Erie County receives $1.44 million in grants for local outdoor attractions

Western PA News

Residents in Erie County will see some significant upgrades to staples of several local communities.

On Thursday, Governor Tom Wolf announced an investment of $70 million for 317 projects across Pennsylvania that will revitalize communities, create new recreational opportunities and conserve natural spaces.

“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,” Gov. Wolf said. “Many of the projects being funded – improvements to local parks, trails, and river access – bring these amenities closer to home, requiring less driving and expense to experience at a time during the pandemic when these opportunities are recognized as critical to our well-being.”

According to State Representatives Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie), Pat Harkins (D-Erie) and Bob Merski (D-Erie), a total of $1.44 million will go toward nine improvement projects in Erie County.

“Erie County is home to some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces, and I’m committed to doing everything possible to preserving what we have here,” Bizzarro said. “I’ll fight for every dollar we need so that our region stays home to some of the most beautiful outdoor areas in all of Pennsylvania.”

The projects include:

  • Asbury Woods Partnership Inc. – $271,000 to be used for the acquisition of approximately 52 acres in Millcreek Township for an addition to Asbury Woods Park.
  • Corry City – $73,000 for development of the Corry Junction Greenway Trail in Corry City, including approximately 0.4 miles of trail from Route 6 to Elk Street, and a trailhead with ADA access, landscaping, and other related site improvements.
  • Erie Zoological Society – $500,000 to rehab the Erie Zoo Giraffe Exhibit, including renovation and construction of the giraffe exhibit and public viewing structures.
  • McKean Area Snowmobile Club Inc. – $27,200 for purchasing of equipment to construct and maintain approximately 32 miles of snowmobile trails in Erie County.
  • Presque Isle Snowmobile Club Inc. – $27,600 will be used to purchase equipment to construct and maintain approximately 36 miles of snowmobile trails in Millcreek, Greenfield, and Summit townships and Waterford Borough.
  • Springfield Township – $70,000 for the rehabilitation of Raccoon Creek Park, including construction of pedestrian walkway, installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing, ADA access, landscaping, and other related site improvements.
  • Wales Sno-Drifters Inc. – $38,200 for purchasing equipment to construct and maintain approximately 50 miles of snowmobile trails in Greene Township and Wattsburg Borough.
  • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – $105,000 for restoring 558 feet of Elk Creek in Girard Township. This work includes stream bank stabilization, installation of in-stream habitat structure, and other related site improvements.
  • Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – $327,000 will be used to pay for a conservation easement on approximately 357 acres in Union Township for critical habitat protection and passive recreation.

Rep. Merski was very pleased with the funding that will go to the Erie Zoo.

“The grant to the zoo will help fund construction of a unique exhibit that is part of the zoo’s efforts to expand its ‘Wild Open Spaces,’ where visitors can observe animals in their natural habitat,” Merski said. “The improvements will expand the zoo’s capacity, increase tourism revenue, and help educate visitors about wildlife and conservation.”

Rep. Harkins said the investment in outdoor recreation will make a difference in local tourism.

“Erie is an all-season destination, with miles of trails for winter recreation,” Harkins said. “Some of the grants awarded today will fund equipment needed for construction, maintenance and grooming of nearly 120 miles of snowmobile trails to ensure the sport remains safe and enjoyable for residents and visitors.”

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Crawford and Warren Counties will receive grants for five total projects:

  • Clear Lake Authority — $500,000 will be used for the development of the East Branch Trail in Sparta and Steuben townships, Crawford County. Work to include construction of approximately 3 miles of trail from Route 89 to Fish Flats Road in Sprata Township and approximately 2 miles of trail from Station Road to Greytown Road in Steuben Township; rehabilitation of the Sportsman Road Bridge in Sparta Township; ADA access, landscaping, project sign and other related site improvements.
  • Meadville City — $105,500 will be used for the rehabilitation of Bicentennial Park, Meadville City, Crawford County. Work to include construction of pedestrian walkway and parking area; installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing and fencing; ADA access, landscaping, project sign and other related site improvements.
  • Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism $221,000 will be used to manage the heritage area and heritage area initiatives including the 2022 mini-grant program; complete phase V rehabilitation of the Scheide House in Titusville City, Venango County; create 3 new preservation plans for significant buildings located within the heritage region; reprint waterproof Allegheny Wild and Scenic River Guide maps; create a Trail Tales Program; and replace interpretive panels along the Emlenton Walking Tour in Emlenton, Venango County. Work to include a written summary report.
  • Pennsylvania Route 6 Alliance $254,000 will be used to manage the heritage area and heritage area initiatives; facilitate the signage improvement program in the Great Lakes region; assess and develop the bike tourism project including expansion of the Bike Friendly Business program; support tourism promotion and marketing campaign; complete year 2 of the Heart & Soul Program in Youngsville Borough, Warren County; and develop an itinerary and tour of the PA Route 6 Artisan Trail.
  • Woodcock Borough $13,900 will be used to prepare a Master Site Development Plan for the 45-acre Heist Park in Woodcock Borough, Crawford County.

For a complete list of grants in the commonwealth by county, click HERE.

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