HARRISBURG- April 21, 2021- The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved $1.55 million in grant funding for transportation, recreation and environmental projects in Berks County, according to members of Berks County’s legislative delegation.
Three projects received $175,000 in grant funding through the Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program to support recreation improvement efforts. Three other projects received $1.37 million in Multimodal Transportation Fund grants, according to Sen. Judy Schwank (D-11th district), Reading Mayor Eddie Morán and Reps. Gary Day (R-187th district), Mark Rozzi (D-126th district), Mark Gillen (R-128th district) and Manny Guzman (D-127th district).
Multimodal Transportation Fund Grants
- Borough of Kutztown, Infrastructure Improvements, Park and Walk Project, $674,844
“This funding will assist Kutztown with their multi-faceted plan to make the borough even easier to navigate for pedestrians and motorists,” Schwank said. “Their plan includes ADA improvements, crosswalk upgrades, traffic signal improvements and more. I commend Kutztown’s local officials for their vision and foresight to pursue a project to make an already friendly borough more welcoming for residents and visitors alike.”
“Kutztown is one of the most walkable boroughs in Berks,” Day said. “I’m pleased to see the borough will receive the funds to further improve its walkability and safety for both pedestrians and motorists alike.”
- City of Reading, Buttonwood Gateway West MTF Project, $375,000
“This is an excellent example of government and private sector partners working together to revitalize a neighborhood at one of the gateway entrances to the city,” Schwank said. “These types of projects provide quality, affordable housing opportunities and will catalyze additional improvements in the area. I am happy to support this initiative.”
“The Buttonwood Gateway West project has long been a goal for city officials and business leaders,” Guzman said. “It would provide affordable neighborhood housing, a community center, a park and a vegetable garden. More projects like this are needed, where community development projects like this one deliver access to affordable housing, schools, health care and jobs.”
“Providing affordable housing to our residents will have long-lasting effects on the City’s quality of life and gives families hope for the future,” Morán said. “These funds will be used to assist low-to-moderate income families realize the dream of home ownership.”
- Mount Penn Borough, Glen Terrace Improvement, $324,189
“As a small community with limited resources, Mount Penn Borough officials have done an excellent job in addressing a temporary solution to a large problem in the Glen Terrace neighborhood,” Schwank said. “This investment of state funds will help the borough provide a long-term solution to the issue which improves accessibility and walkability in the neighborhood and provides a much-needed upgrade to stormwater infrastructure in the area. I commend them for putting together a thorough and competitive application.”
“The Glen Terrace improvement project is the type of project I love to see undertaken in my community because it addresses multiple issues, by repairing damaged stormwater pipelines while improving pedestrian and traffic safety,” Rozzi said. “In the short term, residents will see the necessary removement of pavement and curbing, but in the long term this project provides several positives including correcting stormwater overflows on the roadway, improving traffic and increasing sidewalk longevity. The project will also allow for the rebuilt pavement and curbing to include ADA ramps.”
Act 13 Grants
- Wyomissing Borough, Berkshire Heights Playground Renovation, $60,000
“Playgrounds provide essential outdoor space and recreation opportunities for families and improve the quality of life in communities,” Schwank said. “This project will go a long way in making the Berkshire Heights area and surrounding neighborhoods even more inviting and family friendly. I am pleased to lend my support to this initiative.”
“This project will make vital and much-needed improvements to the Berkshire Heights Playground,” Gillen said. “I’m thrilled to see the borough receive funds to help the playground be more accessible to children and safer for them and their families to gather and play.”
- Schuylkill River Greenway Association, Schuylkill River Trail – Feasibility Study for the Reading to Hamburg Gap, $55,000
“The Schuylkill River Trail is locally and nationally recognized as one of the finest recreation trails around, and that is largely because of the work the Schuylkill River Greenway Association and its partner organizations have done,” Schwank said. “The investment of these state funds will help the organization explore ways to further enhance and expand the trail so even more people can enjoy its amenities.”
“The Schuylkill River Trail helps connect communities throughout our region, providing a recreation resource for numerous neighborhoods and countless residents since the trail winds from Philadelphia to just south of Frackville in Schuylkill County,” Rozzi said. “Approximately 75 miles of the trail is already complete, but this grant will allow for more expansion in Berks County, providing for a feasibility study to connect the trail from Reading through Hamburg.”
- Muhlenberg Township, Laurel Run Creek Riparian Buffer Project, $60,000
“Last year I had the opportunity to walk along Laurel Run with Muhlenberg Township officials to see firsthand the streambanks that have been damaged by erosion,” Schwank said. “This investment of state funds will help the township implement essential repairs to stabilize the streambank, protect surrounding parkland areas and improve stream flow and water quality. It’s a win-win for Muhlenberg Township residents and our environment.”
“This is a necessary and important project for Laurel Run Creek,” Rozzi said. “Riparian buffer projects allow valuable waterways to recover by restoring the creek to its more natural state. Other projects in Berks County and the region have helped control erosion and creek runoff, while limiting the amount of some pollutants – and when combined with increased vegetation or even native grasses, the project will enhance and protect our valuable natural resources.”
The Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program is funded through the Act 13—Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund and is administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.