HARRISBURG — East Buffalo Township and Lewisburg, Union County and Tremont Borough, Schuylkill County are among the underserved or distressed communities across the Commonwealwealweal that will collectively receive $19.4 million in recovery improvement grants.
East Buffalo Township will receive $685,700 to acquire 79 acres for a new community park and Lewisburg will receive $361,000 to develop Piers Art Park with work that includes construction of an outdoor stage, parking lot and pedestrian walkways.
Tremont Borough was awarded $276,000 to install playground equipment, a gazebo, and stormwater controls at a park.
Nationwide, the Schuylkill River Greenway Association will receive $300,000 to prepare an update to the Five Year Strategic Plan, conduct a feasibility study for the 1-mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail between the Buttonwood Bridge and Schuylkill Avenue, and design and build one Boat launch along the Schuylkill River in Schuylkill Haven.
The grants are funded from multiple sources, the largest being money from the American Rescue Plan Act, which is allocated in the 2022-23 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Recreation and Conservation Budget.
“These federal dollars allowed DCNR to reduce the grant it needed, allowing small and distressed communities to apply for the aid needed to revitalize their counties and cities. Our regional advisors went out of their way to help,” said Cindy Adams Dunn, Secretary for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
According to DCNR, the special fall grant round focused on helping underserved communities and supporting an increased focus on the outdoor recreation sector, filling gaps on trails, and planting trees along streams and in communities.
“Investments in maintaining and expanding our recreation areas improve the quality of life for the people who live there and also helps support the network of businesses related to outdoor recreation and natural places that have a major impact on the state, community and rural areas have economies,” said Nathan Reigner, director of Outdoor Recreation in Pennsylvania.
Outdoor recovery adds $14 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy, according to the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. This activity creates 150,000 full-time jobs that bring in $6.8 billion in wages for Pennsylvanians.
According to DCNR, local parks are as diverse as the populations they serve, but they all face similar challenges — access, connectivity, maintenance, staffing and funding.
Applicants were encouraged to submit projects that advance their vision of local recreation and conservation and implement priorities of the state’s outdoor recreation plan, such as: B. building playgrounds, developing internal circuits and improving access for people of all abilities and backgrounds.
The grants are managed by the DCNR Community Conservation Partnerships Program. The 2023 funding round begins on Tuesday and ends in April.