Lehigh Valley Greenways

Lehigh Valley Greenways MINI GRANTS

Stimulus for collaborative action to implement ready-to-go conservation and outdoor recreation projects

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Lehigh Valley Greenways - Mini Grants

Mini Grants Produce Exceptional Results

The success of Lehigh Valley Greenways is based in large part on the effective working relationship between the state lead and funder, PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR), and local lead and administrative entity, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L), and the network of partners from non-profit organizations, county and municipal government. This three-tiered approach, coordinated by D&L, allows partners to target funding, pool resources, and move projects forward.

Perhaps the most high profile contribution of the conservation landscape has been its awarding and administration of Lehigh Valley Greenways mini grants, which have spurred dozens of innovative projects across the region. From urban forestry initiatives and trail design to signage and technical publications, Lehigh Valley Greenways mini grants assist non-profits, municipalities, and educational institutions to accomplish a variety of projects to benefit residents of the Lehigh Valley.

The D&L and DCNR provide technical assistance to grantees throughout the process, helping our partners navigate reimbursements, make contact with state agencies, and implement sustainable policies. In short, we ensure that any project worth funding succeeds to the fullest extent possible and follows the highest standards for sustainability.

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Past Projects & Success Stories

tall-photo_03Conservation Practices
  • 1,200 acres of land conserved
  • 3,500 native plants restore stream banks
  • 2,000 trees reduce carbon
  • City Urban Forestry established
  • Constructed wetlands to reduce and manage stormwater
Trails and Outdoor Connections
  • 13 miles of D&L Trail in Lehigh County Built
  • 10 miles of trail open in Bushkill Corridor
  • Educated 30 urban youth in Lehigh Valley Adventure Camps
Educational Opportunities
  • 3 LEED certified green environmental education center buildings open
  • Sustainable Landscapes Bus Tour
  • Trails Summit
  • Ed McMahon Better Models for Development
  • 4 model environmental regulations developed

“The Conservation Landscape Initiative made a big difference here, it has brought funding and focus to a region that has a lot of potential and enabled us to develop that potential in a far shorter time period than we would be able to do otherwise.” – Jan Creedonformer Director of General Services for Lehigh County

Project Archives

2015 Funding Round

Color of Nature II – LVG 13.06(Lehigh Gap Nature Center)

The Color of Nature program trains conservation leaders from communities of color to serve as role models and lead nature programs. This grant helped expand the program with two environmental mini day camps, 20 park programs, 64 after school club programs, and 12 summer school programs for Allentown youth.
Amount: $5,000

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2015 Lehigh Valley Watershed Conference – LVG 13.07(Watershed Coalition of the Lehigh Valley)

Over 250 watershed stakeholders came together on October 13, 2015 at Lehigh University to engage with speakers on a variety of water resource topics from green infrastructure to amphibian ecology to riparian buffers and drinking water. New this year were a landscape track for professionals and a student networking session.
Amount: $5,000

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Sober’s Run Streambank Restoration at Trailhead – LVG 13.08(Bushkill Township)

Bushkill Township targeted 150 feet of severely impacted Sober’s Run streambank for restoration. They installed natural boulders and two rock vane deflectors in an effort to stop erosion of the streambank and stabilized the upper streambanks with native vegetation.
Award: $7,500

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Landscaping for Communities and Wildlife II – LVG 19.01(Lehigh Gap Nature Center)

During the second year of the program, LGNC continued to fund well-designed native plant landscaping projects that benefit the local wildlife and ecosystems, while at the same time offering a healthier, attractive landscaping alternative for residents and communities. They also developed a pocket buyer’s guide for native plants and organized five native plant workshops.
Amount: $18,000

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Upper Mt Bethel Community Park – Identity and Connectivity – LVG 19.03(Upper Mount Bethel Township)

This grant was crucial to installing a raised deck observation/teaching area and 750 feet of connecting trail to link the barn and parking area with the observation deck, wetlands and native plant area.
Amount: $12,500

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Lehigh Valley Return on Environment Promotion and Outreach – LVG 19.05(Lehigh Valley Planning Commission)

This project created a summary of the 2014 Lehigh Valley Return on Environment report. Outreach was provided to municipalities and the general public through presentations, yard signs, factsheet handouts, and full copies of the report.

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2013 Funding Round

Discover the D&L Trail with the KAZ Passport – LVG 11.14(Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA)

The Keystone Active Zone (KAZ) Passport encourages people to get outside and active at close-to-home parks, trails, and outdoor events, highlighting the D&L Trail and anthracite heritage. In 2014, the passport’s focus on the D&L Trail promoted existing trail miles and the future trail extension through bicycle rides and walks attracting nearly 3,000 attendees.

