State gives $650K to improve parks, trails around York County

Some of York County's green spaces will soon see a major face lift, thanks to grant money awarded through the state's Community Conservation Partnerships Program.

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources designated more than $650,000 for recreational improvement projects in the county, including two community parks, an open space plan and the Hanover Trolley Trail.

A family walks with their dog on the Hanover Trolley Trail, which covers a section in Hanover and Penn Township and a section in Spring Grove and Jackson Township.

It was awarded through a grant program, administered by the department's Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, which provides assistance to local governments as well as river and trail organizations, land trusts and other nonprofits, according to a news release.

More:York County Parks to mark 50 years with dinner, auction

More:York City park gets $9K renovation with help of donated funds, labor and supplies

Parks improvement: State Rep. Kate Klunk, R-Hanover, announced $321,800 was awarded to Hanover and Shrewsbury Township, according to a Nov. 16 news release from spokesman Greg Gross.

Shrewsbury Township will receive a $281,800 grant to update Miller Park with new pavilions, horseshoe pits and rain gardens; playground areas with required safety surfacing; improved Americans with Disabilities Act access; and other improvements.

And Hanover will receive a $40,000 grant to prepare a "comprehensive recreation, park and open space plan," the release states.

The plan is a blueprint to renovate all 10 of the borough's parks — including baseball and softball fields — which haven't been updated in four to five decades, said borough manager Michael Bowersox.

Having a plan will provide specifics for future grant applications, he said, and give the borough a chance to incorporate green stormwater infrastructure with its downtown revitalization streetscape project.

More:Hanover-based builder bringing 240 luxury apartment units to York Twp.

The comprehensive recreation plan will be presented in public meetings and voted on by the council in 2019, he said.

Trolley trail: The Pennsylvania House of Representatives announced an additional $336,800 CCPP grant for the Hanover Trolley Trail and Spring Grove Community Park via Reps. Klunk, Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, and Sen.-elect Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township, according to a second release from Gross.

Of that amount, the York County Rail Trail Authority will receive a $181,800 grant to extend the trolley trail — with the money funding the acquisition of more than 48 acres in Heidelberg, Jackson and North Codorus townships and Spring Grove.

A dormant section of railroad that will be removed and cleared of brush to extend the Hanover Trolley Trail

More:Heritage Rail Trail under construction in Springettsbury Township

More:$2 million secured for Heritage Rail Trail extension

It will cover half the cost of an 8.45-mile stretch of dormant rail line from the Genesee & Wyoming York Railway Corp., the release states.

Once the land is purchased, the railway corporation is expected to remove the rail and allow the authority to develop the land into a trail that would run parallel to Oil Creek — connecting the two sections of the current trail, said Gwen Loose, the authority's executive director.

A completed section of the Hanover Trolley Trail in Spring Grove and Jackson Township

A 2-mile section in Hanover and Penn Township and 2-mile section in Spring Grove and Jackson Township were completed in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

“This dormant rail line would connect the two completed sections and offer opportunities to expand toward Bair (Road) in West Manchester Township,” Loose stated in the news release.

As it is now, the trail is not long enough for cyclists, so the expanded trail — which will include several small bridges — will open up multi-use opportunities  and be a draw for more residents outside the community, she said.

Loose said the authority expects to finalize the purchase by the end of 2019, and in 2020 it plans to procure grant money to construct the trail within three to five years, installing it in phases along the way. 

Tori Hill, 7, and brother Teddy Hill, 9, of Spring Grove play with 11-week old Sonny, a Cavachon, while the Hill's Lucy wanders up at right to see what's going on.  "Paws, Pubs & Grubs" event Sunday showcased the recent additions to Spring Grove Community Park, including a sand volleyball court, basketball court, and a dog park. Local food trucks served lunch while visitors listened to live music. Local brewers showed off their creations in the beer and wine garden area.  Bil Bowden photo

More:Spring Grove divided over fate of community center

Community park: Spring Grove also will receive a $155,000 grant for its community park, which will fund new pedestrian walkways, a comfort station, stormwater management measures, play equipment with required safety surfacing, a shade structure and utilities, ADA access, landscaping, a project sign and other site improvements.

"This park is enjoyed by many area residents from beyond Spring Grove,” Grove stated. “These much-needed improvements will ensure the park is a recreational destination for years to come.”