The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to local governments for parks and recreational projects to serve the public.
Click the links below to view information about PARTF.
The North Carolina General Assembly established the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) on July 16, 1994 to fund improvements in the state's park system, to fund grants for local governments and to increase the public's access to the state's beaches. The Parks and Recreation Authority, a nine-member appointed board, was also created to allocate funds from PARTF to the state parks and to the grants program for local governments.
PARTF is the primary source of funding to build and renovate facilities in the state parks as well as to buy land for new and existing parks.
The PARTF program also provides dollar-for-dollar grants to local governments. Recipients use the grants to acquire land and/or to develop parks and recreational projects that serve the general public. At this website, you can learn how to apply for a grant, see lists of past grant recipients and download an application. You can also learn about the Parks and Recreation Authority and how to contact us.
A portion of PARTF is the primary funding source for the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Program. The program, administered by the Division of Coastal Management (DCM), offers matching grants to local governments throughout North Carolina's twenty coastal counties. To learn more about this program, go to the Division of Coastal Management website.
Establishing the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust
The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) is a method of financing parks and recreation that now has a proven track record—and solid public support—in North Carolina; but, obviously at the beginning, it took some convincing…
1993 - Growing Momentum: Passage of the State Park Bond Referendum
A legislative study commission reviews the status of the state parks system in North Carolina and makes recommendations to increase funding to address needs that have been identified.
A first-ever bond referendum for parks was somewhat of a last-minute add-on to referendums capital improvement for the UNC university system, community colleges and water/sewer. Senator J.K. Sherron, a co-chair of the legislative study commission helped add funding for parks to the referendum. Supporters had little time to prepare and almost no money to put toward public education.
But at the ballot box, it outperformed the other initiatives (56% “yes” vote). A concerted statewide effort to build public support that included park advisory committee members from individual state parks and a wide range of conservation interests. The bond referendum provided $35 million to purchase land and build visitor facilities in the state parks system.
1994 - Parks and Recreation Trust Fund created
Riding that wave of public support, the idea of a dedicated trust fund gained new momentum with Senate Bill 733 in 1994. It was supported by then-governor Jim Hunt and had passed the Senate in 1992 and 1993 as well.
Similar models had been used in other states. The most successful was a dedicated fund in Florida supported by an excise tax. There was opposition in the NC House of Representatives, primarily on a philosophical basis. Opponents felt it wrong to use a dedicated funding source to sidestep the appropriations process for state parks land and facilities.
Supporters of the trust fund came from across the ideological spectrum: NC Citizens for Business and Industry, the Conservation Council, the NC Homebuilders Association, The Nature Conservancy, the Association of County Commissioners, the League of Municipalities, the Sierra Club and the NC Recreation and Parks Society.
The group of supporters hosted a legislative reception and lobby day promote Senate Bill 733 with almost 200 people attending. In addition, the effort gained momentum when Representative Lyons Gray sponsored and supported the bill's passage in the House.
A version of the bill without the dedicated funding source was signed into law in 1994 with bi-partisan support. It created the fund, but allocated $1 million to be shared by state and local parks in the first year, Fiscal Year 1995.
It stated the legislature's “intention” to dedicate 75 percent of the deed tax to the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) in the next legislative session (with the remaining 25 percent to be dedicated to the older Natural Heritage Trust Fund).
1995 - Dedicated Funding Source established and the Parks and Recreation Authority was created to allocate funds from PARTF
In 1991, General Assembly doubled the excise tax on real estate transfers from $1 to $2 per $1,000 valuation to cover a budget shortfall. The additional revenue was allocated to the state of North Carolina. Beginning in 1996, 75 percent of the new revenue was dedicated to PARTF.
The Parks and Recreation Authority was established to distribute the revenues that would begin to flow in 1996. The board consists of nine members appointed by the governor, the Senate president pro tem and the House speaker.
The money from the Parks and Recreation Trust is to be allocated as follows:
1996 - 1997 Parks and Recreation Authority and Dedicated Funding source begins
On July 1, 1996, revenue from the excise tax on real estate transfers began to be deposited in the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.
The charter members of the Parks and Recreation Authority are appointed and hold their first meeting in October, 1996.
The first local grant recipients were selected by the Authority members in May and July, 1997.
The first Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Annual Report was submitted to the Governor and General Assembly listing the projects approved by the Parks and Recreation Authority using PARTF revenues. The report is due each year in October.
Everyone involved learned a lot during that 3-year span when all of this came together.
Some of those lessons:
Benefits Beyond Money
The citizens of North Carolina and their visitors have certainly enjoyed new amenities
made possible by a dedicated funding source. There are important benefits they don't see:
The trust fund is allocated three ways:
Responsibilities of the Authority: The 15-member Parks and Recreation Authority, meeting quarterly, makes decisions on how money from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund is allocated. The authority is comprised of five members, including the chairperson, appointed by the Governor; five members appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and five members appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House.
Members are appointed for three-year terms and may serve no more than two consecutive three-year terms. After serving two consecutive three-year terms, a member is not eligible for appointment to the Authority for at least one year after the expiration of the member's last term.
The authority is charged with six powers and duties to:
New Hanover County
|Edward W. Wood
N.C. Division of Parks & Recreation • 1615 MSC • Raleigh N.C. 27699-1615