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2013 LV Master Watershed Steward Coordination and Training – LVG 11.15

This grant funded part of the training for a class of 18 Master Watershed Stewards that will continue as knowledgeable volunteers that can reach out to the adult and school-age population to encourage stewardship and educate the community to increase the health of the Lehigh River watershed.
Amount: $5,000

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Mill Street Crossing – LVG 11.16(Bristol Borough)

The Mill Street Crossing project enhanced the visibility and connection of the Delaware River, Bristol Marsh, Delaware Canal and Towpath (D&L Trail) and location of historic railroad and trolley line crossings. An abandoned corner property was spruced up with signs, pervious pathways for pedestrian connections, and native plants for beautification and ecological restoration.
Amount: $5,000

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Color of Nature 1: Connecting LV’s People of Color to Nature – LVG 12.13(Lehigh Gap Nature Center)

The Color of Nature program trains conservation leaders from communities of color to serve as role models and lead nature programs. This grant helped recruit and train two additional leaders and fund 25 summer park programs, 7 school ecology club programs, and 4 family oriented nature walks.
Amount: $5,000

Bristol Marsh Teacher Resource Guide – LVG 12.14(Heritage Conservancy)

“Heritage Conservancy developed a wetland ecosystem teaching guide to supplement their established experiential-learning education program at Bristol Marsh. Initially, 300 Bristol Marsh: Learning Beyond the Classroom guides were printed and distributed to 48 schools with digital copies available.
Amount: $5,000
Download Teachers Guide | Bristol Marsh Nature Preserve Virtual Tour

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2014 LV Master Watershed Steward 4 Implementation Projects – LVG 12.15(Watershed Coalition of the Lehigh Valley)

Throughout the Lehigh Valley, the 2014 class of Master Watershed Stewards installed three rain gardens, eight educational signs, and 150 feet of riparian buffer at the Atlas Dam removal site, as well as, creating two educational displays on groundwater and aquaponics.
Amount: $10,000

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Tally the Trails: Phase I – LVG 12.16(Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA)

Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA worked with partners to gather trail use data with three trail counter devices installed along the D&L Trail and a paper survey to collect trail economic impact data. Results showed the Lehigh Tannery trail section had the highest number of users reaching over 1,000 users/week in the spring.
Amount: $3,310

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South Mountain Preserve & Upper Saucon Greenways Study – LVG 12.17(Upper Saucon Township)

Upper Saucon Township, with Wildlands Conservancy as a consultant, identified parcels along South Mountain that could provide access points and additional acreage to South Mountain Preserve. Wildlands performed landowner outreach, successfully made contact with approximately half the property owners, and a 4.2 acre parcel was acquired.
Amount: $5,000

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Landscaping for Communities and Wildlife 1 – LVG 13.01(Lehigh Gap Nature Center)

This program aims to educate the public about the benefits of using native plants in residential landscaping. The first year focused on installing educational native plant gardens and signs at public locations and hosting three native plant workshops.
Amount: $15,000

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Water Street Park Saucon Creek Riparian Plantings – LVG 13.02(Hellertown Borough)

Borough of Hellertown planted native trees, shrubs, and groundcover to re-vegetate the bank of Saucon Creek through Water Street Park and create rain gardens in accordance with the 2013 master park plan.
Amount: $20,000

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Jordan Creek Greenway Permitting – LVG 13.03(Wildlands Conservancy)

This grant helped fund the completion of Erosion & Sedimentation Control Plan review, Phase I Archeological Survey report, and securing NPDES permits to prepare for constructing 1.9 miles of Jordan Creek Greenway west of Covered Bridge Park in South Whitehall Township.
Amount: $20,000

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2012 Funding Round

Lehigh Valley Adventure Camp Phase IV – LVG 8.18(Wildlands Conservancy)

Lehigh Valley Adventure Camp Phase IV was held June 18-22, 2012 offering a free, weeklong outdoor camp with meaningful outdoor recreation activities for 15 campers from Bethlehem incorporating environmental, cultural and historical activities.
Amount: $5,000

Website Enhancements – LVG 8.19(D&L National Heritage Corridor)

D&L made updates to the Lehigh Valley Greenways page on their website to accept applications for Lehigh Valley Greenways mini-grants through the website.
Amount: $2,000

Kittatinny Science Summit 2012 – LVG 8.20(Lehigh Gap Nature Center)

Lehigh Gap Nature Center hosted the first Kittatinny Science Summit focused on identifying researchers working in the Kittatinny Corridor, connecting researchers for collaboration, and identifying gaps in the data and research.
Amount: $1,000

