The community conservation project to permanently preserve the meadows, woodlands and paved trails of the defunct Churchill Valley Country Club as a 148-acre greenway for public outdoor recreation and environmental education got a major boost last week as The Pittsburgh Foundation awarded project leader Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) a grant of $150,000 toward the acquisition of the land.
“There are many green space projects that we’re asked to support, but this one stands out for having attracted significant investment from state government, other funders and the communities that stand to benefit,” said Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Lisa Schroeder. “It promises quality-of-life improvement for thousands of residents in eastern Allegheny County. Everyone deserves to have a park or green space accessible to the neighborhood in which they live.”
ALT’s President & CEO Chris Beichner said “We’re grateful for this significant support from The Pittsburgh Foundation. It is an extremely important step toward making the Churchill Valley Greenway a reality. It pushes the total amount raised for the project to more than $1 million, while further demonstrating a broad base of both private and public support.”
In addition to this grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation, Beichner said ALT has thus far received donations of $128,600 from more than 520 individuals from the local community, and grants from the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation, the Sierra Club, the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority. A total of $1,000,888 dollars has been raised to-date toward the $3 million needed to complete the acquisition.
ALT has the property under contract to purchase contingent upon its ability to raise the necessary funding by March 2021. Beichner said additional grant requests totaling in excess of $1.5 million have been submitted to various funding sources and discussions are on-going with several other foundations and potential corporate sponsors to close the final gap.
The Churchill Valley Greenway conservation project is endorsed by Senator Jay Costa, Representative Summer Lee, the Churchill Borough Council, and a wide range of community groups and civic organizations, and is already being enjoyed informally by many neighbors for hiking, biking, strolling and bird watching.
The need for more close-to-home green space like the Churchill Valley Greenway has been clearly demonstrated during the current pandemic as people have flocked in record numbers to conservation areas, parks and trails seeking places to exercise, find solace in nature or simply to get some fresh air while practicing safe social distancing.
Located in a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection-designated “Environmental Justice Area,” the greenway would provide equitable, convenient and permanent access to the restorative benefits of nature to the 95,000 people who live within a 3-mile radius and to all residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Those interested in supporting the conservation project can choose “Churchill Valley Greenway Project” on ALT’s online donation form here: