Beach Boon – Grants for rec projects in county target Conneaut Lake upgrades

The Meadville Tribune
Friday, October 17, 2014

CONNEAUT LAKE  ̶  Thanks to another grant of nearly $400,000, Conneaut Lake moved another step closer to securing the funds needed to revitalize its downtown.

Recreation projects in Crawford County will receive grants totaling $415,000 from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program (CCPP), Republican Sen. Bob Robbins of the 50th District announced.

Among the grants is $375,000 heading to Conneaut Lake Borough.  

Conneaut Lake receives the funds for rehabilitation and further development of Fireman’s Beach.  The work includes construction of a boat ramp, pedestrian walkways, access road and rain gardens, parking areas, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access, landscaping and other site improvements.

“This is a great investment by the state in the development of these recreational areas,” Robbins said.  “This is another example of the state partnering with local communities to improve the quality of life for the residents of Crawford County.”

This is the second grant specifically targeted toward Fireman’s Beach improvements.  This follows the December 2013 award of a $400,000 grant from the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for related upgrades.

“This funding demonstrates the commonwealth’s commitment to the Conneaut Lake Borough revitalization project,” said Bill Eldridge, chairman of the Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee (CLCDC).  “Construction work will be scheduled to minimize disruption of summer beach activities and therefore may not begin until September 2015 or possibly spring of 2016.”

The Fireman’s Beach improvements are among a $20 million downtown Conneaut Lake revitalization project that the CLCDC reported could begin in October 2015.

No timetable has been set for how long it will take to complete the multi-year project, but with about $2.5 million already received in grant money, the CLCDC was confident about moving forward with the engineering phase of the project about two months ago.

The contract for the engineering design work has been awarded to E.G.&G., which is based in Ohio, Eldridge reported about two months ago.  The project includes major upgrades to Fireman’s Beach and the business district on Water Street and side streets from Ice House Park to Fourth Street in the borough.

Upgrades include improvements in the infrastructure of the business district, including stormwater management, underground utility lines, fixing sidewalks and curbs, and other such changes to not only improve the town aesthetic appeal, but also make it safer for pedestrians.

Conneaut Lake has also received a $75,000 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant, which is expected to produce a public art trail connecting the downtown business district to Ice House Park and Fireman’s Beach.  The grant was secured this past summer.

Also receiving a grant from the CCPP was Cambridge Springs Borough, which gets $40,000 for further development of Cambridge Area Recreation Park, including construction of a comfort station, installation of utilities, ADA access, landscaping and other site improvements.

The CCPP provides financial and technical assistance to local governments, land trusts, river and trail organizations and other nonprofit organizations for the planning, acquisition and development of park, recreation, conservation and greenway areas.