By Evan Brandt, The Mercury
The greater Pottstown region captured nearly 8 percent of the $28 million in statewide grants announced last week by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The big winner was North Coventry Township, which was awarded three grants adding up to $527,500.
When combined with the $1 million awarded to the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust for the preservation of 104 acres of Warwick Furnace Farm, grants in this part of northern Chester County added up to $1.6 million.
The Chester County towns of North Coventry and East Coventry will also benefit from a $60,000 grant awarded to the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee to prepare a trail study for about a 4.5-mile trail network that also includes Douglass (Mont.), Douglass (Berks), New Hanover, Upper Pottsgrove, West Pottsgrove Lower Pottsgrove and Pottstown Borough.
“Our communities thrive economically when people want to stay and businesses want to grow and these beautiful public spaces and new recreational areas help improve the quality of life across our commonwealth,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a prepared statement accompanying the list of grant awards.
In all, this round of grants provided $28 million to 176 projects across the state and 14 of those projects are in the greater Pottstown area.
Berks County received a total of six grants, three in the Pottstown area.
Chester County received nine total grants, three of which go to North Coventry and five of which are in the Pottstown area.
Montgomery County received a total of 13 grants, six of which are located in the Pottstown area.
“Whether in Allegheny or Montgomery County, local parks are as diverse as the populations they serve,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, who visited Pottstown in June to announce the state-wide recreation plan.
“But they face similar challenges — limited funding, aging infrastructure, maintenance needs and reduced capacity to carry out programs and services, said Dunn. “These funds offer a helping hand to achieve projects countless studies show community residents want.”
• Birdsboro Borough — $72,000 for further development of Gateway to the Hopewell Big Woods Rustic Park, including a pedestrian footbridge and walkway.
• Robeson Township — $35,000 to Natural Lands Trust toward acquisition of 1.9 acres for critical habitat preservation and expansion of Green Hills Preserve.
• Robeson Township — $103,000 to Natural Lands Trust toward acquisition of 34 acres for open space, critical habitat and expansion of Green Hills Preserve.
• East Pikeland Township — $88,250 for further development of Kimberton Park, including construction of an amphitheater, parking area, rain garden and pedestrian walkway.
• Warwick Township — $1 million to French and Pickering Creeks Preservation Trust for acquisition of 104 acres along South Branch of French Creek for habitat preservation and passive recreation.
• North Coventry Township — $232,000 for acquisition of 26 acres along French Creek State Park and Cold Spring Road for park expansion and passive recreation.
• North Coventry Township — $203,000 for development of Hanover Meadows Park, including driveway and parking construction, stormwater management and pedestrian walkways and ADA access.
• North Coventry Township — $92,500 toward acquisition of 1.7 acres adjacent to Keilworth Park for park expansion and connection to the Schuylkill River Trail.
• Montgomery County — $45,000 to prepare multi-regional greenway implementation and stewardship plans for Central Perkiomen Valley, Upper Perkiomen Valley, Indian Valley and Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning agencies.
• Lower Pottsgrove Township — $160,000 to Montgomery County for further development of the Schuylkill River Trail in Lower Pottsgrove to include construction of .6 miles of trail from the Pottstown Borough line to the Route 422 bridge over the Schuylkill River.
• Schwenksville Borough — $250,000 for further development of Meadow Park, including boat launch, pedestrian paths, parking, driveway, lighting and stormwater management.
• Upper Frederick Township — $40,000 for development of Speelhoffer Park for construction of dog park, parking, pedestrian walkways, fencing and gates.
• $60,000 planning grant to the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee to prepare a trails study for 4.5-mile trail network in Douglass (Berks), Douglass (Mont.), Lower Pottsgrove, Upper Pottsgrove, West Pottsgrove, New Hanover, Pottstown, East Coventry and North Coventry.