Six Keystone Fund Projects Honored
Keystone partners from across Pennsylvania, along with Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan and the original 1993 legislative champions, celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund at a special event in the Capitol Rotunda on March 18, 2013.
In recognition of the contributions of the Keystone Fund, the celebration included the presentation of the Keystone 20th Anniversary Awards. The awards recognized exemplary projects in six categories: libraries, recreation, trails, historic preservation, state parks, and conservation.
The Keystone 20th Anniversary Awards were sponsored by the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition, Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, Pennsylvania Library Association, Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation Society, and Preservation Pennsylvania. Winners are:
Trails – D & L Trail, Wyoming, Delaware, and Lehigh Counties. Presented to the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc. The D & L Trail provides convenient recreation for 1.65 million residents in five counties and connects 60 communities from Wilkes Barre to Philadelphia. The trail, which interprets one of the nation’s early transportation corridors, contributes nearly $20 million to the regional economy annually. The Keystone Fund has invested $1.3 million in the creation of the trail.
Parks and Recreation – Columbia Riverfont Park, Columbia Borough, Lancaster County. Presented to the Borough of Columbia, Lancaster County. Columbia River Park received $1.03 million in Keystone funds for park revitalization and expansion. The project consists of an enlarged boat ramp, a canoe and kayak ramp and increased parking. The project also includes a new Park and Trail Services building complete with restrooms and kiosk area, porous paving and sidewalks, rain gardens, a boat dock, pavilion and a handicapped accessible dock, benches and picnic benches.
Historic Preservation – Pearl S. Buck House, Perkasie, Bucks County. Presented to Pearl S. Buck International. Home to the Nobel Prize winning author and philanthropist, the Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie served as her home and as the headquarters for her foundation Pearl S. Buck International. The author used her influence as a writer to help children across the world through adoption, sponsorships, and in-country programs. $115,000 of Keystone Fund grants helped support the $2.8 million preservation of the historic Pearl S. Buck House. The funds were instrumental in leveraging other private and public funding to restore the house, which was at risk of closing its doors because of safety issues, structural problems, significant water damage, and general disrepair. The third and final phase of the restoration of the house is currently underway and a grand reopening is planned for June 26, 2013, also Pearl S. Buck’s 121st birthday.
Library – Scottdale Public Library, Scottdale, Westmoreland Counties. Presented to Scottdale Public Library. The Scottdale Public Library received $500,000 in Keystone Fund grants to help build a new 10,000 square foot, $1.3 million library in the heart of the downtown on the site of the former YMCA. Construction of the new and expanded building allowed the library to end an expensive lease for outdated space and to begin serving two nearby townships that were previously unserved. The new handicapped-accessible library—which features 12 computer stations, a teen room, a community room, and a garden—truly serves as the community center of Scottdale and the region.
Conservation – White Rocks Acquisition, Cumberland County. Presented to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The Keystone Fund helped the Appalachian Trail Conservancy purchase 850 acres of unbroken forest along the South Mountain Ridge in Cumberland County. The acquisition preserves wildlife habitat and stunning views for the public. It also protects drinking water and greatly improves public access to the Appalachian Trail. The Keystone Fund investment of $1.6 million leveraged a like amount in private contributions and federal money.
State Parks – Ryerson Station State Park Swimming Pool, Richhill Township, Greene County. Presented to Ryerson Station State Park Swimming Pool. The Ryerson Station project was chosen to show one example of how the Keystone Fund was used to improve accessibility in state parks and state forests. Improvements at Ryerson Station included the installation of a pool lift to provide access to the water. The Ryerson Station pool is the only free swimming pool in Greene County.