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Conservancy Grants - Preservation Partnership Program (PPP) - Trail Construction Projects

Grants to Chester County, Pennsylvania
Nonprofits to Develop Trails in Natural Areas

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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 nonprofit conservation organizations for the development of recreational trails throughout the county. Applicants must schedule a site visit with program staff prior to applying. Funding may be applied to construction costs related to publicly accessible and permanently preserved trails that are part of a regional network or a local network that serves a single municipality or preserve.

Nonprofit trail, greenway, or conservation organizations are eligible to submit grant applications for projects that seek to:
-Construct new recreational trails
-Improve existing trails, or
-Construct public amenities such as trailheads, trail-side facilities, parking areas, and signs
-Grant funding may also be used for construction of erosion control and resource protection measures.

Projects that combine trail construction and land preservation will be viewed more favorably. Projects that do not include land preservation are less likely to receive County funding. Permanently preserving land adjacent to the trail may be included as part of the project.

Program Requirements:
-To qualify for this program, the site must be open to the general public at regularly scheduled and posted days and times.
-Land upon which the trail and any accessory structures are proposed must be permanently designated for public use prior to the release of any County funds.

Eligible Projects:
-Construction of publicly accessible trails that will be part of a regional trail network.
-For trails that are part of a regional trail network, associated improvements such parking areas, signage, restrooms, drinking fountains, electrification, etc. are eligible.
-For trails that are part of a regional trail network, construction of or improvements to any structures and buildings that make a significant contribution to the benefit the trail provides to the general public are eligible.
-Construction of publicly accessible local trails that serve a single municipality or preserve.
-Restoration or rehabilitation of trails in eligible locations, including rerouting or repair of areas damaged by trail use, flooding, or erosion; rehabilitation of trail tread and other facilities that have deteriorated over time; and improvements that increase accessibility.
-Development of trail-side and trailhead facilities if pre-approved by the County. (Approval must be given by the Department of Open Space Preservation (Department) for inclusion in the grant application. Pre-approval by the Department does not guarantee or imply funding or approval by the County Commissioners).
-Provision of features which facilitate access and use of trails by persons with disabilities.
-Environmental mitigation, reconstruction, non-routine maintenance, or relocation to mitigate or minimize impact to the natural environment.

Eligible Project Costs:
-Material and labor costs for trail construction.
-Material and labor costs for construction of trailhead parking areas and other support facilities.
-Signage (directional, informational, use restrictions, interpretive).
-Benches (not funded at a frequency of more than 1 bench per .5 miles).

Project Selection:

To the greatest extent possible, trails intended for use by pedestrians should also be accessible to people using wheelchairs, whether manual or motorized. Projects in developed areas should place particular emphasis on accessibility. Sometimes physical limitations of the trail corridor site do not allow for total accessibility. However, land managers are encouraged to incorporate accessible features when they do not negatively impact the environment.

The cost-effectiveness criteria rewards those projects which accomplish a lot with a little amount of funding, as well as those projects which propose a greater proportion of basic trail work as opposed to support facilities. Basic trail work includes tasks such as trail layout, vegetation clearing, bridges, work on the trail surface (shaping, drainage structures, surfacing, steps, and erosion control), and retaining walls. Trail-side and trailhead facilities are considered support facilities because they are not providing direct recreation opportunities.

Documented public support or opposition to a project will be considered during the evaluation of projects. Resolutions of support from local political entities are not required to submit a project proposal for funding or to receive funding. However, if opposition to a project arises to the extent that a municipality, within whose jurisdiction the project falls, passes a resolution opposing funding of the project, that will be sufficient cause to not select the project. A resolution of opposition would also be grounds to rescind funding for a previously funded project if the resolution is received prior to the start of construction.

Projects which serve multiple, compatible trail users will be given priority as will projects undertaken with partnerships due to their ability to build constituencies for trail projects.

Applicants are encouraged to submit only one project per application period. The County understands the complexity of trail projects and is unlikely to fund more than one project per organization at any one time. If an eligible applicant wishes to submit more than one project, separate applications should be submitted when projects are not located at the same site.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 179779

Estimated Size of Grant:

For Local Trails, the County will consider requests up to a maximum of $50,000 associated with permanently preserved, publicly accessible trails that will be part of a local trail network, serving a single municipality or preserve. There is a $150,000 maximum cumulative County contribution for these smaller more localized trails.

Term of Contract:

The contract term is 18 months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for funding, organizations must be classified by the United States Internal Revenue Service as private nonprofit organizations, be incorporated for at least five years, and have land preservation as a primary part of their mission.

Applicants who are eligible to apply to the Preservation Partnership Program (PPP) for acquisition grants and Section 501(c)(3) nonprofits with public trails or greenways in their mission.

Only one entity will be considered the grantee of any proposal. Even though projects are encouraged to be undertaken as partnerships, the grantee for the project will be the one who signs the Grant Contract, is responsible to account for the costs incurred, and will receive the reimbursements.

Ineligible Projects:
-Projects which are not consistent with adopted County policy.
-Projects where construction has begun before the County Commissioners have awarded the grant.
-Construction of or improvements to any structures and buildings associated with local trails, except for improvements for trail continuity such as footbridges and boardwalks.
-Improvements such as restrooms, drinking fountains, electrification, etc. associated with local trails.
-On-going enforcement expenses.
-Maintenance of existing trails.
-Projects on private land managed as a commercial enterprise. A trail project on private land which charges fees will be considered a commercial enterprise unless all revenues from its operation will be used only to offset the costs of its operation and maintenance.
-Funding for trails not open to the general public. Projects which are restricted to club members only or which are only open during scheduled events will not be eligible for funding.
-Planning and feasibility studies.
-Educational or interpretive brochures or handouts.
-Paths that connect facilities within in a park will not be considered a trail for the purposes of this grant program.

Ineligible Project Costs:
-Administrative costs of the applicant.
-Any costs incurred prior to the grant award, unless a Waiver of Retroactivity has been granted.
-Site planning, design, and engineering costs.

Pre-Application Information:

For Regional Trails, the County will consider requests to fund up to 50% of the eligible construction costs associated with permanently preserved, publicly accessible trails that will be part of a regional trail network.

For Local Trails, the County will consider requests to fund up to 25% of the eligible construction costs associated with permanently preserved, publicly accessible trails that will be part of a local trail network, serving a single municipality or preserve.

Grantees may use 100% of the County grant as a match to apply for any federal, state, township, or private funds which may be available.

All County grant funds awarded through this program are provided on a reimbursement basis only. A total of two reimbursement requests will be accepted - one mid-way through the project and then a final reimbursement when the project is complete, provided that the corresponding matching funds are also available.

Eligible Sources of Matching Funds:
-Donated materials with proper approved and invoiced documentation of value.
-Donated equipment (value based on cost to rent equivalent equipment for duration of use).
-Donated labor from contractors.
-Donated volunteer labor at $10.00 per hour.
-Donations from the private sector (land, materials, or labor) may only be attributed to the grantee match. The Grantee may not make a profit by being reimbursed beyond their out-of-pocket costs. Private donations which exceed 50% of the total project cost simply serve to reduce the overall cost of a project.

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.

If an applicant anticipates incurring trail construction costs before a grant is awarded, a written request for a waiver of retroactivity must be submitted to the County and approved by the County prior to the grant application deadline. The granting of a waiver ensures that funding requests for projects which are properly submitted before the application deadline remain eligible for consideration by the County Commissioners, even though work on the project has already begun.

PPP grant applications are due on February 12, 2018, 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