GALVESTON, Texas (Dec. 14, 2015) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District’s Real Estate Division launched an updated real estate application earlier this month that outlines the process required to use federally-controlled property located within the USACE Galveston District.
“Applicants were faced with the daunting task of navigating through an unfamiliar process to request the use of federal lands,” said Jody Rowe, the Technical Services Branch Chief for the USACE Galveston District Real Estate Division. “We understand that this will always be a complex process but we’re working to clarify the process so that applicants are in the best position to have their applications evaluated.”
According to Rowe, nearly 300 active requests to use a portion of the 283,000 acres of federally-controlled land overseen by the district are managed each year, which range from licenses for temporary uses to requests for easements to build on federal land.
“Staff identified areas in the Real Estate Outgrant Program that if better understood by the applicant in advance, could potentially save applicants’ time and taxpayers’ tens of thousands of dollars annually,” said Rowe. “Taking into consideration that there are a multitude of variables that need to be evaluated with each request, we redesigned the application to include information that guides applicants through the process step by step.”
Even with these changes, Rowe adds that there is still more that needs to be done to familiarize applicants with the Real Estate Outgrant Program – a program to authorize the use federal property managed by the USACE Galveston District and establish the timeframe, consideration, conditions and restrictions of its use by way of an outgrant instrument, such as a lease, easement or a license.
“We recognize that applicants can feel overwhelmed by this process and we are planning a series of virtual training webinars in 2016 to help answer additional questions,” said Rowe. “Real estate, regulatory and navigation staff will be on hand to offer a Pipeline Webinar in March 2016 and a Navigation Construction Webinar in June 2016.”
In addition to the webinars, Rowe notes that staff will be working to launch an e-newsletter and instructional videos to address frequently asked questions. Additionally, she suggests that applicants call the Real Estate Division at 409-766-3800, email staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. mil or visit the Real Estate Division webpage at http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/BusinessWithUs/RealEstateDivision.aspx.
The USACE Galveston District was established in 1880 as the first engineer district in Texas to oversee river and harbor improvements. The district is directly responsible for maintaining more than 1,000 miles of channel, including 270 miles of deep draft and 750 miles of shallow draft as well as the Colorado River Locks and Brazos River Floodgates.
For news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.