The Chester County Commissioners approved the awarding of $3.2 million in open space preservation and park improvement grants. The grants are made available through Chester County’s Preservation Partnership Program, which offers funding to municipalities and non-profit land preservation organizations.
These County funds will in turn attract an additional $7 million of non-County funds, meaning more than $10 million in total investment.
“We are pleased to join with our municipalities and land trusts in these investments,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz. “One reason we continue to attract so many people to live, work, and visit here is the commitment we make to protecting our land and providing superior recreational opportunities for families to enjoy. We feel fortunate to have the ability to devote dollars in this way.”
A total of 20 grants are included this year, ranging from $11,000 to the Open Lands Conservancy of Chester County to help facilitate creation of a publicly accessible nature trail in Charlestown, to $640,000 for a conservation easement on the 126-acre Camp Innabah property in East Vincent Township, protecting important environmental resources and providing a future segment of the French Creek Trail.
“The pandemic has made all of us more aware and appreciative of the importance of having outdoor spaces both for recreation and preserving our natural resources,” said County Commissioner Josh Maxwell. “Our preserves and our trails are vital in the care of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The projects we approved today will ensure both current and future generations can enjoy the many benefits provided by Chester County’s outdoor spaces.”
Added County Commissioner Michelle Kichline, “It can almost feel overwhelming to comprehend that almost a third of Chester County’s land is permanently preserved. We have not achieved that position by accident. It has taken a long-term, intentional effort. The same can be said about the quality and variety of our recreational parkland. The grants awarded today will only add to our enjoyment of these precious assets.”
The grants announced today include the following sites and projects:
East Coventry Township will receive $203,609 for the first phase of planned improvements to Towpath Park on Route 724, including the construction of a new 85-space stone-surface parking lot serving the park and the Schuylkill River Trail. This project includes ADA improvements, installation of native landscape plantings, and lighting.
East Goshen Township will receive $60,063 for improvements at its Township Park on Paoli Pike, including the installation of six permanent pickleball courts and one permanent tennis court also lined for two pickleball courts.
Elk Township will receive $327,172 for the acquisition of the 162-acre Martin Six Associates property (directly across from the Springlawn Trail Trailhead), to be transferred to the Commonwealth of PA to become an addition to the Big Elk Creek section of the White Clay Creek Preserve. As part of the State Park, the property will be open to the public for low-impact recreation, protecting the property’s extensive natural resources.
The Kennett Area Park Authority will receive $16,317 for the Ash Grove Reforestation project which will include replanting of 125 native trees to replaces trees that have fallen victim to the emerald ash boring beetle.
London Grove Township will receive $12,629 to construct several trail connections to the Inniscrone Golf Club trail system.
West Grove Borough will receive $100,000 to purchase a 3.4-acre property for an addition to the Borough’s 8.9-acre Harmony Park.
West Vincent Township will receive $250,000 for improvements to the 72-acre Opalanie Park (formerly Bryn Coed Township Park), including ADA improvements and trail connections to Natural Lands’ Bryn Coed Preserve.
West Whiteland Township will receive $250,000 for the second phase of planned improvements to its Exton Park Swedesford Recreation Area, including a trail connection to the County’s Chester Valley Trail.
The Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art will receive $46,500 to construct a canoe and kayak launch facility on the Brandywine Creek on property it owns in Birmingham Township. A parking area will also be included in the project.
The Brandywine Red Clay Alliance will receive $189,480 for a 29.6-acre conservation easement on the Johnson property in London Britain Township, including a public access trail corridor eventually connecting to the White Clay Creek Preserve; and $27,000 for the construction of a gravel parking lot at the recently opened Little Elk Creek Preserve in Elk Township.
The French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust will receive $119,020 for a 37.4-acre conservation easement on the Nesspor farm in East Coventry Township; and $640,000 for a conservation easement on the 126-acre Camp Innabah property in East Vincent Township, protecting important environmental resources and providing a future segment of the French Creek Trail.
Natural Lands will receive $289,400 for a 41.6-acre conservation easement, including a public trail corridor, on the Aguilar property in East Nantmeal Township; $491,500 for a 97.2-acre conservation easement, including a public trail corridor, on the Keen property (adjacent to the Aguilar property) in East Nantmeal Township; $17,500 for a conservation easement on the 10-acre Brown-Shire property in Warwick Township; and $17,553 for the creation of 22.5 acres of pollinator meadows at the publicly accessible ChesLen Preserve in Newlin Township.
The Open Lands Conservancy of Chester County will receive $10,999 for expenses relating to the fee simple donation of a 10.8-acre wooded property in Charlestown and East Whiteland Townships that will become a publicly accessible nature preserve.
Willistown Conservation Trust will receive $125,000 to acquire 7 acres in Willistown Township to add to the publicly accessible 95-acre Kirkwood Preserve; and $48,575 for restoration of the heavily used main trail through the publicly accessible 86-acre Rushton Woods Preserve in Willistown Township.
Chester County has funded the preservation of over 62,000 acres of farmland, open space, nature preserves, and parks in partnership with farmers, municipalities, non-profits, and landowners in all 73 municipalities.