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Lebanon County Commissioners on Thursday awarded $225,657 in Marcellus Shale grants to 11 applicants.

The county received a total allocation of $248,000 for these grants, so commissioners were able to fund all applications received in full.

This year was atypical, as commissioners normally need to narrow down applicants and/or provide some recipients with less than the requested amount.

The Marcellus Legacy Fund is a state grant program that distributes unconventional gas well impact fees to counties throughout the state.

Grant funds can be used for projects relating to greenways, recreational trails, open space, natural areas, community conservation and beautification, community and heritage parks, and water resource management.

Commissioners review applications for Marcellus Shale grants every two years, as they found that the annual funding was not enough to adequately fund projects.

Individual grant recipients in Lebanon County cannot receive more than $25,000 per project, nor can they receive more than half the cost of the project.

Eight of the grant recipients received $25,000 or nearly that amount. The three exceptions are noted below.

The projects that will receive funding from these grants are as follows:

  • Lebanon County Conservation District: the Envirothon for high school, middle school, and elementary school students for 2023-24.
  • Jackson Township: improvements to Fairlane Avenue Park including two additional pickelball courts and a new swingset.
  • South Lebanon Township: resurface 6,672 feet of pathways in South Hills Park.
  • Clarence Schock Memorial Park at Governor Dick: expand electric service to the observation tower for security lighting and cameras.
  • North Cornwall Township: Snitz Creek Park trail paving to surface existing stone walking path.
  • North Lebanon Township: expand Lenni Lenape walking path.
  • Friends of Coleman Memorial Park ($1,477): plant American chestnut trees and remove tree stumps.
  • East Hanover Township ($15,000): resurface and seal tennis courts at H.M. Levitz Memorial Park.
  • Jonestown Borough ($10,000): install pedestrian crosswalk lights for crosswalks on Market Street. (Read more: Jonestown receives $1.1 million for crossing improvements along Market St.)
  • Campbelltown Community Alliance: install playground equipment, benches, and playground mulch at Campbelltown Community Park.
  • Richland Community Swimming Pool Association: repurpose former swimming pool site for recreational purposes. (Read more: Richland Community Swimming Pool will be reborn … as something)

Commissioners also heard a Center for Traffic Safety report on trends in local vehicle crashes and fatalities.

The 2017-21 data for fatalities shows the leading cause being aggressive driving/speeding at 23.19 percent, the secondary cause being mature drivers at 16.43 percent, and the third largest cause being lack of proper seat belting at 14.49 percent.

The three highest causes for crashes are aggressive driving/speeding at 32.74 percent, teen drivers at 26.25 percent, and mature drivers at 25.96 percent.

Center for Traffic Safety director Barbara Zortman noted the rise in mature fatalities and crashes over the last few years due to an aging population.

She outlined several programs the Center for Traffic Safety runs in Adams, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties to improve driver and pedestrian safety.

While no action was required, the commissioners commended the center’s work.

Penn State Extension was also present to announce that the existing Alletta Schadler Community Service/Engagement Award was being moved into a Penn State program-support endowment to ensure its continued funding.

Read More: Penn State Extension announces Alletta Schadler Community Service Award

From left to right: Commissioner Michael Kuhn, the first female county extension director in Pennsylvania Alletta Schadler, Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz, and Commissioner Robert Phillips.

This year’s scholarship is still seeking applicants of Lebanon County volunteers who are pursuing or plan to pursue a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences until May 15.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Unanimously approved a $5,000 hotel tax grant to the Caring Cupboard for the Truck Trek in Palmyra, at which they expect to spend $15,000.
  • Unanimously approved a budget modification from the Community Action Partnership for the Community Services Block Grant to allocate funds for extended rental assistance and emergency shelter assistance.
  • Unanimously approved a memorandum between the Lebanon County Correctional Facility and the Montgomery County Correctional Facility that the Montgomery facility can house Lebanon inmates for $110 per day, should this be necessary. It was emphasized that this is not needed right now, but has been put in place should it become necessary.
  • Unanimously approved personnel transactions, including resignations, promotions, and raises, including a new rate of $21 an hour for corrective officers at the county prison, which was previously agreed upon with the union.
  • Unanimously approved the minutes of last month’s meeting.
  • Unanimously approved the Treasurer’s Report.

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Emily Bixler

Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.