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Tinicum may create committee to find state grants; bridge funding not coming


Worried over possible missed opportunities, Tinicum Supervisor Eleanor Breslin wants the township to take a close look at how it works to obtain state grants.

At a supervisors meeting last month, Breslin shared an article she had read, which highlighted the amount of PA grant money that flows into municipalities throughout Bucks County. She cited the month of March 2023 as an example, where this project funding award sum totaled a significant $11 million.

There is meaningful state money being awarded to those municipalities that proactively make the time to author and submit grant applications, she said.

“When I see all this money flowing to other townships, I wonder if there are missed opportunities here,” Breslin said.

She added that “currently, Tinicum has no functioning mechanism in place to envision what projects we might want to seek funding for to improve aspects of our township.”

With that, Breslin proposed the establishment of a grant-seeking ad hoc sub-committee comprised of volunteer representatives from each of Tinicum’s existing committees, including the Planning Commission, the Environmental Action Committee, Parks & Recreation, and the Land Preservation Committee. Further, she called for the inclusion of additional residents who might bring added expertise to the conversation.

“We would like to form a committee, meet and brainstorm,” said Breslin. “With that, we can have the board then decide what we would like to pursue as a community and apply for assistance in an organized, timely manner.”

A motion was requested to query each of the sub-communities, to assess their level of participation interest and gain input on the appropriate size of such a working group.

“Our existing committees are the most familiar with the township,” stated Breslin.

Supervisors Chair Richard Rosamilia wondered whether it made sense to first research what types of grants are available. Breslin countered, “I think instead of starting with identifying grant opportunities and then coming up with projects to seek funding, the grant process would flow more naturally if ideas were identified first, floated to the board, and then shared with community.”

“These ideas are not mutually exclusive,” responded Rosamilia. “It would be reasonable to see what the other Tinicum committees think about the best processes and then we can formally adopt them.”

Several committee members, present at the April 18 meeting when the grant strategy was initially proposed, heartily agreed there was significant positive overlap in township interests across the committees and, that a new grant sub-committee would enable substantial cross-committee discussion.

It was also suggested that a search for volunteers with experience in grant writing would enhance the effort, though several committee members stated they already held that skill set within their respective groups.

At the May 2 board meeting, Manager Teri Lewis reported she had reached out and heard back from approximately half the committees, with positive interest. It was decided to hold off further discussion until the next June 6 supervisors meeting.

In other news, co-Chair Jim Helms reported disappointing feedback the board had received — Tinicum Township was denied further access to the EIDL grant process, which the supervisors hoped could help fund refurbishment of the Headquarters Road bridge.

“We will continue our bridge investigations on the Sheephole Road side to determine if the soil and the backside of the pier can support a temporary bridge structure.”

If so, as has been the case for many years, it will all depend on securing the appropriate funding before proceeding.

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