Sappey, Comitta and DCNR Announces State Investment in Public Recreation and Natural Resource Protection in Chester County

Harrisburg, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today announced $1.2 million in federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant funding for the acquisition of Starr Farm in East Bradford Township, Chester County.

“With more and more people turning to the outdoors since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to support land acquisitions of this nature that help expand outdoor recreation opportunities in Pennsylvania communities,” Dunn said. “This grant will help ensure current and future generations can have nearby access to a large, beautiful park and I look forward to seeing the impact this acquisition has in East Bradford Township and for Chester County at large.”

With help from the grant, funding from the Chester County Preservation Partnership Program, and its own investment, the township will acquire the deed to the 156-acre property, which includes a half-mile stretch of West Valley Creek, for natural resource conservation and passive recreational public use and enjoyment. The township will manage the property as part of a 477-acre complex of contiguous public parkland under the township's jurisdiction.

“The acquisition of the 156-acre addition to the Starr Farm Park caps an over two-decade program of perpetually protecting the Paradise Valley and Harmony Hill Conservation Area, including virtually all of the remaining open spaces between the East Branch of the Brandywine and Valley Creek,” said Vince Pompo, chair of the East Bradford Township Board of Supervisors. “This would not have been possible without the continuing support of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, DCNR, Chester County, many conservation organizations, and mostly, the residents of East Bradford.”

DCNR provides grants to myriad projects across the commonwealth annually. Its Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants can fund:

  • Planning, acquisition, and development of public parks and recreation areas
  • Motorized and non-motorized trails
  • River conservation and access
  • Heritage areas and facilities
  • Conservation of critical habitat, natural areas and open space

Eligible applicants for these grants include counties, municipalities, municipal agencies, nonprofit organizations, state heritage areas, prequalified land trusts, and for-profit enterprises (for some grant types). Grant funding for the program comes from a variety of state funding sources including Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, Environmental Stewardship Fund, ATV and Snowmobile Management Restricted Accounts, Pennsylvania Heritage Area Program and federal sources including the Recreational Trails Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. DCNR selects the most appropriate funding source based on the applicant and proposed project.

“The preservation of the historic Starr Farm property in East Bradford adds to our ongoing commitment to conserving our natural resources for all people, including generations yet to come,” Sen. Carolyn Comitta (D-19) said. Increased opportunities for outdoor recreation and access to more open space leads to healthier communities, stronger environmental stewardship, and an overall better quality of life for families and children. I look forward to seeing our friends, neighbors, and visitors enjoy Starr Farm and the thousands of additional acres we’ve succeeded in saving here in Chester County.”

More than 220 land acquisition projects have been awarded under the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, leading to the permanent protection of 37,000 acres of publicly accessible open space across the commonwealth.

“This acquisition is particularly important because of the connection it makes to other preserved historic lands,” Rep. Christina Sappey (D-158) said. “The residents of East Bradford have made a commitment to open space and I’m proud to stand with them to support this funding. Protecting this land provides opportunities for the public to use and enjoy the unaltered beauty that has existed here for centuries.”

Learn more about DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnership Program grants on the DCNR website.