Chester County Supports Growing Greener

For Immediate Release: June 16, 2011

Renew Growing Greener Coalition Applauds Chester County for Resolution Calling for Renewal of State Funding to Protect Environment
Chester County Joins Nearly 90 Municipalities and Counties Urging Support for Growing Greener

(WEST CHESTER, PA) The Renew Growing Greener Coalition today applauded the Chester County Board of Commissioners for passing a resolution calling for the renewal of Growing Greener, the state’s primary source of funding to help local communities preserve open space and farmland, protect water quality, and enhance parks, trails and recreational opportunities.

“Funding for Growing Greener will dry up unless the state Legislature and Governor Corbett act now to renew it,” said Andrew Heath, Executive Director of the Renew Growing Greener Coalition.  “County Commissioners and Pennsylvanians from across the Commonwealth understand the incredible importance of renewing funding to the Environmental Stewardship Fund for Growing Greener in order to ensure families have access to clean drinking water, fresh air and green open spaces.”

“Growing Greener has provided tremendous support for preservation and conservation efforts throughout Chester County,” said Terence Farrell, chairman of the Chester County Board of Commissioners.  “The Commissioners urge the Governor and the Legislature to renew funding for Growing Greener. Without it, Chester County may not be the special place it is today.”

Growing Greener is a bipartisan program established in 1999 under Governor Tom Ridge and later expanded by Governors Schweiker and Rendell.  Since its establishment, Growing Greener has created a legacy of success, preserving more than 34,000 acres of Pennsylvania’s family farmland, conserving more than 42,300 acres of threatened open space, adding 26,000 acres to state parks and forests, and restoring over 16,000 acres of abandoned mine lands.

Commissioner Kathi Cozzone stated, “The economic benefits of preserving Open Space are very real.  As confirmed in a study conducted by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the GreenSpace Alliance, Open Space preservation creates jobs, brings money into the community, enhances home values, filters drinking water and cleans the air.  In addition, trails, parks and preserves provide low or no cost recreation for citizens, saving money and improving health.  There is certainly a tremendous return on the investment of Growing Greener funds in our communities.”

In 2002, a dedicated source of revenue for Growing Greener was identified in an increase in the state’s “tipping fee,” the fee charged for dumping trash in Pennsylvania’s landfills.  Those funds were supplemented by a $625 million bond approved by voters in 2005, called Growing Greener II. Unless action is taken, Growing Greener I funds will be largely exhausted as of June 30th, with most of the Growing Greener I tipping fees going to the debt service on the Growing Greener II bonds.

“There have been many successful and meaningful projects that the County and our municipalities have been able to implement as a result of utilizing Growing Greener funds,” said Commissioner Ryan Costello.   “We are cognizant that the state budget is under consideration right now, and that times are tough, but we hope our legislature and the Governor will recognize that Growing Greener has been a successful program, and therefore give it worthy consideration, so that if funds are available, Chester County can once again utilize them for more successful projects.”

Growing Greener funds have helped to:

  • Preserve nearly 3,500 acres of working farmland throughout the county.
  • Reduce flooding and minimize stormwater flowing from the athletic fields at Conestoga High School, protecting area streams from pollution carried by water runoff.
  • Restore 2,000 feet of East Branch Chester Creek in East Goshen Township, improving water quality, wildlife habitat and natural vegetation.
  • Acquire 113 acres of land to establish the Peacedale Preserve owned by the Natural Lands Trust and located Franklin Township.
  • Fund the environmental clean up for the River Station redevelopment project on the site of the former Sonoco Products paper plant in Downingtown.
  • Acquire 50 acres to complete the Rushton Woods Preserve where the Willistown Conservation Trust offers several youth outreach programs, a community supported agriculture program, and a center for bird conservation.
  • Support the creation of the Schuylkill River Greenway trail, which will run through Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties and continue into Philadelphia.

Chester County joins nearly 90 other Pennsylvania municipalities and counties in passing a resolution urging the Governor and Legislature to renew Growing Greener funding. Counties passing resolutions include:  Blair, Cambria, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Philadelphia, Pike, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming and York and represent over 5 million Pennsylvanians.

Along with the Chester County Board of Commissioners, the Chester County Planning Commission and the following municipalities have also passed resolutions:

Malvern Borough
Spring City Borough
West Grove Borough
City of Coatesville
Charlestown Township
East Bradford Township
East Brandywine Township
East Caln Township
East Goshen Township
East Nantmeal Township
East Pikeland Township
East Whiteland Township
Easttown Township
Franklin Township
Honeybrook Township
London Britain Township
Londonderry Township
Newlin Township
North Conventry Township
Pennsbury Township
Pocopson Township
Sadsbury Township
Schuylkill Township
West Marlborough Township
West Nantmeal Township
West Sadsbury Township
West Vincent Township
West Whiteland Township
Willistown Township

The Renew Growing Greener Coalition is the Commonwealth’s largest coalition of conservation, recreation and environmental organizations representing over 300 organizations and government entities.   For more information on the Coalition, visit www.RenewGrowingGreener.org.

 

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