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Municipal Grant

Grants to Chester County, Pennsylvania Municipalities
to Develop Parks, Trails, and Greenways

Agency Type:


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Chester County, Department of Open Space Preservation

Deadline Date:

02/12/18 4:00 PM


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Grants to Chester County, Pennsylvania municipalities and municipal recreation authorities to preserve land and support trail, greenway, and park construction and acquisition projects. Applicants must arrange a site visit with program staff prior to applying. Projects should result in maximum public benefit.

To receive a grant, the proposed project must be consistent with the adopted policies of the applicant and County. Property purchased or improved with County grant funds shall provide for non-fee, publicly accessible use. The applicant is solely responsible for programming and use of lands acquired, developed or improved with County funds.

Eligible Projects:

Development Projects:

Construction of recreation facilities such as ball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, trails, playgrounds, nature study areas, pavilions, and parking lots associated with these improvements are eligible.

Development Projects with Special Conditions:

The following items are eligible projects if they are combined with land preservation which advances the County’s goals:
A. Support facilities including improvements such as restrooms, parking lots (other than listed above), drinking fountains, site amenities (benches, trash cans, grills, etc.), signs, electric installation, handicapped access, etc.
B. Purchase of portable recreation equipment such as basketball nets, football goalposts and soccer goals and baseball/softball bases, etc.
C. Purchase or repair of scoreboards.
D. A combined property or easement acquisition and development project.
E. Construction of and/or improvements to any structures and buildings for compatible park usage. Structures that are not for park use are ineligible.

For All Development Projects:

A. The property that will be used for improvements must be owned free and clear or under permanent public use easement by the municipality.
B. All improvements made under this grant program shall be properly maintained, accessible to the public, and provide for handicapped access.

Acquisition Projects:

A. Fee simple land acquisition of privately owned property that insures public access and benefit. Contiguous parcels under separate ownership may be considered as one project on a case by case basis.
B. Acquisition of conservation easements with provisions for public access, including right-of-way easements for recreational use.
C. Land purchases from non-County governmental agencies where the acquisition will result in a substantial increase in public access and use.
D. Acquisition of eased or restricted property if ownership will significantly increase public access and recreational opportunities on the property.
E. Projects involving fully donated land or easement that meet the County’s Municipal Grant Program goals and objectives.
F. Acquisition of land that can be transferred to a non-profit whose mission includes providing food/agricultural commodities, but does not preclude other uses. Prior to reimbursement and/or transfer the required Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (Declaration) must be filed at the Chester County Recorder of Deeds. This Declaration would allow the property to be used for farming at the current time but require the option of future use as recreation, trails, and natural area preservation if farming ever ceased.

Eligible Costs for Reimbursement:

For Development Projects:
A. Approved material purchases and equipment rentals.
B. Costs of approved construction contracts with private firms.

For Acquisition Projects:
A. The appraised value of the land or easement being acquired.
B. For land or easements acquired through full donation, transaction costs (appraisals, title insurance, surveys) up to 20% of the appraised value of the land or easement up to the following limits.


1. Appraisals – The County will reimburse up to 20% of the cost of one appraisal for full donations. To be eligible for reimbursement, the appraisal shall meet the County appraisal requirements, follow the required appraisal format, and be approved by the County.

2. Title Insurance - The County requires that the full value of the rights being acquired be insured. Title insurance is required for fee simple acquisitions and the acquisition of conservation easements. The County will reimburse up to 20% of the cost of a title insurance policy issued by a title insurance company authorized to conduct business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania based on a County approved appraisal.

3. Surveys - The County will reimburse 20% of the cost of one property survey performed by a professional land surveyor registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For the survey to be an eligible expense, a minimum of three bids must be submitted. The County will reimburse 20% of the lowest bid submitted or 20% of the actual cost of the survey; whichever is less. This reimbursement policy will be followed regardless of the vendor chosen by the applicant. The surveyor will visibly mark the boundaries with concrete monuments in the field and provide the boundary information in an electronic format that can be converted for use with Geographic Information System Software.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 168187

Estimated Size of Grant:

Acquisition Grants reimburse up to $500,000 of the appraised value to buy land, conservation easements, or trail easements. If an extraordinary conservation opportunity presents itself, the County will consider requests in excess of $500,000 on a case-by-case basis.

