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Chester County Press

Chester County Commissioners award nearly $6.7 million in open space preservation and park improvement grants

Chester County Commissioners Josh Maxwell, Marian Moskowitz, and Eric Roe approved the awarding of nearly $6.7 million in open space preservation and park improvement grants 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. 

“We are pleased to join with our municipalities and land trusts in these investments to provide safe recreational opportunities for the public, protect the environment, and preserve Chester County’s incredible natural resources,” Maxwell, Moskowitz, and Roe said in a statement.  “These projects help us contribute to a high quality of life that we hope will inspire future generations to similar stewardship.  We are fortunate that, for more than 30 years, the people of Chester County have approved devoting dollars in this way.”

A total of 16 grants are included this year, ranging from $11,533 to East Coventry Township for environmental restoration of the East Coventry Nature Preserve to $2,000,000 to Natural Lands to expand the William Penn State Forest. The grants include the following sites and projects:

East Coventry Township will receive $11,533 for environmental restoration at the East Coventry Nature Preserve. The project will help address streambank erosion, flooding, and invasive species removal. 

East Vincent Township will receive $226,750 for the acquisition of a 25.6-acre woodland property located in the Hopewell Big Woods, the largest remaining contiguous forest in southeastern Pennsylvania. Future use will be a nature preserve with trails for hiking, birdwatching, and nature exploration.

East Whiteland Township will receive $870,000 for the acquisition of 52.1 acres in East Whiteland, West Whiteland, and East Goshen Townships for a future East Whiteland Township park which will include hiking and walking trails. 

London Britain Township will receive $199,187 for improvements to Nichol Park to include replacing an existing playground structure with a handicap accessible version, new playground surfacing, and resurfacing of an existing basketball court. 

Penn Township will receive $250,000 to construct the third phase of the Penn Township Sports Park which includes three youth baseball fields and two multi-purpose fields for soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey, and more parking spaces. All facilities will be handicap accessible. 

Pennsbury Township will receive $1,875,000 to purchase a 100-acre addition to the adjacent Pennsbury Township Park for passive public recreation including hiking and birdwatching. The property supports a diversity of natural resources including woodlands, meadows, and part of Rising Run, which flows into Brandywine Creek. 

West Grove Borough will receive $100,000 for installation of an artificial turf field at Memorial Park plus the addition of trees, understory plantings, seating, stadium lights, and a new equipment storage building. 

French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust will receive a total of $623,765 for four projects: $72,900 for the purchase of a conservation easement on 23.3 acres in East Coventry Township with an extensive stream corridor and woodlands; $128,300 for the purchase of a conservation easement on 24 acres in East Coventry Township which will include a public trail corridor to eventually lead to the East Coventry Nature Preserve; and $201,565 for the purchase of a conservation easement on 55.6 acres across North and South Coventry Townships which includes a publicly assessable trail and trailhead to connect Coventry Woods and Woody’s Woods, two woodland preserves which are a part of Hopewell Big Woods. An additional $221,000 will be given to fund the purchase of a 126-acre conservation easement on the Camp Innabah property in East Vincent Township to supplement a prior county grant of $640,000. 

Natural Lands will receive a total of $2,238,184 for three projects: $188,184 for the purchase of a conservation easement on 109 acres in South Coventry and Warwick Townships located within the Hopewell Big Woods; $50,000 for the planting of over 10,000 trees in the Peacedale Preserve in Franklin Township to improve stormwater management and create habitat; and $2,000,000 for the acquisition of 493 acres in Wallace Township which will be transferred to the state and managed as part of the William Penn State Forest. This site will eventually connect to Marsh Creek State Park and Chester County Water Resource’s Barneston Dam property along the county’s future Struble Trail North. The project will provide significant opportunities for outdoor activities including hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, and bird watching.

Willistown Conservation Trust will receive a total of $296,170 for two projects: $46,170 towards the installation of a bioretention basin to better manage runoff from Rushton Farm in the Rushton Woods Preserve in Willistown Township; and an additional $250,000 towards the purchase of 90 acres to create a publicly accessible nature preserve which will include new public trails. The latter amount supplements a $500,000 Preservation Partnership Program grant they received from the county in 2023. 

Chester County has funded the preservation of over 65,000 acres of farmland, open space, nature preserves, and parks in partnership with farmers, municipalities, non-profits, and landowners in all 73 municipalities.