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Wolf announces $70M in recreation grants

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday that $70 million will go to 317 projects across Pennsylvania that will revitalize communities, create new recreational opportunities and conserve natural spaces.

Included in the list of projects are several in this region, including a $37,000 grant for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which serves Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Snyder and Somerset counties.

The grant will be used to prepare an update to the 2000 River Conservation Plan for the Juniata River Watershed in those counties. The work will include a written, bound report, according to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

In Cambria County, Rep. Frank Burns, D-Johnstown, said residents and visitors will benefit from more than $116,000 in state recreation grants for projects in his district.

The funding includes $70,000 for Gallitzin Borough to further develop Gremlin Park, which will include the construction of horseshoe pits, fitness equipment, landscaping and stormwater management.

In addition, $46,7000 has been earmarked to Rock Run Recreation to purchase equipment to expand and maintain approximately

140 miles of ATV trails in Cambria and Clearfield counties.

“Making these investments not only boosts the economy of our region but encourages visitors and residents alike to enjoy the wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities available in our area,” Burns said.

The Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission will receive $100,000 to coordinate and fund the Southern Alleghenies Regional Greenways and Open Space Network and 2022 Bicycle and Pedestrian mini-grant program. Work will include a written summary report, according to the DCNR.

The Chesapeake Conservancy Inc. will receive $50,000 for the construction of approximately 7 acres of riparian forest buffers along waterways in the Susquehanna River Watershed in Huntingdon, Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Union and Snyder counties. Work is to include landowner outreach and engagement; buffer plantings and post-planning establishment; project sign and other related site improvements.

“Our outdoor places are among the things that tie us all together — a place to meet for our health, for enjoyment, for recreation and a draw for tourists,” Wolf said. “Many of the projects being funded – improvements to local parks, trails, and river access — bring these amenities closer to home.”

Stackhouse Park in Johnstown will receive a $15,000 grant, said Rep. Jim Rigby, R-Johnstown.

Efforts are underway to further develop and improve the park, Rigby said, and the funds will be used by the city of Johnstown to develop a master site development plan.

“There is plenty of discussion about ways we can upgrade Stackhouse Park, which covers more than

277 acres and includes 7 miles of hiking and bicycling trails,” Rigby said. “Before we talk about funding improvements, we need a master site development plan.”

The grants fall under the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnerships Program. Funding comes from the Keystone Fund, which is generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax, the Environmental Stewardship Fund, fees for ATV/Snowmobile licenses, and federal monies.

The grants will support a variety of proposals including 152 projects to rehabilitate or develop recreation, park, and conservation areas and facilities; protect approximately 4,400 acres of open space; 180 acres of streamside forest buffers; and 48 non-motorized and motorized trail projects.

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