Final costs nearly double of $10,450 estimate
By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times
POCOPSON — Although the township paid Chester County just $1 for the historic Barnard House and its 80-acre landscape, officials expressed surprise at higher than anticipated cost of repairing several windows during Monday’s township Board of Supervisors meeting.
While continuing to display optimism that the building can be restored to its useable state, Board of Supervisors Vice-Chair, Georgia Brutscher, a member of the Barnard House Steering Committee, said the four, first floor windows located at the front of the structure needed extensive repairs to stop ongoing water damage. Brutscher said officials were given an estimate of $10,450 to repair the four windows, but damage was much greater than anticipated and costs were closer to $20,000, still “well within the budget.”
In addition, the committee is in the midst of getting estimates to install a first floor heating and air conditioning system which Brutscher says will alleviate excess moisture that can be damaging to newly installed hardwood flooring.
At the beginning of the summer, supervisors approved repairing the four front windows, saying they hoped to gain some insight into the extent of damage and what the township could expect in terms of costs to repair or replace other portions of the building.
This week, Supervisors’ Chair, Steve Conary said the findings revealed no uniformity with regard to the extent of damage to the historic structure, “the cost of each repair or replacement will have to be looked at on a case by case basis.“
The township has applied for two sizable grants, and if awarded, they would assist with the cost of upgrading the surrounding park and trail facilities as well as renovations to transform the historic structure into township offices and a home for the Kennett Underground Railroad.
A year ago, the project was bid under four separate packages and collectively, the bids came back at $1.02 million. Supervisors stated that they were unwilling to spend that much on the project and voted to reject the bids and send the project back to the Barnard House Steering Committee.
Brutscher said all repairs have been within this year’s budget of $75,000 and the Barnard House Steering Committee would be meeting to discuss how next to proceed.
State Police Lt. Rich D’Ambrosio, Commander at the Avondale Barracks, also spoke at the meeting and informed residents about several break-ins in the area involving items taken from unlocked cars. He reminded residents to always lock car doors stating, “We rarely find that a locked vehicle is broken into.”
Representatives of the West Chester Public Library stopped by the meeting to thank supervisors and township residents for their continued support of programming at the library. The library’s Executive Director, Victoria Dow said upcoming events will include a Defensive Driving Program for teens and adults.
The township is looking for three residents to make up the township’s Uniform Construction Code Appeal Board. Code Enforcement Officer, Richard Jensen told Supervisors that the township is required to have this board in place. Officials ask that candidates have an engineering, real estate, construction or land development background. Additional requirements can be found on the township website: www.pocopson.org.