Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust

MainLineNeighbors.com Lends Help to this Year’s House Tour

Isn’t it great when people step in and just help . . . and without being asked. Such was the case this past week with MainLineNeighbors.com. In all the stress over the last-minute details of the House Tour, I neglected to send the house tour information to MainLineNeighbors.com, our community’s weekly e-newsletter for local activities and events.

Not to worry . . . the staff at MainLineNeighbors.com didn’t skip a beat but went ahead and listed the Trust’s 6th Annual Historic House Tour in the newsletter. A couple of days ago, I bumped into some of MainLineNeighbors staff having a meeting in the Cafe at Barnes & Noble. Such a wonderful surprise to be told they had gone ahead and listed the House Tour and that it would be included in the upcoming week’s newsletter too. Don’t you love it when people surprise you and do the unexpected!

MainLineNeighbors.com co-founders Regina Sullivan and Laura Woyak not only keep the community informed of events . . . they are civic-minded and show their support of nonprofit organizations like the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust. As a struggling small historic preservation nonprofit in today’s economy, the Trust could never afford large corporate advertising costs. The weekly e-newsletter has a following of 24,000 members, who like myself, look forward to weekly updates. If you haven’t already done so, I would encourage you to sign up for their e-newsletter . . . a great way to know what’s going on up and down the Main Line. And if you are the owner of a business in the area you might want to consider advertising on their website. A friend, Natalie Zipkin works at MainLineNeighbors.com and she will help you with any of your advertising needs.

Thanks MainLineNeighbors.com for ‘having my back’ even when I forgot to ask you!

Tredyffrin & Easttown Houses on Annual Historic House Tour . . . 7 days and counting!

Thank you www.AroundMainLine.com for the press coverage of the 6th Annual Historic House Tour (article below). Sarah Lockard, the eMagazine’s CEO/President graciously included the House Tour online and thanks to her Twitter and Facebook accounts, the Trust’s House Tour information is going out to thousands.

With a week to go . . . the ticket sales are starting to really take off! Please visit the Trust’s website, www.tredyffrinhistory.org to purchase your tickets. The first photo below is of the rear of Buttonwood Farm’s stone farmhouse and the second photo is of the interior of Buttonwood Farm’s ‘party barn’. Light refreshments will be served in the barn for visitors during the House Tour.

Remember, you can own a piece of Chester County history . . . Buttonwood Farm is for sale!

Trust’s 6th Annual Historic House Tour

Old houses tell wonderful stories, and the houses of Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships have many tales to tell. On Saturday, September 25, 2010, the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 6th Annual Historic House Tour will be opening doors to community’s past. This year’s tour will spotlight Berwyn and Strafford neighborhoods by opening the doors to eight private homes; three homes in Easttown Township and five homes in Tredyffrin Township. Featured houses span 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and offer visitors an opportunity to experience Chester County history through original, restored and historically significant homes.

“We are excited about the 2010 Historic House Tour,” Pattye Benson, President of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for historic Berwyn and Strafford neighborhoods to showcase their diverse architectural heritage and for homeowners to show visitors how their historic homes blend with modern lives. The House Tour has become one of the Trust’s most anticipated annual events and we are grateful to our generous homeowners who open the doors to their extraordinary homes. If you love history and architecture, you will not want to miss this year’s tour.”

One of the houses on the tour this year, Buttonwood Farm in Berwyn, is available for purchase and tour visitors are invited for light refreshments in the farm’s 19th century ‘party barn.’ One of the houses on the tour this year, Buttonwood Farm in Berwyn, is available for purchase and tour visitors are invited for light refreshments in the farm’s 19th century ‘party barn.’

