$ 367K in grant money doled out to 18 Lycoming County projects | News, Sports, Jobs

DAVE KENNEDY / Sun-Gazette Ways Garden on West Fourth Street in Williamsport will receive $ 25,000 in Act 13 grant money for restoration.

The awarding of $ 367,960 in Act 13 mini-grants for parks and recreation will not only benefit the residents of the communities where the projects are located, but in some cases over half of the county will be able to enjoy the improvements funded by the grants.

The announcement of the grants was made at a recent meeting of the Lycoming County Commissioners and many of the representatives of the grant recipients were on hand to discuss their plans for the money.

“Most of these projects are borough or township projects. However there are a few nonprofit projects as well that the county looks to fund, “ said Billy Clees, natural resource planner with the county.

“These projects will directly impact the residents of Lycoming County… and then the grant will also benefit people who are visiting or attending events inside the county,” Clees added.

Initially the county had 27 applications, but were only able to fund 18 projects throughout the county.

Projects receiving grant funding are: Lewis Township Trout Run Park playground material, 24,000; Nippenose Township Handicapped Playground Equipment, 12,700; Old Lycoming Township Green Street Park Pavilion, 25,000; East Lycoming Rec Auth. Lawn and Grounds Tractor, 20,000; Hepburn Township Park Walking Path, 7,000; Jersey Shore Inclusive Playground Development, 25,000; Watson Township New Playground Equipment, 25,000; Cummings Township Park Renovation Project, 16,400; Duboistown Toddler Zone, Park Renovation, 12,000; Montoursville Indian Park, Phase Two, 50,000; Montgomery Park Roof Revitalization, 25,000; Jersey Shore YMCA Rail Trail Entrance Mini Park, 12,000; Muncy Basketball Court, 25,000; Lycoming County Softball Assoc. Elm Park Improvements, 25,000; McNett Township Parsons School Rec Center, 10,000; PSU Master Gardeners Plant ID Signage, 3,860; Ways Garden Ways Garden Restoration, 25,000; Firetree Place Rec Center Development, 25,000.

Some of the projects are multi-phased and the grant funding is expected to fund the initial phases.

The changing demographics in DuBoistown Borough made officials take a closer look at the park there, according to Ann Baker, borough manager.

“A lot of the older generation is moving out and we have a lot of younger generation coming in. Where the average age of our residents was 62 four years ago, we’re at 45 now. So you can see the big change, “ Baker said.

The park, where the funds will be utilized, was rarely used, Baker said. In fact, she admitted that when she started working in the borough she wasn’t even aware there was a park.

“No one used it. There’s a daycare in front of it and they use it quite frequently and it didn’t really have a whole lot of equipment, “ she said.

“We have a lot of children with special needs in our borough… they couldn’t go down to the park with their brothers and sisters, because they couldn’t even swing. We’re starting our phase one right now and it was to put a toddler section in, put some stuff in for our special needs residents as well. The second phase we will continue to progress. We’ll still want to try to develop a community park where we can do community events such as Easter egg hunts, things like that, ” she added.

A representative of Cummings Township said that renovations at their park, located in Waterville along the rail trail, are used by “Folks from all over.”

“I just want to say, if you build it they will come. They put in a zipline three years ago and that park went from dead – no children around despite the amazing equipment – to a banging playground where, every single weekend, every day in the summertime, we’ve got people there, ” the spokesperson said.

With the $ 16,400 in grant monies, the plan is to add music equipment for all ages and equipment for people with diverse abilities.

“With this, I hope to combat childhood obesity, which we have quite a bit, as well as trying to entice the children and the parents away from their electronics. A very big challenge, “ she added.

Several of the other projects included adding opportunities for the special needs community.

Lycoming County Softball Association at Elm Park representative Don Noviello, detailed for the commissioners the benefits the fields at the park have had for the community and what is ahead for the city field with the grant award.

“Over the last two years because we have played nearly over 850 softball games per year. In the process of that, our softball families have booked over 4,500 hotel rooms each of those two years, ” Noviello said.

“So we’re proud to suggest that we’re bringing in some revenue for the hotel industry, as well as the other retailers and service providers in our community at the same time.” Noviello said.

The fields at Elm Park are not in “Optimal condition,” Noviello said,

“This particular grant is going to help us rejuvenate some of our needed amenities. We need some upgrades on our equipment, we need some upgrades on our concession stand. We’d like to put some amenities for the younger kids, to give them something to do while the families are playing ball. Our ultimate goal, which we haven’t been able to obtain quite yet, this process will give us a chance to work towards laying down a special needs handicapped field for our community, “ Noviello said.

Lycoming County holds one of the largest Special Olympics in the area, Noviello noted.

“We’d like to segway into that as much as we can and offer an opportunity for that community to have a place to play on a routine and constant basis.” he said.

Act 13 monies are derived from impact fees collected on every well drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale. The monies are then given to counties where the wells are located and are targeted for specific uses such as parks and recreation projects.

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