4 county towns to get nearly $200,000 in DVRPC grants
By: Danielle Camilli
Online : phillyBurbs.com
PALMYRA - Four Burlington County towns will receive nearly $200,000 in grant money from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
The Burlington County Bridge Commission, which helped secure the grants, announced the awards to Burlington City, Mansfield, Mount Laurel and Palmyra on Thursday. The commission helps communities with grant writing as one of its shared-services initiatives as the county's improvement authority and economic development and regional planning office.
The funds were available through the DVRPC's Transportation and Community Development Initiative, which supports local development and redevelopment efforts, and provides money for municipalities to implement local planning objectives, officials said.
"Without these grant funds, the City of Burlington would have been unable to fund the amendments to our zoning ordinance to reflect our new master plan, making it more difficult to attract new businesses to the city and continue revitalizing our downtown," Mayor Jim Fazzone said.
The city received a $64,000 grant for the zoning update recommended in its new master plan, officials said. Mansfield was awarded $50,000 to be used to update its master plan, and Mount Laurel will use its $32,000 grant to develop a bikeway plan that will connect with the Rancocas Greenway, officials said.
Palmyra also received $32,000 and will explore traffic-calming measures to address speed and other issues along Broad Street from the Riverton border to Route 73. Mayor Karen Scheffler said she was grateful for the money and application assistance.
"Palmyra will now be able to examine new opportunities to improve our downtown and attract new business into the community," Scheffler said.
Applications were prepared by Community Grants, Planning and Housing of East Windsor, which was hired by the commission. The firm has garnered nearly $14 million in funding for Burlington County municipalities from state, federal and private sector grants and low-interest loan programs.
Officials said the grants pay for projects that otherwise would not be done or would have been paid for with tax dollars. "Municipalities get funding for their projects, and because the commission underwrites the cost of the grant applications, the funding comes at no cost to the municipalities," Commission Chairman John Comegno said. "Whether it's saving our toll payers from a toll increase or bringing economic relief to financially strapped towns and their taxpayers, the Bridge Commission is determined to be a good neighbor."
The commission owns and operates the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol bridges, and, through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists county municipalities with projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits.
March 11, 2012