DCNR announces $45 million investment to improve recreation, community revitalization across PA

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LANCASTER, Pa. — Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary, Cindy Adams Dunn, announced an investment of $45 million that will go towards 261 projects across Pennsylvania that will create new recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources and help revitalize local communities.

“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,” Dunn said at an event today at Long’s Park in Lancaster. “These grants will fund more than 260 projects throughout Pennsylvania to help protect and enhance our natural amenities.”

From of that money Lancaster will receive a $184,000 grant for the renovation of the Kids Place Playground at the 80-acre park to address safety, maintenance, accessibility and drainage concerns.

“This grant investment in the City of Lancaster is a great example of something we heard loud and clear from Pennsylvanians as we did research for our statewide outdoor recreation plan. They want us to fix up existing local parks first, so that members can have a safe place to get outdoors and be active,” Dunn said.

Dunn also praised the installation of a rain garden and infiltration beds that will address storm-water problems that have been impacting the play area and have caused flooding in the nearby restroom.

Dunn was joined today at the event by Lancaster Mayor J. Richard Gray, and other state and local officials.

“Families from across Lancaster County visit Long’s Park for recreation and entertainment,” Gray said. “This support from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will help provide much-needed and long-overdue improvements to the park’s play area for children and, at the same time, use green infrastructure to manage storm water runoff in this area of the park.”

The grants are administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnerships Program. Funding comes from the Keystone Fund, which is generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax; the Environmental Stewardship Fund; the ATV/Snowmobile Fund generated through fees for licenses; and federal monies.

“Many of the projects being funded – improvements to local parks, trails and river access – bring these amenities closer to home, requiring less driving and expense to experience,” Dunn said. “This $45 million investment will leverage more than $100 million in local, county and private investments, giving every state dollar more power for the public good.”

The investments are being made in a variety of proposals, including, 38 trail projects which will protect nearly 9,000 acres of open space, 14 projects for rivers conservation, and 126 projects to develop or rehabilitate recreation, park and conservation areas and facilities.

In addition, more than $2.25 million is being provided to Heritage Areas for projects including advancing river and trail towns, closing gaps in Pennsylvanian’s destination trails, developing heritage tourism initiatives, improving educational and interpretative signage and planning and marketing heritage tourism events.