Penn Township Receives $1 million Grant for Development of a Sports Park
By Steven Hoffman
Penn Township’s efforts to continue to develop a sports park received a big boost last week when it was announced that the township had received $1 million in grant funding through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation Partnerships Program. This grant program is funded with a variety of state and federal funding sources, including the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The $1 million in grant funding will be utilized by Penn Township for the further development of a sports park in the heart of the township along Route 796 near Route 1, with current plans including the construction of an outdoor hockey rink, multi-purpose courts, a volleyball court, a gazebo, parking areas, an entrance road, trails and a retaining wall. Other aspects of the park that the funding could be used for include the installation of playground equipment with required safety surfacing utilities, ADA-compliant access, landscaping, a project sign and other related site improvements.
Developing an active park for local residents became a priority for the township once the passive park in the township had been successfully developed and opened to the public.
Penn Township purchased 43 acres of commercially zoned property from Star Roses in 2016. The parcel has been deed-restricted in perpetuity as open space to satisfy the funding requirements of the acquisition grants—Penn Township was successful in obtaining acquisition grants in the amount of $1,086,000.00 from Chester County Open Space and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund .
The total cost of the land acquisition to the township was just $314,000.00 after it received the acquisition grants.
As far back as 2010, the township had identified developing a park for active recreation as a priority in its comprehensive plan. With the purchase of the 43-acre parcel, township officials saw an opportunity to preserve prime commercial property development in an already-busy area.
Penn Township officials have been working on amending the initial 2015 plans for the park. As a part of that process, they have discussed the park with the Board of Supervisors, held meetings with local sports teams, and sought public input on the project.