That's why Texas Parks and Wildlife made the trip from Austin to Big Spring to see what city and county leaders thought of the state park being cut.

"The consensus seems to be that we would like to retain the status of being a state park in the state of Texas," Big Spring Mayor, Tommy Duncan, said.

That's seem to be the overall message that local and state officials were trying to get to the Texas Parks and Wildlife they want to remain a state park.

"We recognize that there are budget issues throughout the nation, state and within our local governments but were going to dig deeper and work harder to ensure we can all come together and make sure that this natural resource for the City of Big Spring and the state of Texas remains open and viable to public," Duncan said.

But to many West Texans, the State Park is more than just a simple place to go run.

"The park is a part of this community just like the schools are all part of this community. Even the importance of the staff and how they are all part of the family. So this park is a big part of this community and that's why we need to make sure we do everything we can to keep it, we can to keep it viable and vibrant," State Representative, Jim Landtroop, said.

In the meantime, officials and Texas Parks and Wildlife Officials will start working to find a solution to all the cuts.

"I don't think we need to panic yet, I think everything is going to be alright. Of course, we'll have more talks with the city, county, and state. We're gonna be getting together, breaking these numbers down seeing if we can do some kind of services in this period to help them in this kind of crunch," Howard County Judge, Mark Barr, said.

"Some of the options we talked about is kind of a partnership between the state, city and the county to do the best we can to try and keep this park open to some extent in this hard budget climate," Boruff said.

The next step is for the city and county to come together and look at numbers and see how much it costs to operate the state park. They'll try to come up with a solution to help Texas Parks and Wildlife keep the Big Spring State Park open.