June 18, 2014
On behalf of the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition and the twelve state-designated heritage areas, we want to thank you for passing the Heritage Areas Program legislation.
This legislation makes what was merely a concept within the DCNR into a full-fledged program, something the Heritage Areas managers appreciate greatly.
The PA Growing Greener Coalition teamed up with the heritage areas because we recognized the economic value they bring to the Commonwealth. With their emphasis on economic development, tourism and partnership collaboration, the heritage areas are an essential piece of the collective identity of the state.
What the legislation did not do was provide a dedicated source of funding for the program. Prior to last year when the General Assembly restored their line-item, the program had been zeroed out the previous five years.
With no dedicated line-item, the heritage areas must then compete in the DCNR Partnership Program with a very diverse group of organizations who are seeking funds for single projects such as land conservation, rails to trail projects, community parks and recreational projects, feasibility studies, along with a slew of other projects. While the DCNR has worked hard to fund the heritage areas through this grant vehicle, it severely limits the heritage areas’ ability to implement the broad spectrum of projects, programs and services they undertake in their very multi-faceted work plans which serve a large population of your constituents.
We have to change this. Just as you rightly restored the program last year, we are urging you to put $3 million in the line-item this year. That is our short-term fix. For the long-term, we need to find a dedicated source of revenue.
Lastly, please consider joining the more than three-dozen other House members who have written to Chairman Adolph calling for the $3 million line-item restoration. This is a challenging year and we need your help.
Once again, thank you for your support and thank you for your vote.