Nearly two hundred projects across the commonwealth are receiving a combined $26.5 million in grants intended to enhance existing and create new recreational opportunities as well as conserve natural resources.
"The grants will support a variety of proposals including things like 49 trail projects, protecting more than 3,000 acres of open space," said Chris Novak, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). "We’ve got 79 projects to develop or rehabilitate recreation park and conservation areas and facilities. We do have some funds that assist with snowmobile and ATV trails."
Novak said the trails, parks and other amenities make the communities, places where people want to live and work.
"They provide opportunities for entertainment, for recreation, for tourism in areas that are close to home. "Many of the projects that are being funded, which include improvements to local parks, trails, and river access, require less driving and expense for people who live here to experience."
Novak said that applicants must arrange for matching funds to be eligible for a state grant. She said the $26.5 million in state awards leveraged another $43.2 million in local, county and private investments.
"Some of the other things that we encourage are that the project fits into a larger plan for either greenway or river access," Novak said. "We do encourage through our grants, sustainable practices – such as storm water management, native plantings, efficient lighting, all of those types of things."
The money for the state grants comes from the Keystone Fund, which is generated from a portion of the Realty Transfer Tax, as well as the Environmental Stewardship Fund and the ATV/Snowmobile Fund which comes from fees for licenses. There are also some federal monies in the mix.
Granted projects in the Pittsburgh area include:
- $300,000 for the development of a Sports and Athletics Complex in Coraopolis Borough, Moon and Robinson townships to include the construction of a multi-purpose field with ADA access
- $420,000 for the acquisition of approximately 140 acres located along North Montour Road in Richland Township for passive recreation and headwaters protection
- $40,000 for the rehabilitation of McLean Park in Cheswick to include the construction of a basketball court; installation of play equipment and ADA access
- $149,000 for the rehabilitation and further development of Hilltop Park in Collier Township to include the construction of a pavilion, parking lot, ADA access, and landscaping
- $54,000 for the rehabilitation of Koenig Park in Edgewood Borough to include the installation of a playground with required safety surfacing and ADA access
- $100,000 for the development of Beedle Park in Jefferson Hills Borough to include the construction of a soccer field, access road, parking and ADA access
- $133,000 for further development of the Emerald View Park trail system in Pittsburgh to include the construction of approximately 1 mile of trail in Emerald View Park above the southern entrance/exit of the Fort Pitt Tunnel
- $425,000 toward the acquisition of approximately 66 acres located along Mayview Road in South Fayette Township for active and passive recreation, stream protection and open space