The houses on the House Tour are as diverse as their owners. The historic houses include a Chester County hunting lodge; an unusual ‘house within a house’ that lays claim to a resident ghost; an early R. Brognard Oakie original; a Colonial Revival mansion that boasts a hidden servant staircase and Howerton Hill, a 1911 home whose history of past owners reads like a racy Danielle Steele novel. Another home on the tour was constructed in 1939 but uses building materials and architecture from the mid-1800’s and fools the untrained eye. There are two horse farms featured on the tour, a pre-revolutionary stone farmhouse in a pastoral setting and an early 19th century farmhouse featuring a new 3-story addition and a restored barn. One of the houses on the tour this year, Buttonwood Farm in Berwyn is available for purchase and tour visitors are invited for light refreshments in the farm’s 19th century ‘party barn’.

The historic homes and gardens will be open from 12 Noon to 5 PM on Saturday, September 25, rain or shine. Knowledgeable guides staff each historic home on the tour and house tour admission will include individual house history with map and parking details. Tickets are $35 and advance purchase is necessary, as there will be no tickets sold at the door. Tickets are available online at www.tredyffrinhistory.org using your credit card or download an order form and mail with your check to Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, PO Box 764, Devon, PA 19333-0764.

If you would like additional information about the house tour, consult www.tredyffrinhistory.org or call Pattye Benson at 610.644.6759 or email Pattye at info@tredyffrinhistory.org. All proceeds are tax deductible as the trust is a registered 501 c3 organization.

Trust’s Historic House Tour – Saturday, September 25th – Please Support Historic Preservation

Saturdays are always busy, especially during September and October. But if you are looking for something to do . . . why not the Trust’s 6th Annual Historic House Tour.

Always a community favorite for the Trust, this year’s tour will not disappoint – there’s something for everyone! Eights houses are featured on the tour, including 5 homes in Tredyffrin and 3 in Easttown Township. If you are a follower of Community Matters and enjoy the posts and interaction, I ask you to help me with ticket sales. Here’s a ticket order form for the house tour, please pass it on to neighbors and co-workers. A special thank you to Tom Murray and Blair Meadowcroft for supporting the house tour – Blair’s article on the house tour in this week’s edition of Main Line Suburban newspaper is below.

Explore your community’s history by supporting historic preservation . . .

Stage is Set for House Tour in Tredyffrin

By Blair Meadowcroft

Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s sixth annual Historic House Tour set for Sept. 25 will feature eight homes in Tredyffrin Township. The theme for this year’s tour is a focus on Berwyn and Strafford, giving tour participants a chance to view the similarities and differences of houses that in some cases were built around the same time.

The tour, which is rain-or-shine, costs $35 and you must buy tickets in advance. Proceeds from the event have always gone towards the Jones Log Barn project, which was one of the reasons why the House Tour was started.

“I organized the first historic House Tour for several reasons,” said Pattye Benson, president of the Trust. “The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust needed to raise money for the rebuilding of the Jones Log Barn; all proceeds from the annual tour continue to go toward that project. Additionally there was never a dedicated Historic House Tour for Tredyffrin and Easttown townships, and I wanted to share my passion for old houses with the community. Those of us that live in Tredyffrin and Easttown townships are fortunate to live in one of the most historic areas of the country.”

Benson’s love for historic houses can be seen in her own home, the Great Valley House, circa 1690. This house owned by Benson and her husband is the township’s oldest.

“Our house was on the Devon House Tour 15 years ago and subsequently I was on Devon’s House Tour board for a few years,” said Benson. “I learned a lot about house tours from both the homeowner side as a house-tour participant and from the committee side. I thought I could take what I had learned, create the Trust’s House Tour and share the beautiful historic homes. Six years later the Trust’s House Tour is one of our most anticipated yearly events.”

In the tour’s six years there have been 48 different houses exhibited, plus the Wharton Esherick Museum; the Baptist Church in the Great Valley; two schoolhouses, Diamond Rock Octagonal and Old Eagle School; and eight Revolutionary War general’s headquarters. Also, no house has been shown twice.

“The Historic House Tour has had a wide range of interest throughout the years,” said Benson. “There are old-house owners who like seeing what others have done with their houses. There are people who love history or architecture and enjoy learning all about the house’s past. We have people on the tour who have always dreamed of being an old-house owner but think that they are museums and not possibly for a family.”

