WEST CHESTER (January 27) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that five conservation and recreation projects in Chester County will receive more than $ 1.6 million in total grant funding  through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program.

field-175959_1920“The preservation of our natural spaces and historic places is a big part of what makes Chester County so special. It is important that we continue to invest in open space and land conservation while making our natural areas more accessible and enjoyable for everyone,” Dinniman said. “These grants can go a long way in not only protecting our environment, but also increasing recreational opportunities for residents and families throughout the region.”

The grants, which are administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), are as follows:

  • $1,000,000 for the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust for the Warwick Furnace Preserve Acquisition, approximately 108 acres located along the South Branch of the Exceptional Value French Creek in Warwick and East Nantmeal Townships. The preserve is part of more than 550 acres that were recently protected from development by the Trust at the Historic Warwick Furnace Farm. The Trust plans to develop trail access to historic furnace ruins and the south branch of the French Creek, which traverses the entirety of the property. The preserve is expected to open to the public this late year.  Warwick Furnace Farm, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1733. It made the first Franklin stoves and supplied shot and cannon for the Revolutionary War. General Washington brought his army to Warwick to repair his guns and rest his troops following the Battle of the Brandywine and a heavy storm in 1777. The site currently includes a manor house and village property.
  • $250,000 for New London Township for the development of the first phase New London Village Park located at the township building property on State Road. Work will include construction of stormwater management systems, pedestrian pathways, wetland cross, parking, a gazebo, volleyball court, pond and pier, playground and exercise equipment, ADA access, landscaping, signage and other related amenities and site improvements.
  • $84,000 for East Bradford Township for the Strode’s Mill Acquisition, approximately seven acres along Birmingham and Lenape Roads. The township and the Friends of Strodes Mill organization plan to use the land for passive recreation and environmental education. Preliminary plans include renovating the two historic buildings, Strodes Mill Barn and a springhouse, into an interpretative history site and developing a walking and biking trail on the surrounding wetlands. The buildings are part of the Strodes Mill Historic District at the crossroads of Birmingham and Lenape Roads where Strode’s Mill, East Bradford Boarding School for Boys, the miller’s house, the Strode’s Pork Products plant and other buildings made up a small village dating from 1721 to 1880. The small crossroads village, which included a blacksmith, wheelwright and a tenant house, thrived by providing various services to people traveling toward Kennett and Concord.   The district is registered with the National Register of Historic Places.
  • $25,000 for Valley Township to prepare an update to the Comprehensive Recreation, Park, Open Space and Greenways Plan.

Local municipal and conservation leaders praised the value of state investment in making land preservation and recreation projects possible.

“On behalf of the board of supervisors and the planning commission of New London Township, we are thrilled that we are the recipient of a DCNR grant for the construction of the New London Village Park,” said Trish Fagen, New London Township Secretary.  “We would really like to thank Senator Dinniman and state Rep. John Lawrence for their support of the park project and we look forward to breaking ground in the spring.”

“We’re absolutely thrilled at the support we’ve gotten from all our partners in the Warwick Furnace Farm preservation project, including Chester County, East Nantmeal Township, Warwick Township, the Open Space Institute, The Conservation Fund, local conservation buyers and now DCNR,” said Pam Brown, Conservation Director for the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. “I also want to note how appreciative we are of Senator Dinniman’s leadership and all the work he has done to support land preservation in our region.”

The Community Conservation Partnerships Program provides financial and technical assistance to local governments, river and trail organizations, land trusts, and other nonprofits for the planning, acquisition and development of park, recreation, conservation and greenway projects.

Funding for all of the grant projects in Chester County is provided through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key 93).

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