Editorial: State Senator Greenway
● By Richard Gaw
The breadth of Dinniman's dedication toward our environment takes him to the Senate floor in Harrisburg, but it also puts his deeds and actions in front of big companies who want natural gas drilling and pipelines, or the license to pump water from local wells over the state line to Delaware. It also takes him to the edge of small creeks, to cheer on young people who initiate clean-ups; it seats him in the living rooms of those families who have been affected by the swarm of the encroaching phorid fly; and it sends him all over the county to listen to representatives from wildlife associations and environmental organizations.
Perhaps the largest impact of Sen. Dinniman's environmental record may be found in his efforts with state and regional agencies to create what will become one of the largest contiguous areas of preservation in the Mid-Atlantic region, a multi-phase plan to link Chester and Elk Township in Maryland in a permanent greenway corridor.
Dinniman worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and The Conservation Fund to help secure a $1.5 million grant to acquire and permanently protect 1,718 acres that will be added to the White Clay Creek Preserve. The announcement was made in November, but it was just one component of Dinniman's work to influence 10 additional conservation and recreations projects in Chester County, that will receive nearly $3 million in total state grant funding:
$31,000 for Atglen Borough to prepare master site development plans for the 17-acre Valley Avenue parcel, the 5-acre Church Road Park, the 1.2-acre Borough Hall parcel and 206 Main Street.
$1.5 million for the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art to go toward the acquisition of approximately 569 acres in Lower Oxford and West Nottingham for open space protection and passive recreation.
$40,000 for the City of Coatesville to prepare a Master Site Development Plan and Swimming Pool Feasibility Study for the 9.3-acre Ash Park.
$250,000 for the City of Coatesville for further development of Palmer Park, including the construction of pedestrian walkways and a pavilion, the installation of play equipment, lighting, ADA access, landscaping, signage and other related site improvements.
$75,000 for East Bradford Township to go toward the acquisition of approximately seven acres along Birmingham Road for open space protection and passive recreation.
$118,800 for the Natural Lands Trust for the construction of approximately 64 acres of riparian buffers along waterways in the Delaware River Watershed, including landowner outreach and engagement, buffer plantings, post-planting establishment and other improvements.
$17,000 for the Natural Lands Trust to prepare a stewardship plan for the 571-acre Stroud Preserve in East and West Bradford.
$100,000 for Schuylkill Township for further development of Valley Park, including the construction of pedestrian walkways, an outdoor classroom, parking area and stormwater management, as well as ADA access, landscaping, signage and other related site improvements.
$229,800 for the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County to go toward the acquisition of approximately 19 acres in London Britain Township for open space preservation habitat protection and passive recreation along the White Clay Creek, and
$500,000 for West Whiteland Township for further development of the Exton Park’s Swedesford Recreation area, including the construction of natural play areas, a dog park, pavilions, a comfort station, a parking area, and the installation of utilities, lighting, ADA access, landscaping, signage and other related site improvements.
“Chester County’s rolling hills, pristine streams and recreational opportunities are some of the very reasons that make it such a great place to call home,” Dinniman said in a statement to announce the funding for these projects. “These grant funds will help us continue to build on our success in protecting our land, water, and environmental resources, while also increasing recreational opportunities for residents and families throughout the area.”
We heartily agree with Sen. Dinniman, and we recognize him for his unwavering commitment, one that will serve as his greatest legacy of service.