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PA to invest millions in recreation, conservation and community projects

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Governor Tom Corbett announced last week that Pennsylvanians will benefit from new recreational opportunities, expanded protection of natural resources and locally driven community projects as a result of more than $38 million in new grants to be distributed across the state.

The Community Conservation Partnership Program grants will support 201 conservation and recreation projects in 62 counties. The grants will fund a variety of proposals, including 36 trail projects; protecting 2,718 acres of open space; 77 community parks; five river conservation projects; and 35 projects for regional and statewide heritage area, park, greenway and trail initiatives.

“Pennsylvania’s parks and trails; natural areas; and many opportunities to be active outdoors, on land and on our great rivers and streams, define our communities and make them places where people want to live, work and play,” Corbett said. “These grants will help our local partners including municipalities, counties, land trusts and conservancies to meet the vision they have for their communities and regions.”

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnerships Program combines several funding sources into one grant program.

Funding comes from the Keystone Fund, established in 1993, 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 funds.

More than $3.1 million of the total investment is being provided to Heritage Areas for projects and programs including: conducting an economic impact study on the Heritage Areas program; further development of the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, the D&L Trail and the Lackawanna River trail; water trail enhancements, river town assessments; scenic byways; and planning and marketing heritage tourism events.

Highlights of locally funded projects include:

Bucks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Schuylkill

Wildlands Conservancy, $30,000, use a strategic planning project to outline and prioritize necessary steps required to close priority trail gaps in the Lehigh Valley in Lehigh and Northampton Counties, work to include development of an acquisition strategy, mapping and a written report.

Carbon

Jim Thorpe, $365,000, further development of the Delaware & Lehigh Trail, work to include construction of approximately 0.9 miles of trail along the east bank of the Lehigh River from the future pedestrian trail bridge to Packerton Junction, retaining wall, ADA access, project sign, and other related site improvements.

Wildlife Information Center, $13,300, acquisition of approximately one acre along Vanman Road and adjacent to the Lehigh Gap Nature Center in East Penn Township for development of a trailhead that will service the trail system which connects the D & L National Heritage Corridor Trail and the Appalachian Trail.

Lehigh

Lehigh County, $30,000, to prepare a Master Site Development Plan for the 296-acre Jordan Creek Parkway in South Whitehall and Whitehall Townships, work to include a written report.

Lehigh County, $60,000, further development of the Cedar Creek Parkway East in Allentown, work to include construction of a pedestrian walkway and bridge, ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements.

Lower Macungie Township, $125,000, further development of the Lower Macungie Greenway Trails, work to include construction of approximately 0.5 miles of trail between Hamilton Boulevard and Morning Star Road, construction of approximately 0.4 miles of trail along Spring Creek Road, pedestrian bridge, storm water 12 management, ADA access, landscaping, signage, and other related site improvements.

Salisbury Township, $177,000, development of Lindberg Park, work to include construction of pedestrian walkway; ecological conservation features; installation of interpretive signage; ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements.

South Whitehall Township, $250,000, further development of the Jordan Creek Greenway, work to include the construction of approximately 0.7 miles of trail along the Jordan Creek from Covered Bridge Park to State Route 309, pedestrian bridge, boardwalks, fencing, rain gardens, native plantings, ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements.

Monroe

The Nature Conservancy, $306,700, acquisition of approximately 110 acres within the Tannersville Cranberry Bog, South of Bog Road, in Pocono Township for habitat and wetland bog protection.

Northampton

Bethlehem, $500,000, for further development of the South Bethlehem Greenway, work to include construction of approximately 0.2 miles of trail to connect the South Bethlehem Greenway to Saucon Park Ballfields, retaining wall, bio-swales, riparian buffer, access road, lighting, ADA access, signage, and other related site improvements.

Bethlehem Township, $203,000, rehabilitation and further development of Janet Johnston Housenick and William D. Housenick Memorial Park, work to include access and parking improvements; construction of a hiking trail and pedestrian walkway; ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements.

Bushkill Township, $74,600, development of Bushkill Township Recreation Complex, work to include construction of a fitness trail; installation of fitness equipment, interpretive and way finding signage, playground equipment with required safety surfacing; ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements.

Easton, $75,000, development of a trail extension, work to include construction of approximately 0.25 miles of trail from the intersection of Bushkill and Dietrich roads to the Karl Stirner Arts Trail, ADA access, landscaping, signage, and other related site improvements.

Hellertown, $124,000, rehabilitation and development of Water Street Park, work to include the construction of a basketball court, comfort station, pedestrian walkways, storm water management control measures; installation of fencing, ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements.

The Nature Conservancy, $181,000, acquisition of two parcels totaling approximately 59 acres within the Minsi Lake Corridor along Blue Mountain Drive, Upper Mount Bethel Township, for forest and stream protection and passive recreation.

Upper Mount Bethel Township, $119,000, further development of Community Park, work to include installation of playground equipment with required safety surfacing, pedestrian walkways, interpretive signage; ADA access, landscaping, project sign, and other related site improvements.

Also the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, $296,000, coordinate the Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape; provide technical services to complete key gaps on the D&L Trail; coordinate and fund the 2014 mini-grant program; manage the Trail Tenders, Trail Alliance, and Trail Patrol programs; complete conceptual designs and provide curatorial services for the National Canal Museum; coordinate and execute programming; coordinate Susquehanna Greenway River Town activities; implement enhancements to the Visually Speaking program, website, and other marketing tools; coordinate and fund Heritage Area initiatives; and provide technical services to partner organizations and communities; work to include a written summary report.

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