The South Heidelberg Township Board of Supervisors have approved the submission of two grants to fund a Parks, Recreation and Open Space Comprehensive Study. The Township applied for the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2) Grant and is currently working on a submission for a second grant for the PA Department of Community and Economic Development Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program (GTRP) Grant.
Much of South Heidelberg Township’s (Township) parks and recreation areas were developed without the benefit of a comprehensive plan, which has led to a disjointed park system inadequate to meet current and future needs of the citizens in the community. The Township’s fields, courts, and open spaces are spread disproportionately throughout the Township with many of its parks maintaining their original facilities. In some cases the spaces are unusable, while some parks lack certain facilities and others have too many. This Project’s scope will include a study of the Township’s existing recreation, park, and open space facilities and development of a plan for short-term and long-term improvement priorities and cohesive development strategies.
The Project will address citizen concerns about Township recreation facilities and identify their open space preservation priorities by engaging them in a meaningful public participation process, including public meetings, surveys, focus groups, and committees. Extensive outreach will be done to ensure all Township residents can participate. Engagement of community partners has already begun, with eight Project partners agreeing to support the Project through every step of the process, including the school district, local businesses, and numerous youth recreation organizations.
The Project will also inventory existing park, recreation, and open space facilities and evaluate the needs of each space, including necessary safety and accessibility upgrades, shade, restroom access, parking, and other priorities. A priority of the Project will be to evaluate where future recreational development is needed with additional attention paid to areas identified as having need in DCNR¶s Access to Outdoor Recreation Tool. It will also evaluate and make recommendations for maintenance plans to ensure investments are maintained properly.
To address urgent needs, the Project will define short-term and long-term priorities and evaluate costs so that spending decisions concerning Recreational Impact Fees and Township ARPA funds are made wisely. It will also help to ensure park and open space priorities are protected from residential and commercial development by producing a plan to guide municipal decisions.
Grant Executive Summary