Sober’s Run Streambank & Riparian Restoration Project – LVG 12.01(Bushkill Township)

Bushkill Township completed a streambank restoration along 150 feet of severely eroded bank along Sober’s Run in the northern portion of Jacobsburg State Park.
Amount: $7,000

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Hugh Moore Park D&L Trail Resurfacing Phase II – LVG 12.03(City of Easton)

City of Easton resurfaced about 3,000 ft of the D&L Trail from Abbott Street Lock to the South 3rd Street Bridge and the main D&L trailhead parking lot in Hugh Moore Park.
Amount: $20,000

Jacobsburg – Blue Mountain Trail Corridor Landowner Outreach – LVG 12.05(Heritage Conservancy)

Heritage Conservancy and Bushkill Township met with landowners and provided a series of workshops with information about the economic, recreation, health and education benefits of trails with an end goal of finding a potential route for connecting Jacobsburg State Park to the Blue Mountain.
Amount: $5,000

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Weissport Trailhead Parking Lot and Enhancements – LVG 12.06(Lehigh Canal Recreation Commission)

The D&L Trail: Weissport Trailhead was releveled and improved with new asphalt parking lot surface to eliminate standing water, potholes and drainage issues and make it safer and easier to access the parking and D&L Trail.
Amount: $4,000

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Lehighton D&L Trailhead Development – LVG 12.07(Lehighton Borough)

The Borough of Lehighton developed a trailhead along the D&L Trail on land donated by the Lehighton Sewer Authority. The project added ADA parking, interpretive and directional signs, and a pavilion.
Amount: $20,000

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Bridge Street Feasibility Study for D&L Trail Gap – LVG 12.08(PA Environmental Council)

Working with local and regional stakeholders, PA Environmental Council (PEC) devised a plan to solve the Morrisville Borough Bridge Street crossing along the D&L Trail. The feasibility study will guide the implementation and construction to create a safer road crossing and connect the trail.
Amount: $10,000

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Lechauweki Park Environmental Education & Revitalization Project – LVG 12.09(Wildlands Conservancy)

Wildlands Conservancy developed and facilitated six experimental environmental education activities, presented 51 in-school programs, and led 2 clean-ups in Lechauweki Park with Bethlehem Area School District’s Fountain Hill Elementary School.
Amount: $5,000

Lehigh Valley Adventure Camp Phase V – LVG 12.10(Wildlands Conservancy)

Lehigh Valley Adventure Camp Phase V was held June 17-21, 2013 offering a free, weeklong outdoor camp for 16 teenagers from Southside Bethlehem incorporating environmental, cultural and historical activities
Amount: $5,000

Kittatinny Ridge Ecological & Science Summit 2013 – LVG 12.11(Lehigh Gap Nature Center)

Lehigh Gap Nature Center hosted the Kittatinny Science and Research Summit II focused on “closing the gaps” in research and monitoring data that is critical to conservation. A variety of state officials, universities and non-profit conservation partners were among the 65 attendees.
Amount: $3,000

Lehigh Valley Conservation Diversity Initiative – LVG 12.12(Lehigh Gap Nature Center)

The Conservation Diversity Initiative was launched to help connect people of color with nature by training conservation leaders to build capacity within communities of color to lead nature programs. This grant helped recruit and train 8 leaders for bilingual family nature walks and environmental education programs at local parks.
Amount: $5,000

2017 Mini Grant Guidelines & Instructions


Lehigh Valley Greenways is one of seven Conservation Landscapes supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The Greenways Partnership includes more than 25 organizations and municipal partners dedicated to the conservation of and connection to natural resources in the Lehigh Valley region.

The Lehigh Valley Greenways Mini Grant Program is a reimbursement grant program funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and administered by the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L). The purpose of the mini grant program is to inspire collaborative, strategic approaches to regional conservation and/or outdoor recreation opportunities and to implement ready-to-go projects that protect and promote the natural resources of the Lehigh Valley and advance the goals of Lehigh Valley Greenways.

Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape Vision:

Lehigh Valley communities are linked to greenways, trails, and outdoor experiences resulting in stronger local economies and improved public health, green infrastructure and natural resources.

Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape Goals:
  1. Land Conservation & Restoration Conserve critical landscapes, restore buffered stream corridors, and promote best management practices
  2. Outdoor Recreation & Trail Connections Connect people to greenway and trail opportunities to promote healthy living, recreation, and the region’s green assets
  3. Community Revitalization Support community revitalization through green infrastructure that enhances the quality of life
  4. Local Education & Outreach Promote understanding of our natural environment and its benefits to our communities
2017 Mini Grant Program Priorities:
  • Promote the region’s natural areas and land/water trails through programming and informational signage in order to increase appreciation of natural and cultural resources and improve public health
  • Advance land conservation of the Lehigh Valley’s critical landscapes
  • Implement ecological restoration projects (ex. stream habitat improvements, riparian buffers, native grass/wildflower meadows, rain gardens, no-mow areas along streams and in public parks)
  • Host educational events, trainings and workshops to advance the goals of Lehigh Valley Greenways
  • (Municipalities) Adopt model ordinances and/or an official map to protect natural resources and improve bicycle/pedestrian connections
Who is eligible?
  • Non-profit organizations with tax-exempt 501c3 status and registered with PA Bureau of Charitable Organizations**Selected applicants will need to provide proof of both 501c3 and BCO registration
  • Municipalities, municipal agencies (COG, MPO, municipal authority), county conservation districts
  • Educational institutions (Lehigh Valley colleges and universities, public/private schools)
What kind of project is eligible?

Eligible project types are educational programs/workshops, special purpose studies, or implementation projects. Eligible projects should advance the Lehigh Valley Greenways vision and goals and be consistent with previously completed local, county, and regional plans such as open space, greenway, trail, recreation, comprehensive, watershed and/or rivers conservation plans. The list of plans and recommendations directly addressed by the proposed project should be included in the application narrative.

Projects should be single-year projects with a secure 50% or greater match and must be located in the Lehigh Valley region (Lehigh or Northampton County). Please note that projects along the D&L Trail in Carbon and Luzerne Counties should apply to Pocono Forest and Waters Conservation Landscape for mini grant funding.

What projects and expenses are NOT eligible?

Lehigh Valley Greenways mini grants will not fund membership drives or fundraising, real estate acquisition or property easements, or any projects not entirely related to at least one of the four goals of Lehigh Valley Greenways.

Ineligible grant expenditures include:

  • Reimbursement for any expenses prior to the effective start date listed on the signed agreement.
  • Staff salaries/benefits greater than 50% of the total amount of grant funds requested (does not apply to matching funds, only to reimbursable grant funds).
  • Award items, free giveaways, or promotional items (certificates, trophies, plaques, tshirts, hats, magnets, pins, etc).
  • Indirect costs, general operations or overhead charges (rent, utilities, website hosting).
  • Power equipment (lawn mowers, chain saws, weed wackers).
  • Grants, scholarships or fellowships to be given by the grant recipient to a third party. (Grant funds may be used to pay up to $100 a day for either substitute teachers or teacher stipends to enable teachers to participate in Lehigh Valley Greenways grant funded programs. Grant funds may also be used to provide classroom supplies purchased by the grantee to enable teachers to implement new programs, but not to provide cash payments to teachers for these supplies.)
Application Restrictions

Each applicant is limited to a maximum of two project applications per grant round. Applicants with multiple project ideas are encouraged to contact Claire Sadler for advice on prioritizing your projects. Applications that have been funded by another Conservation Landscape are ineligible. Applicants are strongly discouraged from repeatedly applying for mini grant funding to support the same project.

  • Funding for the Lehigh Valley Greenways Mini Grant Program comes from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Environmental Stewardship Fund through a grant to the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, which administers the mini-grant program. All mini-grant recipients will need to include the DCNR following funding citation and three accompanying logos on any printed materials, products or signs (brochures, flyers, completed plans, educational handouts, etc.).
    “This project was completed in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape. Funding was provided in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Environmental Stewardship Fund, administered by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc.”
  • For the 2017 round, $75,000 is available.
  • Grant requests shall be a minimum of $1,000 and not to exceed $10,000, with total project costs at least twice the grant request.
  • Mini grants are on a reimbursement basis so the mini grantee will be expected to expend eligible project costs then submit for 50% reimbursement of total costs up to the awarded mini grant amount. All mini grants must be matched with cash and/or eligible non-cash (in-kind) contributions at a minimum ratio of 1:1. Example: Grant Request (50% or less) + Eligible Match (50% or more) = Total Project Cost (100%). Your application MUST include support letters from any partner organization(s) that states the agreed upon donation amount or value to be used as match. Lehigh Valley Greenways mini grants may not be used to fulfill match requirements for other DCNR funded grant projects and DCNR funds may not be used as match for mini grants.
  • Mini grantees are responsible for following the competitive bidding requirements that apply to their organizations. These vary based on whether the organization is a municipality or a non-profit. Mini grantees not familiar with the applicable bidding requirements are strongly advised to consult with their solicitor/attorney.
  • Reimbursement may be applied for in one complete payment or broken into two payments, one mid-way through the project and the remaining funds after completion of the project. If requesting two payments, at least ten percent (10%) of the mini-grant award will be held until all final reporting is submitted complete and accurate.