According to Benson, another reason behind the House Tour is to show people that old houses can accommodate today’s families.

“Through the Historic House Tour I hope to change people’s minds and encourage old-house ownership, even for those with young families,” said Benson. “In fact six of the eight houses featured on this year’s House Tour have owners with young children.”

It is with the help of willing homeowners that the House Tour can take place each year, and it is to these homeowners that the Trust and all involved are extremely grateful, according to Benson.

“The homeowners have been wonderfully receptive to the House Tour over the years,” said Benson. “I’m so grateful that they are opening their doors to the public.”

On House Tour day, participants pick up their guest badges, maps and brochure, which gives a detailed history of each of the houses, at DuPortail House in Chesterbrook between 11 a.m. and noon. The tour, which goes from noon to 5 p.m., is self-guided and there’s no set order to see the houses.

“Each of the houses on the tour is staffed by a board member of the Trust who acts as the official docent,” said Benson. “In addition to the designated board member, the house is staffed with sufficient volunteers to make sure that guests enjoy the tour experience and are available to answer questions.”

To buy tickets visit www.tredyffrinhistory.org.

“The Trust is challenged to raise the remaining $200K needed for the Jones Log Barn project by the end of the year, so I want to encourage more people to attend this year’s tour than ever before,” said Benson. “This early log barn will join DuPortail House and the Federal Barn as a living-history museum where people can visit, learn and appreciate how agricultural life was 250-plus years ago. The rebuilding of the barn should serve as a testament that this community cares about their history and wants to preserve it.”

Tickets Now Available for Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 6th Annual Historic House Tour on Saturday, September 25, Noon – 5 PM

Tickets are now available for Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s 6th Annual Historic House Tour. This year’s tour will feature 7 houses in the Berwyn and Strafford neighborhoods. Two of the houses are in Easttown and 5 are located in Tredyffrin Townships.

The house tour will be held on Saturday, September 25th, noon – 5 PM, rain or shine. Individual house tour tickets are $35 and for online credit card ticket purchases, please see our website: www.tredyffrinhistory.org

If you prefer to pay using a personal check, click here for the ticket order form. All tickets are prepaid, there will be no tickets sold at the door.

All proceeds from the annual house tour benefit the rebuilding effort of the Jones Log Barn. When reconstructed, the ‘living history museum’ will join the historic DuPortail House and Federal Barn in Chesterbrook as a focal point of history in our community.

Additional volunteers are needed for the house tour . . . please contact me at info@tredyffrinhistory.org if you are available to help. Help is needed from 10:45 AM to noon at DuPortail House for ticket pick-up – need help with check in and need parking assistance. Or, if you would enjoy helping at one of the beautiful historic homes during the tour, we are in need of additional volunteers. You would need to be available from 11:45 AM to 5:15 PM on the house tour day. Contact me if you are available to help on September 25.

If prior plans do not permit you to attend this year’s house tour but you still want to help? Here’s what I am asking, please forward this post with the house tour information to your neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc. The annual house tour is my baby . . . I created the tour six years ago and have chaired it each year. I want the 6th Annual Historic House Tour to be the most successful house tour to date — can you help?

Board of Supervisors Meeting Goes to the 11th Hour . . . Student Housing Ordinances and Public Budget Meetings are Late Night Decisions

Last night’s Board of Supervisors Meeting and public meeting on student housing was a marathon! After 4-1/2 hours, the meeting finally ended at 11:45 PM . . . a long meeting by any standard; plus there was no air conditioning! By the time the meeting ended at nearly midnight, all that remained of the audience was myself and 2 other residents, the township staff and the supervisors. I didn’t realize until I got home but the taping of the meeting stopped at about 11:20, which was prior to the 3 important votes – decisions of the evening.

