WEST CHESTER, PA − September 6, 2022 – Six projects to improve outdoor recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources, and help revitalize local communities in Chester County will receive more than $2.8 million in funding, state Senator Carolyn Comitta said today.

“Preserving open space, protecting our natural resources, and expanding recreational opportunities adds to the healthy and vibrant quality of life that continues to attract residents, families, and businesses to the Chester County region,” Comitta, who serves as Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said. “These historic investments will continue to pay dividends in ensuring strong environmental health, public health, and economic opportunity.”

The projects, located in the 19th Senatorial District, will receive grant funding administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2).

They are as follows:

  • $1.5 million for Penn Township for the further development of Penn Sports Park, including the construction of pedestrian walkways, a gazebo and pavilion, batting cages, ballfields and multi-purpose fields, utility and park maintenance buildings, a parking area, stormwater management measures, ADA access, landscaping, and project signage, as well as the installation of bleachers, lighting and other utilities.
  • $163,400 for the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance to support the acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately 30 acres in London Britain Township for woodland protection and connectivity to the White Clay Creek Preserve.
  • $116,000 for the Chester-Ridley-Crum Watersheds Association for the construction of approximately 100 acres of riparian forest buffers along waterways in the Delaware River Watershed, Chester and Delaware counties. Work will include landowner outreach and engagement, buffer plantings and post-planting establishment, and project signage and other related site improvements.
  • $600,000 for West Whiteland Township for further development of Exton Park, including the construction of pedestrian walkways, pavilions and an amphitheater, a comfort station, stormwater management measures, ADA access, landscaping, project signage, and other related utility and site improvements.
  • $375,000 for the Willistown Conservation Trust to support the acquisition of approximately 6 acres for an addition to the Kirkwood Preserve.
  • $98,600 for the Willistown Conservation Trust for the rehabilitation and further development of approximately 0.5 acres of Rushton Woods Preserve. Work will include the construction of pedestrian walkways and the installation of stormwater management measures, riparian forest buffers, landscaping, project signage, and other related site improvements.

“I’m pleased to see these investments in our open spaces and environment,” said state Rep. Christina Sappey. “By preserving land and installing green infrastructure, such as riparian buffers, we are expanding natural habitats while further protecting our waterways.”

The Chester County projects come as part of $90 million in funding awarded to more than 330 projects statewide, including:

  • 43 trail projects; protecting nearly 7,207 acres of open space.
  • 20 projects for river conservation.
  • Planting 214 acres of streamside forest buffers including 47 that are multifunctional with the possibility of producing a harvestable profit for the landowner.
  • 141 projects to develop or rehabilitate recreation, park, and conservation areas and facilities.

In total, they represent the largest single investment in Pennsylvania recreation and conservation in agency history, surpassing the previous record of $70 million in 2021.

“The health and vitality of our communities is reflected in the quality of parks and trails, access to rivers, open spaces and outdoor recreation opportunities,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “This grant round is historic, as it is the largest amount we ever issued to help protect and enhance our natural amenities throughout Pennsylvania.”

The C2PR grant program is funded by a variety of state and federal funding sources. The Chester County projects were funded through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and support made available to DCNR through the state fiscal year 22-23 budget as the State Parks and Outdoor Recreation Program.

“Pennsylvania encompasses some of the most beautiful natural areas in the nation,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “By investing in the upkeep and expansion of our recreational areas, we are not only improving the quality of life for citizens. We are also making Pennsylvania an even better destination for visitors who will contribute to the economic health of communities all across the commonwealth.”

Wolf also announced an unprecedented additional 2022 fall grant round, which was made possible in part from appropriated funds in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s 2022-23 budget. That same support also secured funding for the creation of three new state parks to be announced this fall.

“This special fall grant round was made possible thanks to the bipartisan investment in conservation and outdoor recreation we secured in the recent commonwealth budget,” Gov. Wolf said. “These additional funds will help us support even more local park, trail, water quality, and landscape projects across Pennsylvania.”

The C2P2 special fall grant opportunity will highlight helping underserved communities, closing trail gaps, supporting an invigorated focus on the outdoor recreation sector, and planting trees along streams and in communities. The deadline to submit applications for the fall grant round is Oct. 27.

For the supplemental fall grant round, there is a lower match requirement for municipalities with populations under 5,000 people. For these communities, the match is only 20% of the grant amount with no cap on project size. This lower match requirement makes the fall funding round an ideal opportunity for smaller municipalities to apply for grants.

The special fall funding round is also an ideal time to apply for tree planting, lawn conversion, and streamside buffer grants. The round includes more than $8 million in Keystone Tree Fund money and other funds to support watershed and community forestry practices.

For more information on the fall grant round or to apply, visit the DCNR Grants Customer Service Portal.