Montgomery County Invests $2.5 Million in Sustainable Community Projects

montco 2040 implementation grant program

The grant program has awarded nearly $17.8 million to 140 projects in 53 Montgomery County municipalities. (Credit: Montgomery Co. PA Gov't)

by | Jun 10, 2024

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The Montgomery County Commissioners have announced that 13 projects across the county will receive grants from the Montco 2040 Implementation Grant Program. This year’s grants total just under $2.5 million, chosen from 23 applications that requested over $4 million in funding.

“In this ninth year of grant funding, the County continues to receive innovative applications aimed at implementing the County’s comprehensive plan, Montco 2040: A Shared Vision,” said Jamila H. Winder, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “These grant awards will assist municipalities in making targeted physical improvements that achieve real progress toward the goals of the plan and its themes of Connected Communities, Sustainable Places, and Vibrant Economy.”

Projects were evaluated based on impact, equity, county and local planning consistency, project readiness, and local project funding. Enhanced consideration was given to projects addressing one of three focus categories 2024: Walk Montco and Bike Montco – Trails, Paths, Sidewalk Connections and Bike Facilities; Downtown and Community Destination Support; and Adaptation and Resiliency.

“The latest $2.5 million in Montco 2040 grants shows our commitment to sustainable, livable, vibrant communities in every corner of Montgomery County,” said Commissioner Neil Makhija. “From investments in solar installations to parks and trails to infrastructure for ADA accessibility and climate resiliency, we think government’s job is to plan for the future for all of our residents. I can’t wait to see these projects completed as quickly as possible in collaboration with our municipalities.”

Commissioner Thomas DiBello added, “I’m confident the grants awarded this year are aligned with our goals to maintain Montgomery County’s natural beauty and community bonds. These projects will ensure municipalities across the County are more accessible to their residents and more conducive to local business and tourism.”

2024 Grant Awards Breakdown

The grant program has awarded nearly $17.8 million to 140 projects in 53 Montgomery County municipalities. The 13 projects awarded grants in 2024 are:

  • Abington Township – Ardsley Wildlife Sanctuary Phase 2 ($151,645)
  • Collegeville Borough – Bum’s Hollow Perkiomen Trail Connection ($250,000)
  • Hatfield Township – Clemens Park Stormwater Basin ($200,000)
  • Lower Gwynedd Township – Penllyn Train Station Trail Connection ($250,000)
  • Lower Merion Township – Ludington Library Solar Installation Project ($250,000)
  • Lower Salford Township—Yoder Road Sidewalk Connections Project ($113,650)
  • Pottstown Borough – Sidewalk Replacement and Tree Protection Project ($250,000)
  • Red Hill Borough – Parks Improvement Phase I (ADA) ($229,230)
  • Royersford Borough—Victory Park Improvements—Phase II ($73,500)
  • Trappe Borough – Speaker’s House Restoration ($250,000)
  • Upper Moreland Township – Woodlawn Park Development ($225,000)
  • Whitemarsh Township – Spring Mill Junction Improvements ($228,552)
  • Whitpain Township – Bike Fix-it Stations and Bike Racks ($10,374)

Hydropower Initiative at Norristown Dam

In addition to these grants, Montgomery County has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to install four turbines at the Norristown Dam to generate renewable energy. The project, which could produce enough electricity to power 3,000 homes, aims to use most energy for county-owned buildings, including the new justice center in Norristown.

“The widespread flooding in Bridgeport during Hurricane Ida in 2021 was a wake-up call to move more quickly away from fossil fuels,” said Commissioner Makhija. “We hope to inspire others to transition to clean energy and educate residents on the local impact of climate change.”

The dam, spanning the Schuylkill between Norristown and Bridgeport, was identified as a potential hydroelectric site by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oakridge National Laboratory in 2012. Improved hydropower technology has made the project more viable, with county officials seeking a licensing exemption for projects under 10 MW, which is less expensive and time-consuming than traditional permits.

If granted, the county would seek a private partner to build the hydropower station, which could be operational by 2028. The project, estimated at $30 million, would be financed through grants and renewable energy credits, supported by federal initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act.

“We’re able to move forward in a way that makes sense and help us draw clean energy and reduce carbon emissions,” said Makhija.

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