January 30, 2017 – Application period opens

February 17, 2017, 1:00-3:00pm – Pre-application meeting at Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center
**All potential applicants must attend this meeting or schedule a separate meeting with Claire Sadler to discuss your projects. Sending a representative to the pre-application meeting is strongly preferred so you are present for the presentation and can learn from the questions of other applicants. 

March 3, 2017 at 4:00pm– Application period closes
**Applicants are required to submit an online application by 4:00pm at

March and April 2017 – Projects are reviewed and selected by committee

April 2017 – Mini grant awards are announced and grant agreements mailed

May 1, 2017 – Project start date *only if agreements are signed and returned to D&L

May 11, 2017 – Celebration of mini grant awards held

July 31, 2018 – Project completion and closeout

Review Process

Grant awards are made on a competitive basis. Applications will be initially screened to ensure all application requirements have been submitted. Then applications will be reviewed by a small committee of current Lehigh Valley Greenways partners who meet DCNR conflict of interest requirements and ranked based on:

  1. Completeness of the application (scope of work, budget, timeline, narrative describing relevant LVG goals and existing local plans, confirmed match with commitment letters, drawings/maps/photos, partner list, letters of support) and
  2. How well the project:
    1. Aligns with 2017 priorities and supports Lehigh Valley Greenways vision/goals
    2. Implements actions listed in existing local plans
    3. Identifies and secures required match
    4. Promotes partner collaboration
    5. Includes the use of best management practices

The review committee reserves the right to request additional information to supplement the submitted application as needed. Applications will be listed as SELECTED for funding, NOT SELECTED for funding, or held as a HIGH VALUE PROJECT to be considered for funding if resources become available before the next mini grant application process.

Mini Grant FAQs
When is the application deadline?

Final applications must be submitted no later than 4:00pm on Friday, March 3, 2017 through the online application on this website.

What projects are eligible?

Eligible projects are single-year education, planning and implementation projects located within Northampton and Lehigh Counties .

What are the grant request limits?

Grant requests are limited to minimum of $1,000 and maximum of $10,000.

For large projects ($20,000 and greater) and land acquisition projects, apply directly to DCNR Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2) and contact Lorne Possinger, DCNR Regional Advisor

What is considered eligible local match?

Eligible local match can include:

  • Cash match that is secured and available when you list the match on your grant application.
  • Eligible in-kind values for mini grantee staff labor and professional services; hourly billable rate multiplied by number of hours performing job task/service directly related to the project = total value (requires time sheet documentation)
  • Donated professional service, materials, and equipment by a professional in the discipline of the service provided; include donated value of materials, hourly billable rate for labor/service and hourly or daily billable rate for equipment use multiplied by number of hours/days; documentation must be included on business letterhead of the donator 
  • Volunteer services (non-skilled labor) valued up to the current Pennsylvania Independent Sector Volunteer Rate at the time the service was performed for individuals age 18 and older; service performed by individuals under age 18 will be valued at the Pennsylvania minimum wage rate
  • All projects and project related costs and funding must conform to the guidelines outlined in the PA DCNR Community Conservation Partnerships Program here

When do we need the cash match available?

Cash match should be secured and available when you list the match on your grant application.

Can I match the mini grant to a DCNR grant?

No, the mini grant program is funded through a DCNR funding source, and you cannot match DCNR funds to DCNR funds.

What are the terms and conditions of the grant agreement if I am awarded a mini-grant?

All applicants must adhere to the DCNR Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2) requirements for eligibility, eligible and ineligible costs, and post-completion mini grant requirements. These include but are not limited to:

  • Agree to include the following notice and accompanying logos recognizing the funding in all announcements, published material and signage relating to the project: “This project was completed in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape. Funding was provided in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Environmental Stewardship Fund, administered by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc.” 
  • Mini-grantee will maintain a separate project file which shall include the original application, executed mini-grant agreement with D&L, copies of all contracts related to the project, copies of all relevant correspondence regarding the administration of the project, and transactions and documentation of use of project funds.
  • Agreement to provide proper closeout documentation: completed In-Kind worksheets, Attachment A and Attachment B provided by D&L, copies of paid invoices with check number and date paid written on each invoice, narrative and photos in the “Success Story” template provided by D&L, and any other items related to the scope of work (drawings, maps, brochures, completed plans/studies)