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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 29, 2015 12:24 PM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Heritage Areas Program Act
I am re-introducing legislation to formalize the process for the distribution of funding under the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (DCNR) Heritage Parks line item.

Established in 1989 to help regions capitalize on our unique industrial heritage, the Heritage Parks Program designated twelve geographic regions within Pennsylvania with historical, recreational and cultural value. These Heritage Areas, which are administered and maintained by small, non-profit organizations, have been shown to stimulate community revitalization and economic development through recreation, tourism and other partnerships. Historically, funding for them has been distributed by DCNR via a grant process to parks and recreational areas in the Commonwealth, including the twelve state-designated Heritage Areas.

My legislation would create the Heritage Areas Program Act to do the following:
  • Direct DCNR to distribute equal funding from the Heritage Parks line-item to the twelve Heritage Areas. The areas are directed to use that funding for operating costs, marketing, promotion and coordinating efforts with other agencies and organizations.
  • Authorize the Heritage Areas to provide grants to other entities, including non-profits, governmental entities and private businesses for the purposes of promoting, operating or marketing the area.
The legislation was Senate Bill 1256 last session and previous co-sponsors included Senators Hutchinson, Tomlinson, Argall, Baker, Yudichak, White, Yaw, Alloway, Blake, Vulakovich, Scarnati, McIllhinney, Wozniak, Browne and Mensch.

Introduced as SB954