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Township Builds on Own Investment to Grow Golf Course-to-Park Project

Location:  Dover Township, York County, PA

Project Lead: Dover Township

The Project: A former flood-prone golf course transformed into a multi-use township park

Diverse Funding Sources:

What it Funded
Dover Township
Feasibility study
PA DEP Growing Greener 
Floodplain construction
York County Stormwater Consortium
$ 605,000
Relocation of sewer line
First phase of park improvements
PA DCED Greenways & Trails Program
Trails and pedestrian bridges

Keys to Success: Dover Township self-funded the design and permitting, which served as match for large PA Growing Greener grant and kick-started the funding revenue stream. Long term planning is key.

Technical Services: LandStudies, Inc.

When: Completed 2020; recreational improvements underway

Ecological Impact:

  • Restored 3,000 linear feet of stream channels
  • Created 5 acres of wetlands
  • Created 10 acres of native meadows
  • Substantial load reductions of sediment and nutrients to two tributaries to Fox Run (Conewago Watershed)

Challenges: Obtaining required permits and coordinating different consultants for the project; new Township Board of Supervisors elected during process

Reid Garner, left, of LandStudies, and Dover Township, PA, manager Laurel Oswalt look over a stream restoration where 27,000 cubic yards of “legacy” sediment was removed to reveal the original footprint and wetlands of two streams. Borough officials creatively used the floodplain restoration to get grants to form a multi-use park from a former golf course.

Source: Ad Crable, Bay Journal

Some Advice:

  • Don’t look at stormwater as unfunded mandate. There are a lot of opportunities and grant funds out there. Start at the watershed level and see how you can make these projects work for you.
  • Different programs fund different objectives. Leverage and stack the benefits.
  • Don't get discouraged. Township proposal was turned down four times before the Township decided to use its own funds, which kick-started the stream of revenue that supported the entire project.
  • Obtain the permits first with all divisions of the PA DEP, Army Corps of Engineers, County Conservation District jointly so agencies are all on the same page.

Cool Things about the Project:

  • Floodplain restoration provides multiple functions:
    1. Legacy sediment created 10-acre pad for park
    2. Eliminated the need for a regional stormwater basin
    3. Mitigates floods and reduces peak rates of stormwater runoff
  • Former stormwater basin was eliminated and added area for redevelopment
  • Trails and bridges connect the park to the adjacent Dover Area Middle School and residential neighborhoods
  • Saw a return to the township for payment into the York County Stormwater Consortium


Laurel Oswalt, Dover Township Manager, 717-292-3634,

Reid Garner, PE, LandStudies, Inc. 717-627-4440,

Source: PA DEP MS4 Forum Presentation, May 2021

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