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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering what you guys down here would want in a park in the Houston area? Remember it is flat, but terrain can be added with the proper equipment.

I was thinking in the neighborhood of like the 4Wheel & Offroad Ultimate Truck Challenge course.

I need your ideas!!! I know what I want, but what I want and what makes money is usually two different things.
 

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hmmm lotsa rock gardens! a mud pit and a bunch of trails
 

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Yeah skinny trails!!!! ( so Trey won't scare all the trees away) and a couple levels of climbs. from training to Damn did you see what I did???? tssl jamminzz
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great input so far! Thanks. I have been talking with a rep from TMTC and it looks like I will need approximately 1000+ acres to make this deal feasible and a come back attraction. I am either going to have to get grants or something I do not know yet. I do not have $100,000 just sitting around.(That would be my part if I was to purchase land and get a loan, ie SBA of some kind. They like at least 10% equity invested.)

I have access to some heavy earth moving equipment, but would need to find some rocks, and of course a good chunk of land that could be worked with. Simulated trails is going to be difficult, unless they are already built in to the scape.

If anybody has any specific ideas, or features of other parks that you like or dislike, PLEASE let me know.

Also what would you be willing to pay to get in and on what basis...per person, per driver, per rig, per membership, a combo of the above......

Again I have answers to these questions, but I would rather build a park for what others want, and not what I want. It makes success that much easier......
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Let me qualify some of what I just said.....

In my book hard/difficult do not mean impossible.....

Simulated trails are doable, with time of course......
 

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I think that the state has funds set aside as part of SB155, but I'm not sure how to go about getting at them. I've suggested to a friend who operates several sand and clay pits about developing those for off-road use. I think those areas could be had pretty cheap and would offer some of the elevation changes for hill climbing. Just something to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Trey I will ask TMTC about that!



I think I am going to change my screenname to Super Burban
 

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trey aka superbronco said:
I think that the state has funds set aside as part of SB155, but I'm not sure how to go about getting at them. I've suggested to a friend who operates several sand and clay pits about developing those for off-road use. I think those areas could be had pretty cheap and would offer some of the elevation changes for hill climbing. Just something to think about.
SB155 does NOT provide any funding. It only says that the state will work to provide alternative riding areas to the banned river access areas. So far, they haven't really done much other than ask TMTC to do something. (Really convenient considering that TMTC has been in a bind trying to find property that A) fits riding requirements on land that is affordable and B) fits state requirements for funding reimbursment.) This year is the last year that TMTC has land acquisition grant money still available before the grant has to be reapplied. Also, the state has been feeling some major pressure to fulfill its SB155 promise. TMTC is moving forward on a land purchase goal in the hopes that the state will relent to the pressure and release its funding on an otherwise unobtainable land purchase.

TMTC receives much of its funding through reimbursment by way of the federal RTF program. However, the federal funds are provided to the states and each state is required to provide an admin to oversee the funding of projects. In Texas, the funding is administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

Only recently, has TP&W agreed to allow reimbursement to private parks for projects. Up until now, it had only been allowing funding to government projects and non-profit organizations like TMTC. With that being said, they are still being very picky about which private organizations receive reimbursement.

Also, have you noticed the key word "reimbursement" everywhere in my post? You have to be careful in what you do business-wise because the state operates in a REIMBURSEMENT mode. You have to find and provide 100% of the money FIRST before the state considers to give some back (max reimbursement is 80% by the way). (This has been a very big hinderance for TMTC to purchase new property. We're banking on the pressure to the state provided by their own SB155 right now.)

I will let you know that there has been some legislation come up recently that may put a lot of money in the bank for us offroaders. There is talk of a permit program, where if you want to ride offroad then you buy an annual permit. New ATV and dirt bike sales would have this permit price built into it just like tags and registartion now. These funds go into an account strickly for offroading parks and projects. It would be similar to California's permit program.

Stacy
 

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Thanks for the clarification Stacy, I knew the state had some provisions, but wasn't sure how it was set up. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well I just need to find an investment banker that would like to invest in my proposal in return for some equity in the business. Then I can go and get a small business loan after proving that I do have a business that equity invested.

Or eveyone I know could pitch in 10,000 and we would almost be there.....
 

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I would gladly volunteer to help with legwork on a project like this.

On the subject of money, don't overlook corporate sponsorships. Seems like Superlift sponsored an off-road park in Arkansas. Among those sponsors, consider also sponsors beyond strictly off-road aftermarket people. Many dealers, like Jeep and GMC (Hummer), it seems would or should be willing to have some level of sponsorship to enhance their off-road marketing and have a local 'proving-ground'.

Also, consider speaking with some of the competition groups (UROC, Calrocs, whatever) about design input and agreements about hosting something.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Those are some great ideas X! Thanks.
 

