Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today announced an investment of $45 million for 261 projects across Pennsylvania that will create new recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources and help revitalize local communities.
"The health and vitality of our communities is reflected in the quality of parks and trails, access to rivers, open spaces and outdoor recreation opportunities," Dunn said at an event today at Long's Park in Lancaster. "These grants will fund more than 260 projects throughout Pennsylvania to help protect and enhance our natural amenities."
Lancaster is receiving a $184,000 grant for the renovation of the Kids Place Playground at the 80-acre park to address safety, maintenance, accessibility and drainage concerns.
"This grant investment in the City of Lancaster is a great example of something we heard loud and clear from Pennsylvanians as we did research for our statewide outdour recreation plan – they want us to fix up existing local parks first, so that members can have a safe place to get outdoors and be active," Dunn said.
The secretary also applauded the installation of a rain garden and infiltration beds – commonly called green infrastructure – to address stormwater problems that have been impacting the play area and have caused flooding in the nearby restroom.
Dunn was joined today at the event by Lancaster Mayor J. Richard Gray, and other state and local officials.
"Families from across Lancaster County visit Long's Park for recreation and entertainment," Gray said. "This support from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will help provide much-needed and long-overdue improvements to the park's play area for children and, at the same time, use green infrastructure to manage storm water runoff in this area of the park."
The grants are administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnerships Program. Funding comes from the Keystone Fund, which is generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax; the Environmental Stewardship Fund; the ATV/Snowmobile Fund generated through fees for licenses; and federal monies.
"Many of the projects being funded – improvements to local parks, trails and river access – bring these amenities closer to home, requiring less driving and expense to experience," Dunn said. "This $45 million investment will leverage more than $100 million in local, county and private investments, giving every state dollar more power for the public good."
Investments are being made in a variety of proposals, including: 38 trail projects; protecting nearly 9,000 acres of open space; 14 projects for rivers conservation; and 126 projects to develop or rehabilitate recreation, park and conservation areas and facilities.
Projects are funded throughout Pennsylvania, including:
- Rehabilitation of a splash pad and addition of pickleball courts in Lindberg Park, Salisbury Township, Lehigh County;
- Development of the Loyalhanna Trail in Westmoreland County to connect Keystone State Park to New Alexandria Borough;
- Payment toward the acquisition of about 982 acres in Chester County adjacent to White Clay Creek Preserve;
- Purchase of equipment to construct and maintain motocross track and trails at Breezewood Proving Ground in Bedford County;
- Development of the Wintergreen Gorge Trail in Harborcreek Township, Erie County;
- Installation of a demonstration mussel hatchery at Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia;
- Fourteen projects to implement the SCORP recommendations including eight nature play areas, four brownfields to playfields, and two health-related projects; and
- About $100,000 in grant funds to implement a structured community planning effort that will lead to the development and/or rehabilitation of 10 small community (pop. 2,500 or less) parks.
Additionally, more than $2.25 million is being provided to Heritage Areas for projects including advancing river and trail towns, closing gaps in Pennsylvanian's destination trails, developing heritage tourism initiatives, improving educational and interpretative signage and planning and marketing heritage tourism events.