County OKs $2.5M in open space grants

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Site of the adaptive kayak launch and boat ramp rehabilitation project at Riverside Park in North Coventry Township,
one of the recipients of a park improvement grant through the Chester County Preservation Partnership Program.

The Chester County Commissioners approved the awarding of $2.5 million in open space preservation and park improvement grants today at the public Commissioners’ meeting. The grants are made available through Chester County’s Preservation Partnership Program, which offers funding to municipalities and non-profit land preservation organizations.   

This commitment of County funds will help leverage an additional $15 million of non-County funds.  

Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline said, “We are pleased to join with our municipalities and land trusts in these investments. Our preserves and our trails are vital in the care of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being and these projects will ensure both current and future generations can enjoy the many benefits provided by our outdoor spaces.   

“One of the key reasons 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,” added the Commissioners.  “We are fortunate to have the ability to devote dollars in this way.”   

A total of 15 grants are included this year, ranging from $41,000 to North Coventry Township for an adaptive kayak launch and boat ramp rehabilitation project at Riverside Park, to $500,000 to Willistown Conservation Trust to help fund a 90-acre preserve in Willistown Township.

The grants announced today include the following sites and projects: 

The City of Coatesville will receive $100,000 for the first phase of planned improvements at Ash Park, including a rehabilitated main entrance; a gathering space and event area; a recirculating splashpad to replace the nonfunctional swimming pools; a pavilion with cooling station; native plants/landscaping; and ADA-accessible site access, picnic tables, and restroom. 

East Bradford Township will receive $250,000 to construct the first phase of the Plum Run Trail on a portion of the Township owned 48-acre Plum Run Preserve, and will include a 1,300 linear foot, 8-foot wide universally accessible multiuse asphalt trail; an 11-car public parking lot; and a 2,520 square foot outdoor heritage center/trail head at the western terminus of the trail located adjacent to the historic Strode’s Barn. 

East Coventry Township will receive $50,000 for the acquisition of 1.7 acres to add to its 160-acre publicly accessible Nature Preserve. 

East Fallowfield Township will receive $52,946 for the construction of a 36-foot ADA accessible gazebo at its Community Park to serve as an outdoor community gathering space and allow for outdoor performances and concert events. 

East Goshen Township will receive $250,000 to develop the Milltown Dam Park including the creation of a 2.5-acre stocked pond; 0.7 miles of paved and unpaved trails; two ADA-accessible fishing piers; ADA-accessible 20-space parking lot; and a pavilion and plaza.  

Kennett Township will receive $250,000 for the acquisition of a 23.7-acre wooded property that will connect to its 170-acre publicly accessible nature preserve across the street and with trail corridors on two adjacent properties preserved with conservation easements, eventually creating a trail network of over ten miles. 

North Coventry Township will receive $41,312 for the Riverside Park River Access Improvements, including the installation of an adaptive kayak launch on the Schuylkill River, providing river access to those with physical disabilities and those using mobility devices, and the replacement of the existing deteriorated concrete boat launch.  

Spring City Borough will receive $47,793 for the Brown Street Park Improvements, and will include four ADA parking spaces, an accessible path from the new ADA spaces to the picnic pavilion and playground, replacement of the mulch playground surface with an ADA safe play surface, modifications to benches to make them accessible, and the addition of two pieces of all-inclusive play equipment within the existing playground.  

Upper Uwchlan Township will receive $250,000 for the Hickory Park Improvements, including the addition of three pickle ball courts, a tee ball baseball field, pavilions, and shade trees; additional parking; and modifications to the existing rugby pitch to also accommodate cricket. 

West Bradford Township will receive $225,000 for the purchase of a conservation easement on a 58-acre property comprised of woodlands, stream frontage, and agricultural fields adjacent to lands owned by Township and includes a trail easement that will allow for public access through the parcel for hikers. 

West Goshen Township will receive $250,000 for its Community Park Improvements, including reconstruction of the deteriorated basketball courts, installation of a rain garden to capture storm water runoff from the tennis courts, conversion of the existing compacted, mowed stormwater basis to a to a ‘no-mow’ naturalized garden, construction of an ADA accessible family bathroom, and construction of a splashpad. 

The French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust will receive $112,200 for a 37.6-acre conservation easement on the Nesspor Farm in East Coventry Township.  

Natural Lands will receive $100,000 for the acquisition of a 3-acre inholding parcel to be added to its 508-acre publicly accessible Sadsbury Woods Preserve in Sadsbury Township.  

The Open Land Conservancy of Chester County will receive $50,000 for the Lorimer Preserve Stream Restoration project which involves the removal of an earthen dam; the creation of a stream with natural meanders, with banks reinforced and vegetated to withstand severe occasional flooding; restoration of the trail network; and installation of a stream crossing. 

Willistown Conservation Trust will receive $500,000 to acquire a 90-acre portion of a 218-acre property to create a publicly accessible nature preserve in Willistown Township, including 1.5 miles of new trails that will connect to existing trail easements on adjacent properties, and a parking area. 

Chester County has funded the preservation of over 64,000 acres of farmland, open space, nature preserves, and parks in partnership with farmers, municipalities, non-profits, and landowners in all 73 municipalities. 

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