Northampton County Open Space Money Deadline Sept. 30
The Morning Call reported yesterday that Northampton County has set a deadline of September 30 for municipalities to submit grant requests through the county’s Open Space Initiative. Thirteen municipalities have been promised funding, but have not used all of their open space allocation — Allen Township, Chapman, East Bangor, Glendon, Hellertown, Lower Mount Bethel, Lower Nazareth, Lower Saucon, Nazareth, Roseto, Upper Nazareth, Williams and Wind Gap. The story reports:
The funds can go toward buying land for parks or developing existing ones.”If they don’t have an application in for a project this round, they will not be able to requisition that money,” Bentzoni said. “With the open space program in such dire straits, this is last call.”
The September deadlines for open space grants have set some localities scrambling to decide on projects, find matching funds and get their applications in. Townships have to come up with 50 percent in matching funds while the cities and boroughs need only a 25 percent match.
In the midst of a poor economy many municipalities have seen general revenue drop or stay flat and for them finding matching funds could pose a problem. But on the flip side, the Great Recession has meant land prices and bids from contractors are down also so communities should get more for their dollars, [county Councilman John] Cusick said.
Some communities dug into their allocation quickly. In March 2006, Bethlehem got a $1,098,734 grant to acquire and develop the South Bethlehem Greenway. Easton spent its $559,209 to buy land and construct the Bushkill Creek Corridor Trail starting with a grant in 2006.
Kudos to the cities in Northampton County that jumped early to use the funding. Hopefully, the other municipalities are able to submit the grant requests by the deadline.