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Centre County Conservation, Recreation Projects Receive $200,000 in State Grants

by on September 19, 2019 5:00 AM

A pair of projects in Centre County will receive a combined $200,000 in state funding for conservation and recreational initiatives.

The grants from the Commonwealth Financing Authority's will support ClearWater Conservancy's permanent conservation of farmland in Ferguson Township and Rush Township's work to rehabilitate its Municipal Park.

“When it comes to the natural beauty of Central Pennsylvania, our area is unrivaled,” state Senate Majority Lead Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, said in a news release. “These projects are crucial to protecting our natural resources and providing area residents with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. I’m pleased that this funding will help to give way to a greater appreciation of our surroundings.”

ClearWater Conservancy received $133,672 from CFA's Watershed and Restoration Program to acquire a conservation easement for the 28.85 acre Windy Hill Farm,­ owned by the Pasquinelli family. The easement permanently restricts use of the land to protect its natural resources, regardless of the owner in the future.

The Pasquinellis will continue to live on and farm the land, ClearWater Conservancy Executive Director Deb Nardone said.

Acquisition of the easement marks the latest in ClearWater's ongoing efforts over more than a decade to preserve land along the Tussey Ridge and is a continuation of the Slab Cabin Run Initiative, which began with a successful $2.75 million campaign in 2016-17 to acquire an easement on 300 acres of farmland and streams at the Everhart and Meyer properties in College and Harris Township.

The properties along Slab Cabin Run sit in a critical part of the Spring Creek Watershed, adjacent to the Harter-Thomas source water wells, which supply the majority of the drinking water to Centre Region residents.

"Much like the work we did on the Everhart and Meyer properties in 2017 as part of the Slab Cabin Run Initiative, this investment in conservation protects our community drinking water, improves the health of Slab Cabin Run and preserves the appealing agricultural character of our region,” Nardone said in a news release.

Rush Township will receive $66,328 from CFA's Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program to replace deteriorated equipment, improve safety and and correct ADA accessibility issues

“These parks are special places in our communities and providing this investment to restore and preserve them is a vital quality of life issue,” state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, said in a news release. “These funds will ensure that our parks are safe, enjoyable places for all to enjoy, including individuals with disabilities.”

The overall project, which totals $78,033, includes new accessible play equipment units, picnic tables, bike racks, benches, grills, trash receptacles, signage and fencing. It also will include repairs of rubber surfacing under play equipment and basketball equipment, plantingof two shade trees and construction of accessible parking spaces with adjacent walkways and a walking trail.

State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, said the grants are important for quality of life in the region.

“It’s important that we preserve our outdoor areas so we all have the opportunities to step away from our hectic lives and enjoy our region’s beautiful natural resources,” Benninghoff said in a news release. “This grant is a strategic investment in preserving the local environment and providing a chance for families to enjoy being outside.”

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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