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xanthias said:
I would gladly volunteer to help with legwork on a project like this.

On the subject of money, don't overlook corporate sponsorships. Seems like Superlift sponsored an off-road park in Arkansas. Among those sponsors, consider also sponsors beyond strictly off-road aftermarket people. Many dealers, like Jeep and GMC (Hummer), it seems would or should be willing to have some level of sponsorship to enhance their off-road marketing and have a local 'proving-ground'.

Also, consider speaking with some of the competition groups (UROC, Calrocs, whatever) about design input and agreements about hosting something.
Keep in mind when looking for corporate sponsors that most will not be interested in sponsoring a "for-profit" company. Most of these companies woudl however throw plenty of money into a 501c(3) non-profit corporation.

In the case of Superlift, Superlift does NOT sponsor an offroad park in Arkansas. Superlift OWNS an offroad park in Arkansas. They actually bought it secondarily, though. The area that the park resides on was one in which many people had been using for many years as an OHV area. When the locals were notified that the area was to be closed off limits (I believe for fear of liability lawsuits, but not 100% sure), then there were a group of 12 individuals that pooled their money and resources in order to buy the land and keep it open.

I believe that after purchasing it, they quickly realized that they weren't sure how to proceed to run it as a park. They approached a lot of people for help until Superlift finally saw the potential and started buying each of the owners out to turn it into a park. I believe that Superlift owns the entire park now, but there may still be a couple of holdouts from those original 12 buyers.

TMTC and their park, BMRA in Gilmer, TX, was used as the model to build a very nice park in Hot Springs.

Stacy
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So I should form a not for profit to get money....how expensive is that?
 

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Check out General Sam's 4x4 park. It is in Huntsville. You can see a map and some pics online at www.generalsams.com

It is a 4x4 park that is still in it's infancy. It has a lot of great land and more trails being developed every day. The owner is dozing new trails and ATVs/4x4 trucks are helping make the rest.

Some of the things you need to keep in mind IMO are the "extras". Land and trails are awesome...but to become a premier off-road park you'll want:
1. RV hook-ups
2. running water
3. bathroom facililities (maybe even shower facilities)
4. tent camping section

These are the basic amenities that help put a 4x4 park one step above the next place. General Sam's is in the process of installing all this stuff and you can expect it to be a premier 4x4 park in a few years as it groes in popularity.

I think there is also some GREAT land on Green's Bayou with awesome elevation changes, vally's, mud, trails, etc... I don't know what (if any) of it is for sale, but there are THOUSANDS of acres of land there. We ride 4x4 ATVs on a 3500 acre plot out at Tidwell right on Green's Bayou...it's awesome. If someone developed some trails for 4x4 trucks out there...it would be the best place in Houston!!
 

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54inches said:
So I should form a not for profit to get money....how expensive is that?
Ok, keep in mind that just because it's on the Internet doesn't make it gospel, but here is some info to get you pointed in the right direction:

How to incorporate a non-profit in Texas:
http://www.incparadise.com/incorporation/texas/tx-nonprofit-corporations.htm

Incorporating in Texas generally:
http://www.incparadise.com/incorporation/texas.htm

Texas Secretary of State's Office Corporations Section:
http://www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/index.shtml

Texas non-profit corporation act:
http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/CV/content/htm/cv.032.00.000009.00.htm

Forms and Summaries needed to do a non-profit:
http://www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/nonprofit.shtml

TX Secretary of State's FAQ on forming a Non-profit
http://www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/nonprofitfaqs.shtml

IRS Tax Information for Non-profits:
http://www.irs.gov/charities/index.html

I would also suggest you try to interface with the folks at the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition. I'm sure they could be a big help and, who knows, a little cooperation might go a long way because those guys have definitely run the traps on getting grants and other government funding through the State
 

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Also, more thoughts:

Houston is crying out for more club activity...I think Southern High Rollers is out of Houston and several of us here on the board loosely want to start getting together regularly. These folks can provide a lot a labor and design input for you once you acquire property. I think club participation is crucial to long-term commercial success, as well, since they will draw people to your venue through word of mouth if it is a good property and it is well-run.

Don't forget to reach out to the more casual 4x4 crowd, as well. One example of some very fine folks in Houston that fits that description is Houston Area Powerstrokes. Many are like me, and polish on their superduties way too much to tear them up, but there are some wild-eyed types like MudGod too!! HAPS is a well-populated and organized outfit...
 

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There are some local performance and 4x4 outfits, as well. We all know about 4WP, but in addition to them, there is B&C Off Road and Woodlands Performance Suspension. Diesel Innovations crosses over, they are a performance diesel shop that does both 4x4 and street rig mods. Seems like there is another 4x4 outfit down in Pasadena I'm forgetting.
 

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