Tuesday, October 16, 2018

DCNR Keystone Fund, Federal Land & Water Conservation Grants Support Local Recreation, Parks Projects In 9 Counties

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources this week announced grants from the Keystone Fund to support local recreation projects in Butler, Clearfield, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Lycoming,  Susquehanna and York counties.
Butler County
A $180,500 grant from the Keystone Fund will help pay for improvements to Preston Park in Butler Township and develop a parcel located in the center of the township, to link natural resources to community revitalization and improve well-being for residents by increasing recreation opportunities.
The work at the park will include an improved entrance, walkways, water source and restroom, and stormwater controls.
“We are happy to assist Butler Township by investing in the development of Preston Park, which contains an arboretum, butterfly habitat, and connects to the history of innovation and research in the community,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.
The 88-acre Preston Park was previously the laboratory, nature retreat, and residence of Dr. Frank Preston and his wife Jane, both nature-oriented people.
Preston was born in England, and came to the U.S. in 1920 to work in the glass industry as a scientist and researcher. He was a key figure in the founding of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Clearfield County
An investment of $40,000 grant from the Keystone Fund will provide new playground equipment and accessible walkways and parking spaces to help improve well-being for residents in Graham Township by increasing recreation opportunities in Big Run Park in Morrisdale, Clearfield County.
The new playground equipment will be made from recycled materials.
Graham Township surveyed park users and the community and determined this number one priority was adding safe playground equipment at Big Run Park, located at 68 Park Avenue. The park is bordered on one side by Big Run Creek, and also includes a pavilion and comfort station.
Cumberland County
An investment of $192,000 will rehabilitate the 24-year-old wooden Fun Fort, to help improve well-being for residents by increasing recreation opportunities in Lower Allen Community Park in Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County.
The Fun Fort was partially damaged by arson, and a portion of it was replaced in 2012. Work supported by this grant will replace the remaining wooden elements with a new structure made of wood composite material; a seven-foot high bridge, climbing wall, zipline, slides, and swings; rubber surfacing for better accessibility; and more benches, trees, and fencing.
The renovation -- designed with public input -- seeks to have the same community spirit and uniqueness as the older Fun Fort, and be easier to maintain.
Lower Allen Community Park is 110-acres of rolling land at 4075 Lisburn Road. It’s used by the community and region as the location for meetings, family reunions, athletic games and tournaments, wedding and many special events.
Dauphin County
A $160,500 Keystone Fund grant will help fund needed improvement to Wildwood Park in Harrisburg, Dauphin County to link natural resources to community revitalization and improve well-being for residents by increasing recreation opportunities.
Wildwood Park has seen a 40 percent increase in visitation in recent years attributed to innovative programming. It contains a very popular 3-mile loop trail that is a part of the Capital Area Greenbelt. The park welcomes 115,000 visitors annually.
The project will include a permanent accessible restroom with green infrastructure, two hydration stations on the trail for people and pets, and trail improvements on a section of the path that is failing.
Interpretive signs will tell the story of how Wildwood Lake functions; how it provides critical habitat for wading birds; bird identification; and how to leave no trace when you enjoy the outdoors.
Lackawanna County
Two grants from the Keystone Fund will help fund two conservation and recreation projects in Lackawanna County.
A $294,000 grant to the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority will develop a new 1.07-mile section of the LRHT along the Lackawanna River in the City of Scranton on the former lands owned by the Marvine Colliery to close a critical gap.
The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, when completed, will connect to the Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail to form a 70-mile trail, stretching from the New York border to Pittston, and will connect to the 165-mile Delaware and Lehigh Trail.
The $99,000 to the Upper Valley YMCA will allow the grantee to begin work on a 3.5-acre currently undeveloped green space behind Nikki’s at the Ben-Mar Restaurant in Carbondale.
Site improvements will include creating a safe access to the new Greater Carbondale YMCA Community Park; a bridge over Racket Brook; picnic tables; a walking trail loop; and new lawn areas. The site is located near senior and low-income housing, bus routes, and the YMCA.
