Caption: The outhouse building at the Damascus Forest received new siding and a roof through the PA grant funds.
NARROWSBURG – The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is making its first direct investment in the Upper Delaware River Valley thanks to the efforts of PA State Representative Jonathan Fritz who helped the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) to secure a $100,000 grant.
The recently-approved funding will support a multi-faceted series of projects by the non-profit organization and its five PA local government members under the title of “Upper Delaware Council Townships, Technology & Sustainability.”
The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is administering the grant which carries a contractual term of July 1, 2019 (retroactive to the start of PA’s fiscal year) through December 31, 2021.
“I am truly pleased that the Upper Delaware Council has been able to realize some much-needed dollars in order to complete key projects in multiple municipalities and furthering the shared mission of being good stewards of our land, resources, and natural assets,” said Rep. Fritz (111th District).
PA Senator Lisa Baker (20th District) and Rep. Mike Peifer (139th District) provided their strong advocacy for the grant as a legislative team with Rep. Fritz.
Nearly three-quarters of the funding at $72,123.09 will be passed through to the UDC’s member townships in PA based on the Council’s solicitation of proposals for the following community improvement needs:
Damascus ($15,000) – A 320 square foot addition to the Community Center will be constructed to allow expansion of the Damascus Food Pantry. The township will also renovate the restroom outhouse building at the Damascus Forest public hiking trail.
Berlin ($15,000) – The township will improve its municipal website and upgrading its security camera system; restore the “Beech Lake” Keystone historic marker; renovate the message board, replace the property line fence, and pave the parking lot at the Berlin Township Community Center; and purchase a vehicle-mounted distance measuring instrument for road project bidding use.
Shohola ($15,000) – Shohola Township will dedicate its funding toward replacing the roof of its Municipal Building.
Lackawaxen ($15,000) – The Care Cabin Food Pantry located on township property and run by the Growing Lackawaxen non-profit organization will receive financial support for the balance owed on its September 2019 construction, and benefit from purchasing shelving for the storage of provisions, a laptop computer, desk, chair, and printer.
Westfall ($12,123.09) – The parking lot of the Township Building will be repaired and resurfaced to improve safe access and add new spaces to accommodate the move of the Eastern Pike Police Department into the lower level of the municipal building.
The Upper Delaware Council will fund two new projects, as well as invest in technological upgrades for the business office.
The first project is to allocate $3,000 to subsidize the hiring of a coordinator for the first-ever Upper Delaware Litter Sweep, a volunteer-powered trash clean-up within the land-based portion of the Upper Delaware Watershed to be held on April 22-25, 2020 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
The second UDC project will allocate $10,678.47 to commission a long-term business plan for economic sustainability to guide the organization’s fiscal operations and explore how to diversify funding sources.
Technology and presentation services at a total of $7,198.44 will enable the UDC to update four desktop computers from Windows 7 to the Windows 10 operating system; purchase three laptop computers and carrying cases for the staff’s portable use; buy a multimedia projector cart, projection screen, and laser pointer for educational presentations; and install a professional conference phone with a 20-foot wireless range.
The final $7,000 of the $100,000 grant award will cover the cost for a required government project audit of this funding program by Eckersley and Ostrowski LLP, CPAs, of Scranton, PA.
UDC board members had a joint meeting with Rep. Fritz, PA Rep. Peifer, and an aide for Senator Baker on Feb. 8, 2019 to inform them about the consistent lack of operational support from both PA and New York State despite the 60% Federal/40% States’ cost-sharing ratio outlined in the 1986 River Management Plan for the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.
The federal government through the U.S. Department of the Interior has allocated $300,000 per year as a line item in the budget of the National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River without any inflationary adjustment to fund the Council, but neither the Commonwealth of PA nor the State of New York has ever contributed their respective anticipated $100,000 shares.
The Pennsylvania Code, as a follow-up to gubernatorial Executive Orders dating back to 1989, legislatively recognizes the Commonwealth’s participation in the federal designation of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River which established the UDC in 1988 to coordinate implementation of the River Management Plan by the federal-state-local cooperative partnership.
The UDC represents the interest of eight New York State towns in addition to the five PA townships. Buckingham and Manchester Townships in Wayne County, PA are included in the geographic boundaries of the Congressionally-designated river corridor but have opted against joining the UDC to date. Otherwise, those townships would be eligible to participate in this grant program.
For more information, please contact UDC Executive Director Laurie Ramie at (845) 252-3022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.