Alexandria Borough is a small community in Huntingdon County, home to 400 residents. As a native of Alexandria Borough, Mayor Ronald Gorsuch recognized the need for his community to replace the antiquated and unsafe playground equipment in the borough’s only park. Furthermore, he recognized the need to provide young residents with a safe place to play that was within walking distance of home. The mayor wanted to ensure that children did not have to travel to neighboring Porter Township just to have a safe place to play.
In 2003, Mayor Gorsuch approached the Borough Council seeking approval to search for grant funding to rehabilitate the park and replace the equipment. He was referred to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Recreation and Conservation (DCNR) website, where he learned that the Keystone Fund could help him accomplish his goal.
Mayor Gorsuch then contacted the Bureau’s regional office and requested that a park and recreation advisor meet with him on-site to discuss the project and assist the borough in applying for the Keystone Grant funding. As a result of the mayor’s diligence, Alexandria Borough received a Small Community Grant for $25,000. The borough supplied $5,000 in matching funds. The project was completed in 2007.
Keystone Fund money is used for recreation facility development projects under DCNR’s Small Communities Program. Only municipalities with populations of 5,000 and under are eligible for the Small Communities Program. The total project cost cannot exceed $60,000. These impactful projects typically include the installation of playgrounds, pavilions, and walkways. The Small Communities Program uses an 80% state/20% local match. This means that grant awards can be made up to $48,000, which would require a local match of $12,000. Small Community Projects that have a total project cost of $20,000 or less are eligible to receive full funding with no local match requirements.
Mayor Gorsuch wanted to complete a project to help the community before he left office. Thanks to his efforts, children now have a safe place to play. What’s more, the home values of adjacent property owners also have increased. None of this would have been possible without support from the Keystone Fund.