Development Grants reimburse park facility and trail construction costs up to $250,000 for parks of 20 or more contiguous acres, and up to $100,000 for parks less than 20 acres.

Term of Contract:

The contract length is three (3) years from the date the grant is awarded.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants
A. Chester County municipalities (individual or joint applicants)
B. Land-owning municipal recreation authorities

Ineligible Projects
A. Projects that are not consistent with the applicant's or County’s adopted policies.
B. Projects where recreation facility construction has begun before the County Commissioners have awarded the grant.
C. Projects concluded by a signed deed on or before the date of the grant award that were not granted a Waiver of Retroactivity (see #4 below)
D. Construction or improvements to memorials, community centers, meeting/activity rooms, concession buildings, maintenance structures, and like buildings.
E. Rehabilitation of existing recreation facilities such as resurfacing of existing tennis and basketball courts, reconstruction of pavilions, renovation of athletic fields, renovation of play areas, and replacement of backstops, etc., due to lack of proper maintenance.
F. Projects involving property that carries reversionary interest, covenants running with the land, deed restrictions, easements, or other legal instruments and/or agreements that effectively preclude, either fully or partially, the public's use and enjoyment of the property, with the exception of land which is used for agriculture purposes.
G. The purchase of any structure and/or outbuilding of monetary value and its appurtenant land parcel, regardless of its proposed use. An outbuilding includes but is not limited to a storage shed, garage, or barn.
H. Leases, term easements, or other legal instruments where the acquisition is not in perpetuity.
I. A parcel that is known or suspected to be contaminated with hazardous substances or hazardous waste unless it has received DEP Act 2 clearance for the proposed use.
J. Feasibility studies, planning studies, natural diversity index studies, or similar studies.
K. On-going enforcement expenses.

Ineligible Costs:
A. Costs that are not approved.
B. Any in-kind contributions such as time, labor, or property are not eligible for funding reimbursement and cannot be used to meet the required match.
C. Donated value on any or all interests in land owned by the applicant.
D. Costs unrelated to the actual construction or acquisition of the proposed project (if not a full donation), consultant and solicitor fees, costs for surveys, appraisals, title insurance, deed search and preparation, publications, recording fees, notary fees, or other related costs.
E. Professional services for development projects (i.e., site plans, facility design and engineering, topographic surveys, permits, inspections, site testing, etc.)
F. Administrative costs incurred by the municipality including staff salaries (i.e. public works/road crews).
G. Sales taxes on materials purchased.
H. Mortgage or loan interest.
I. Any costs associated with items listed under Ineligible Projects.

Pre-Application Information:

Support will be made to projects that attract substantial funding from other sources.

Acquisition Grants reimburse a maximum of 50%. A lower percentage of County funds requested will result in more favorable consideration.

Development Grants reimburse park facility and trail construction costs at a maximum of 50% for parks of 20 or more contiguous acres, and a maximum of 25% for parks less than 20 acres.

If an applicant anticipates purchasing a property or an easement or incurring costs on a project before the 2018 grants are awarded, a written request for a waiver of retroactivity from the County must be submitted at least six weeks prior to settlement and must be approved by the County prior to settlement.

Pre-Application Site Visit with Program Administrator: The applicant shall contact Judy Thomas, Preservation Programs Coordinator as early as possible in the project development process to schedule the mandatory project site visit.

Applications to the Municipal Grant Program must be submitted to the County’s Department of Open Space Preservation by February 12, 2018 by 4:00 PM.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Judy Thomas, Preservation Programs Coordinator

Chester County Department of Open Space Preservation
601 Westtown Road, Suite 390
P.O. Box 2747
West Chester, PA 19380-0990

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Pennsylvania: Chester County