UPPER DUBLIN — Efforts to secure funding to help pay for the proposed conversion of Upper Dublin Golf & Fitness Club to an open space park are picking up steam.
Derek Dureka, the township’s parks and recreation director, provided an update on a preliminary development plan for the 105-acre site along Twining Road at the board of commissioners’ recent meeting April 9.
The presentation that night focused primarily on the first phase of the plan, which involves initial work to transition the property from a golf center to a natural park. This phase also includes targeted funding sources.
Phase One construction has a proposed start date of May of next year and would conclude in September. The estimated cost of that phase would be $3.1 million, officials said.
Upper Dublin is taking ownership of the site from Links Management this November. The board of commissioners approved a motion last November not to renew the township’s lease with Links Management. That lease, which had been in place since 1981, was set to expire on Nov. 30.
Although converting the site to a public park has been a front-running option, it is by no means the only option. The township could choose to sell all or a portion of the property. A 2015 feasibility study, however, determined that residents were strongly in favor of converting the site into accessible open space.
Phase One would involve a number of changes and additions to the site: the expansion of existing parking spaces there from 90 to 138; the installation of loop trails and an earthen single-track trail; a dog park, which would include a section for small dogs and two separate areas for large dogs; a program pavilion; and trail connections to local neighborhoods.
Dureka stressed that what’s added to or built on the site is contingent upon funding.
“We would only do those specific amenities as funding is available,” he said.
Dureka said his department is exploring several grant opportunities to support Phase One construction and for which the project could qualify.
He said there are transportation grants, as well as ones tied stormwater management, biking and vegetation that are options.
“There is also very specific funding for dog parks,” he said. “We are also looking at PENNVEST, which is another greenways type of grant. That’s up to $250,000. We’re going to be pursuing that as well.”
The board that night did approve a resolution authorizing a grant application through the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which provides funding through its Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2).
“The board has at least verbally committed up to $1 million of the community reinvestment fund, which is the fund [that resulted from the sale] of our sewer system,” Dureka said at the meeting. “We have that rainy day fund. We appreciate that because having that cash and saying we have that cash makes us more competitive on the grant standpoint, so we’ve included that in all of our grant applications.”