Pittsburgh, Pa. −  October 9, 2020  − Senator Lindsey M. Williams and Representative Sara Innamorato announced today that the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has awarded $1,050,000 in grant funding through the 2020 Community Conservation Partnership Program (C2P2) Acquisitions Grant to projects within Senate District 38 and House District 21.

“For so many, the outdoors have been a place of refuge, peace, and calm during this pandemic,” said Senator Williams. “But we know that the physical and mental benefits that come from access to outdoor recreation are unmatched no matter what is going on in the rest of the world. I’m especially proud to have advocated for funding to these local projects that will ensure that our residents have access to a variety of free, accessible public spaces.”

Aspinwall Riverfront Park (ARP) received $750,000 for acquisition of approximately 6.16 acres in Aspinwall Borough to be added to the current park footprint. This acquisition is part of the ongoing Heritage Trails Project and will further efforts to connect Aspinwall and Sharpsburg with a safe biking/pedestrian trail and create more than 25 acres of park and trail space along the River. “As this year has shown, parks and public open space are critical to our community’s health and well-being,” said Susan Crookston, Founder and Executive Director of ARP. “We are absolutely thrilled by this major investment to expand public access to our beautiful Riverfront.  Recapturing this land for public use is a gift to our generation and many to come.”

“These public investments in conservation and greenspace in our communities are a welcome move to protect the health of not just our neighbors, but of future generations as well,” Innamorato said. “This year Pennsylvanians flocked to outdoor areas in record numbers, underlining the importance of these natural spaces in our lives. I have and will continue to support projects like these to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to, and can enjoy, the outdoors.”

Allegheny Land Trust received $300,000 for acquisition of the 155.59-acre Girty’s Woods property in Reserve Township and Millvale Borough. The preservation of Girty’s Woods will provide countless opportunities for natural outdoor activities in a suburban setting. Additionally, the conservation will greatly assist local municipalities with stormwater mitigation efforts, as the undeveloped land absorbs about 121 million gallons of rainwater per year, which prevents downstream flooding. “These woods have provided generations of plants, animals, and people with natural beauty, clean air, stormwater absorption and recreation,” said Brian Wolovich, Triboro Ecodistrict Director. “This grant from DCNR helps ensure our children and future generations will continue to live, breathe, and play in the shade of this lovely forest.”

In addition, over $1.7 million in C2P2 funding was awarded to the following organizations and municipalities throughout Senate District 38:

  • Allegheny County: $125,000 to acquire 21 acres in Hampton Township for addition to North Park;
  • Allegheny Land Trust: $44,000 to acquire 3 acres in Hampton Township;
  • Fox Chapel Borough: $442,500 to acquire 17 acres in Fox Chapel Borough for open space, water resource preservation, and passive recreation;
  • Fox Chapel Borough: $128,900 for McCahill Park improvements, including ballfield and multipurpose court renovation, trail construction, fencing and bleacher installation, and ADA accessibility;
  • Franklin Park Borough: $662,328 for Acorn Park development, including construction of pedestrian bridges and trails, a gazebo, stormwater management measures and installation of new playground equipment;
  • Pine Township: $57,500 for Community Park development, including a pedestrian trail and parking;
  • Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy: $127,000 to acquire 60 acres in East Deer and Frazer Townships for trail continuation;
  • Ross Township: $119,000 for restoration and streambank stabilization of a Little Pine Creek tributary in Sangree Park; and
  • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy: $36,000 to prepare a river conservation plan for Girty’s Run Watershed.

DCNR administers the Community Conservation Partnerships Program. These grants can be used to fund planning, acquisition, and development of public parks; recreation areas; motorized and non-motorized trails; river conservation and access; and conservation of open space. Additional information on the C2P2 grants can be found at https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Communities/Grants/Pages/default.aspx.