Released: June 18, 2021
Delaware County Council announced the second round of its popular municipal grant program for open space, trails, and recreation at its council meeting on June 16. The grant program, Delco Green Ways makes funds available to municipalities for projects that advance the County’s 2035 Open Space, Recreation and Greenway Plan goals: Conserve, Enhance, Connect. Delco Green Ways has been lauded for its ease, propelling communities to get wish-list projects funded and completed. Good news: this easy grant program just got easier!
Building upon the success of the first grant round, Grant Round Two has been further tailored to meet the unique needs of Delaware County’s people and places. Enhancements made were driven by the guidance of the Delco Green Space Task Force (GSTF), which was convened in 2021 by County Council. The Task Force is comprised of thought-leader volunteers who represent the fabric of Delco and share expertise in the fields of green space preservation, natural lands conservation, parks and recreation management, fundraising, economics, business, real estate, law, health, communications, and community organizing. This group has been tasked with guiding the County’s vision and policy direction for green space. Based on the recommendation of the GSTF, the County made the following changes to the grant guidelines:
No match required
Non-profits can apply with a municipal partner
New Mini-Plan grant opportunity to expand and support planning efforts (DCNR vetted)
Conserve projects for conservation easements now require public benefit, versus public access
Enhance projects now allow 15% of the total project cost to be used for planning and design
Connect projects for trail engineering to allow up to $250,000 cap
Inclusion of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Indicators of Potential Disadvantage (IDP) scores to support communities in need
The source of funding was a recommendation of the 2016 Open Space Task Force, which moved County Council to authorize a $10 million bond allocation for open space in the County, which includes the Delco Green Ways grants to municipalities.
The objective of Delco’s Green Ways program is to advance the County’s goals of conserving green spaces, connecting the County with safe places to bicycle and walk, and enhancing public parks for people of all ages, interests, and abilities –– for a more unified countywide system. As such, the theme of the grant round this year is Unity. To increase unity-oriented projects and boost capacity building, the County is incentivizing partnerships and Planning. A foundational program feature includes an innovative Mini-Municipal Parks, Recreation, & Open Space Plan (PROSP) grant opportunity for communities with a population under 8,000, or with an area of 1.5 square miles or less.
Eligible municipal or multi-municipal projects may include fee simple acquisition of land, conservation or trail easements on private land, capital improvements to existing public parkland, regreening efforts, construction of trails, and planning services such as comprehensive open space plans, feasibility studies, design, and engineering plans.
A list of eligible project types and associated funds can be found in the program Guidelines.
The complete program Guidelines and a sample of the Grant Applications are available on the Delco Green Ways Grant Program webpage. The application period opens August 27 and closes September 13. Awards will be announced by October 20.