Lehigh County
DCNR announced a $230,000 Keystone Fund grant to help fund a mile-long section of the Jordan Creek Trail in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County. (photo)
Jordan Creek Trail is a proposed 14-mile multi-use trail to connect Allentown’s Jordan Heights Neighborhood to Trexler Nature Preserve along the Jordan Creek for the public to hike, bike, and experience nature. As of today, 3.5 miles are constructed and open to the public, with an additional 4 miles planned for construction in the next few years.
Partners on this new .9-mile segment include Whitehall Township, the Wildlands Conservancy, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which provided nearly $1.3 million in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds.
Lehigh County
DCNR provided a grant of $1 million for a pool rehabilitation project in Bethlehem, Lehigh County that will include reconstruction of the pool with zero-depth entry, water features, and an upgraded bathhouse.
The more than 60-year-old pool is the city’s largest and most popular pool. Located in the city’s largest park, it is accessible by all forms of transportation, as the site is connected to the Monocacy trail system. The pool was closed for the 2018 season because of the needed upgrades.
The investment is supported by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund which expired on September 30 and has not been reauthorized by Congress.
Lycoming County
A $300,000 Keystone Grant will help fund the expansion of the Loyalsock Community Recreation Center in Loyalsock Township, Lycoming County.
An investment of $300,000 will build a 4,000-square foot addition to the existing center to increase opportunities for after-school programming and for use by the Office of Aging, expanding recreation for all ages in the township.
The existing center is located at 1607 Four Mile Drive in Williamsport. The addition will allow the township recreation department to grow it’s After School Recreation Program, which is currently restricted due to limited space.  
In a partnership with the STEP Office of Aging, the expanded center also will become the Loyalsock Center for Healthy Aging, and provide recreational and educational classes to seniors, as well as lunch daily.
More than 40 percent of the of the township’s residents are over 60.
“We are happy to assist Loyalsock Township by investing in this expansion of the Loyalsock Community Recreation Center, which is a great partnership in the community to provide recreation programing for children after school, and for senior activities – tying recreation opportunities to local health and wellness initiatives," said DCNR Secretary Cinty Adams Dunn.
Susquehanna County
DCNR awarded a $450,000 Keystone Fund grant to construct a new trailhead with parking along the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail in Harmony Township, Susquehanna County.
The project will include the construction of 0.9-miles of trail from Stevens Point to Brandt. Additional site improvements will include ADA access, added parking, large landscape boulders to define the trailhead area and match quarry stone across the road, native tree plantings, and fencing to define the trail corridor.
The D&H Trail runs from the New York State border south for 38 miles, where it connects with the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. It is used by bikers, hikers, runners, equestrians, and snowmobilers. The trail was formerly a railroad loading area and storage site for quarry rock.
York County
A $200,000 Keystone Fund grant help support improvements to Memorial Park in the City of York, York County that includes stream bank stabilization and tree buffer plantings on the west bank of Poorhouse Run adjacent to the Park.
The improvements will help with stormwater and flood mitigation. The park is in the middle of a residential neighborhood that includes two school campuses.
Poorhouse Run is a tributary to the Codorus Creek, which flows into the Susquehanna River. The stormwater portion of the project will help with the restoration of the 124-acre Memorial Park, and showcase a future exercise trail.
The nearby York Catholic Middle/High School and Penn State York facilities both use the park for education and leisure that is incorporated into their curriculums.
Keystone Fund
The Keystone Fund is currently celebrating 25 years of supporting thousands of community improvements in Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, outdoor recreation generates $29.1 billion in consumer spending, $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue, $8.6 billion in wages and salaries, and sustains 251,000 direct Pennsylvania jobs.
DCNR Grant Workshops
To learn more about other available grant opportunities to support trail and recreation projects, attend one of the upcoming workshops on DCNR’s Community Conservation Grant Program.  Click Here for more.
A new grant round is opening soon.
For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
(Photo: Jordan Creek Trail in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County.)
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