DELCO Green Ways Grant Program

DELCO GREEN ways grant program


Something epic is happening in Delaware County. That’s right, epic. The Delco Green Ways Grant Program is driving the future of green space, trails, and recreation for Delco residents while elevating the County’s system as a unified whole.  

Delaware County Council announced the second round of its popular municipal grant program for open space, trails, and recreation at its council meeting on June 16. The grant program, Delco Green Ways makes funds available to municipalities for projects that advance the County’s 2035 Open Space, Recreation and Greenway Plan goals: Conserve, Enhance, ConnectDelco Green Ways has been lauded for its ease, propelling communities to get wish-list projects funded and completed. Good news: this easy grant program just got easier!

Building upon the success of the first grant round, Grant Round Two has been further tailored to meet the unique needs of Delaware County’s people and places. Enhancements made were driven by the guidance of the Delco Green Space Task Force (GSTF), which was convened in 2021 by County Council. The Task Force is comprised of thought-leader volunteers who represent the fabric of Delco and share expertise in the fields of green space preservation, natural lands conservation, parks and recreation management, fundraising, economics, business, real estate, law, health, communications, and community organizing. This group has been tasked with guiding the County’s vision and policy direction for green space. Based on the recommendation of the GSTF, the County made the following changes to the grant guidelines:

  • No match required –– use your Green Ways funds to be the match for other grant opportunities

  • Non-profits can apply with a municipal partner

  • New Mini-Plan grant opportunity to expand and support planning efforts

  • Conserve projects for conservation easements now require public benefit, versus public access

  • Enhance projects now allow 15% of the total project cost to be used for planning and design

  • Connect projects for trail engineering to allow up to $250,000 cap

  • Inclusion of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Indicators of Potential Disadvantage (IDP) scores to support communities in need

The objective of Delco’s Green Ways program is to advance the County’s goals of conserving green spaces, connecting the County with safe places to bicycle and walk, and enhancing public parks for people of all ages, interests, and abilities –– for a more unified countywide system. As such, the theme of the grant round this year is Unity. To increase unity-oriented projects and boost capacity building, the County is incentivizing partnerships and Planning. A foundational program feature includes an innovative Mini-Municipal Parks, Recreation, & Open Space (PROS) Plan grant opportunity for communities with a population under 8,000, or with an area of 1.5 square miles or less.

Eligible municipal or multi-municipal projects may include fee simple acquisition of land, conservation or trail easements on private land, capital improvements to existing public parkland, regreening efforts, construction of trails, and planning services such as comprehensive open space plans, feasibility studies, design, and engineering plans. 


Pre-Application Information, Grant Guidelines

Sample Standard Application

Sample Mini-PROS Plan Application

Project Evaluation Criteria

Please note the application period opens August 27 and closes September 13. The full application will be available on the County’s website in August –– check back then. We are providing you with sample application materials now so that you can get started preparing a project to submit and see what you will need to provide once the application period opens.

  • June 16, 2021. Delaware County Council announces the opening of Grant Round 2.

  • June 17 - September 13, 2021. Application materials available on Delaware County’s website.

  • July 13 & July 14, 2021. Zoom meetings for Questions and Answers about the grant round.

  • August 2021. Information about how to submit an application will be on the County website.
August 27, 2021 - September 13, 2021. Municipalities and non-profit organizations in partnership with a municipality submit their applications.

  • September 13 - October 12, 2021. Delaware County Greenways Team evaluates and ranks applications.

  • October 2021. Delaware County Council reviews Green Ways Teams recommendations and makes announcement of grant awards.

  • October - December 2021 Delaware County Planning Department assists grantees with grant finalization
  • January - April 2022. Grantees can pursue DCNR funding with their Green Ways grant as a match.

  • January - May 2022. Grantees can pursue DCED funding with their Green Ways grant as a match

The source of funding was a recommendation of the 2016 Open Space Task Force, which moved County Council to authorize a $10 million bond allocation for open space in the County, which includes the Delco Green Ways grants to municipalities. Council is delivering on the commitment to invest in our shared spaces. Through this bond, the County has funded initiatives important to you and your community. With the June 16 announcement of Grant Round 2, more transformational projects are on their way to making a positive impact on your Delco experience.  

This program is seeding projects that will provide enormous benefit to you and your family:
Opportunities for residents to enjoy the health benefits of recreation in the great outdoors.
Ecological services provided by green space.
Strengthened community through shared connection and access to safe, outdoor spaces that allow for social distancing.
Economic activity and increased property values.

    The inaugural grant round, with awards announced in October 2019, awarded $4.5 million –– leveraging $20 million in matching funds –– to support 102 acres of preserved green space, 7.3 miles of trail development, 18 parks and recreation improvements, and 8 professional services projects (planning, engineering, and/or design). Awards went to the 26 municipalities who applied, totaling 38 grants.

      Table of Round 1 Awarded Projects

      Map of Round 1 Grant Locations

The appetite for investment in public spaces has never been stronger as people seek refuge and connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. The County is enthusiastic about the opportunity to elevate and support the important planning and public works of each of the unique communities that comprise Delaware County.

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About Delaware County

Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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