Pocopson ready to move forward on Barnard House

Township eyes funds already borrowed to pay for $1 mil. project

Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, UnionvilleTimes.com

The historic Barnard House is slated to house Pocopson's municipal offices as well as the Kennett Underground Railway Musuem, once renovations are complete.

POCOPSON — Township Supervisors are no longer “just talking” about renovations to the historic Barnard House.

At Monday’s township meeting, Supervisors voted unanimously to pay Melton Architects roughly $30,000 to prepare a project bid package — the first step to getting the renovation project under way.

At the Jan. 9 Board of Supervisors’ meeting, board Chair Steve Conary noted that an excess $1 million dollars from funds borrowed for the township’s open space project, which concluded at the end of 2011, could be used to renovate the Barnard structure. The extra funds in the credit line were remaining after initial cost estimates for open space purchases proved to be higher than the final purchase costs.

Supervisors expressed interest in this idea since the loan carries a “low 2.7% interest rate,” and would probably bear a substantial penalty for early repayment.

Since the information from the architect was obtained just hours before the Jan. 9 meeting, Supervisors wanted to review the document before voting to move forward.

At Monday’s meeting, Conary said, “I think (we need) to get the drawings put together and the construction package put together so we can go out for a bid and find out what this is really going to cost.”

Putting the project out to bid does not obligate the township to do the project — should circumstances change or the bids be too high, the township supervisors have the right to reject any and all bids received.

Supervisors are seeking additional grant money to cover some of the costs related to outdoor recreation as the historic structure sits in the middle of the township’s extensive trail system.

Plans for the building include relocating the township office and meeting rooms, as well as leasing space to the Kennett Underground Railroad.

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One Comment

  1. steve says:

    Is this even legal? How can you under the guise of an open space tax collect more money than you need to purchase open space and use the money for other purposes?

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