Wednesday, June 6, 2018

William Penn Foundation Awards $10.6M For The Circuit Trails In Southeast PA

The William Penn Foundation Wednesday announced grants totaling $10.6 million in support of a project to build multi-use trails in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The grants will help close gaps in and accelerate completion of the Circuit Trails, a regional network of interconnected trails totaling 800 miles-- 2,329 of which have been built--  that provides opportunities for recreation, exercise, and travel, as well as access to miles of rivers and streams.
“The Circuit Trails bring enormous value to communities across the region. They foster critical connections between communities, and bring people closer to our rivers and streams. We are proud to collaborate with other key organizations in the work of completing the full system of trails,” said Andrew Johnson, Program Director of Watershed Protection at the William Penn Foundation.
The grants include $6.6 million in capital funding to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to provide technical assistance and administer a competitive re-granting fund in support of the planning, design, and construction of new trails.
Other Circuit Trails Coalition organizations receiving grants for supporting work, including planning, communications, and programming, include:
-- Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to develop campaigns and programs to increase the visibility and advance completion of the trails.
-- Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art to plan and develop new Circuit Trails in the Brandywine Creek valley.
-- Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor to analyze potential new public access points to the Delaware Canal Trail, a portion of The Circuit Trails network.
-- Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to market and promote The Circuit Trails in order to increase trail use and build support for more public funding.
-- Heritage Conservancy for outreach and programming in Bristol, Pa., and along the Delaware Canal in Bucks County to connect gaps in and increase use of The Circuit Trails.
-- Schuylkill River Development Corporation to complete the final design for the Christian to Crescent segment of the Schuylkill River Trail, a key segment of the Circuit Trails.
-- D&R Greenway Land Trust to advance The Circuit in Burlington and Mercer Counties, New Jersey.
"With more than half of the total project left to complete, we have established an interim goal of reaching 500 trail miles by the year 2025," said Sarah Clark Stuart, chair of the Circuit Trails Coalition and executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. "The foundation's funding is so critical to helping the coalition achieve this ambitious goal, as every mile of multi-use trail requires a significant level of investment for planning, feasibility study, design, and construction as well as communication, advocacy, and organizing."
The Circuit Trails is one of the largest trail networks in the United States. Once complete, this system will serve as a powerful connector between communities and their local parks and waterways within the Delaware River watershed.
Years of hard work by more than 60 Coalition partners has generated local momentum and attracted additional funding sources for the trails.
In March, The Circuit Trails celebrated a significant success when U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced the federal government approved a $12 million TIGER grant for the Christian to Crescent segment of the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia, a key trail within the Circuit.
For more information on trails in the Southeast, visit the Circuit Trails website. To explore trails across Pennsylvania, visit the Explore PA Trails website.
(Photo: Brandywine Trail, Schuylkill River Trail.)
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