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HARRISBURG, PA-Gov. Ed Rendell has dipped into the $625-million Growing Greener II, voter-approved bond issue to award an aggregate of $23 million to 242 different recreation and conservation projects all across the state. The recipients in this round were culled from 436 applications seeking more than $69 million.

Those chosen fund 50 trails, 49 planning projects for regional efforts, 53 sports courts and fields, and 59 playgrounds. Philadelphia County is the largest beneficiary with an aggregate of approximately $1.6 million split among four entities. Of those, the city itself is granted $600,000 for the renovation and further development of three parks: Cedar, Pleasant Hill and Three Bears, a children’s park in Society Hill. This represents the largest single grant of all 242.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is granted $250,000 for renovation of its landscape. Another $300,000 is granted to the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development for the Greenway trail through the Navy Yard, and the Schuylkill River Development Corp. obtained $400,000 for development of the Tidal Schuylkill River Trail between the University Avenue and Grays Ferry bridges.

Most individual grants do not exceed five figures. Among the exceptions are $250,000 to the Appalachian Trail Conference for further development of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Cumberland County, and $275,000 to Cheltenham Twp. in Montgomery County for stream bank stabilization at Tookany Creek Park and the control or eradication of the invasive Japanese Knotweed and Honeysuckle species.

Since November 2005, the state has announced $31.5 million in upgrades and improvements to state parks and forests and nearly $14.5 million in open space protection. In a statement announcing the most recent funding, Rendell says the projects “help us preserve and enhance the tremendous opportunities we have … to connect with the great outdoors.”

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