The borough is one of 14 communities to receive funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Local Government Green Infrastructure Initiative. The program is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a news release.
LandStudies Inc. will be doing the technical design to develop the project for Wrightsville, said David O'Neill, director of the Eastern Partnership Office of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The company will create a design for the wetlands, which will look like a rain garden, O'Neill said. It would include native plants, shrubs and grasses.
The wetlands will act as a sponge and help to absorb pollution, including metals and toxins, before they enter the Susquehanna River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
"It just looks like an attractive amenity to a town park," O'Neill said.
The wetlands also will help to absorb water when the river overflows its banks, he said.
Communities lost many of these sponges and filters as they have developed over time, O'Neill said.
The award is for the design work, which is often an impediment for communities, he said. It does not include money for construction, which many communities can get the resources for.
Wrightsville Mayor Neil Habecker said the borough worked with the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area in applying for the funding in conjunction with its park and riverfront redevelopment plan.
In the Front Street area, the storm water spills across the park before it gets to the river, and the borough wants to address that problem, he said.
This also is part of a larger effort to address the crumbling infrastructure of the borough's storm water management system.
"We've got to find some new approaches to resolve an old problem," Habecker said.
The Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area was able to help the borough seek the funding because of additional resources it has received through the Lower Susquehanna Conservation Landscape Initiative, said Mark Platts, president of the heritage area. The initiative, which includes various partners such as the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is an effort to help communities along the river in York and Lancaster counties develop heritage and outdoor recreation.
This is the first wave of funding for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Local Government Green Infrastructure Initiative, which is intended to help reduce pollution in the community and contribute to the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, O'Neill said.
It is hoped that these hubs of success can be models to other communities, he said.
Cleaning up streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay
Several places in Pennsylvania, including Wrightsville, are receiving money to help improve local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay:
City of Scranton: It will assess its aging storm sewer system and identify opportunities to integrate green infrastructure practices throughout the city. It will cost-effectively reduce flooding and improve the local water.
Lancaster County: It will develop innovative strategies to finance storm water management in the region known for its agriculture production.
Mercersburg Borough, and Peters and Montgomery townships: The trio will restore the Johnston Run stream corridor. The project will provide recreational opportunities along the river, reduce flooding, improve local water and engage the community in stewardship activities.