Many who attended last night’s supervisors meeting waited patiently for the public hearing on the two proposed college student housing ordinances – the Registration Ordinance and Zoning Ordinance Amendment. As the hour got later and later, a decision was made to suspend the regular supervisors meeting, conduct the public meeting on the student housing ordinances and then complete the regular supervisors meeting.

As was discussed in an earlier post, the Planning Commission had come up with very strict language in their proposed ordinances. In my opinion, the proposed ordinances provided as much future protection against student rentals as was possible within the law. In fact, some of the restrictions (including a 10 ft. wide buffer on the sides and back of the student rental properties struck me as a bit ‘over the top’ and overly restrictive). It was obvious that some of the supervisors had a clearer understanding of the proposed ordinances than others – at one point, it was suggested that the public meeting be continued until a future date. But Supervisors DiBuonaventuro and Donahue pushed for resolution last night on the ordinances.

Many Mt. Pleasant residents attended last night’s meeting and were determined that their voices would be heard. And heard they were! On one side, the residents very much wanted to see the proposed ordinances passed but they also wanted more to be included in the proposed zoning ordinance amendment. Specifically, the residents sought to remove the grandfathering rights of the landlords from the ordinance. The residents wanted the same restrictions for new student rentals to be imposed on existing student rentals. But as they were told, this is simply not possible legally. Not because of township laws, but because of Pennsylvania state law.

Supervisor Kichline and the township solicitor explained to the residents that those properties that were existing student rentals would be allowed to continue operating and would not be subject to the proposed zoning amendment ordinance. However, all current student housing landlords would have to conform to the proposed registration ordinance. Mt. Pleasant residents questioned if other municipalities had taken out the grandfathering clause from their student housing ordinances, why couldn’t Tredyffrin. As township manager Gleason explained, other municipalities may not permit grandfathering in their student housing ordinances but it is not enforceable by law. Period. Not the answer the residents wanted; they had to accept the proposed zoning amendment could not legally include existing student rentals.

The supervisors passed the student registration ordinance with minor tweaking but there seemed to be endless discussion on the proposed zoning ordinance amendment. Lamina made a motion to continue the discussion on the zoning amendment to the 2nd meeting in September. The motion was seconded but failed to receive the necessary votes. There was more discussion and a motion was made on the proposed zoning amendment ordinance – to pass it ‘as is’ . I don’t know if it was the lateness of the hour (by this point it was 11:30!), the audience remarks, or what . . . but the motion was seconded and passed unanimously. That’s right, Tredyffrin Township now has a very strict zoning amendment ordinance for student housing and a student registration ordinance. Although the newly passed ordinances are not going to solve all of the student housing issues in Tredyffrin, I think great strides were made in the right direction. Gold stars to the residents, the Planning Commissioners, the township staff and to the supervisors for working together for resolution!

The public meeting ended, many in the audience departed and the regular supervisors meeting resumed. The meeting agenda finally got to the new matters – Board members, and I waited to see if the suggestion of public budget meetings discussed at the July board meeting would be re-visited. And yes, Supervisor Donahue once again brought up the suggestion of a public budget meeting (to be scheduled in advance of the traditional November budget discussions.)

All 7 supervisors agreed in favor of a public budget meeting. Supervisor Olson suggested a Saturday morning meeting at the township building as a good time to schedule the meeting. Lamina suggested either Saturday, September 18 or 25 but Supervisor Kichline quickly pointed out that September 25 was my historic house tour (thank you Michelle!) and maybe the budget meeting should not be scheduled on that date. Lamina asked Mimi to look at the calendar and see about setting up the public budget meeting in September. Under new matters – citizens, Dariel Jamieson thanked the supervisors for setting up the public budget meeting and asked if the BAWG recommendations could be included in the meeting . . . the supervisors seemed to think that was a good idea and will include BAWG updates at the meeting.

Thank you supervisors for choosing transparency and citizen participation in the township budget process – we will wait to hear the date and time of the public budget meeting.

Just a couple of other items from the supervisors meeting. As a member of HARB, I joined the other members in thanking Jim Garrison, a historical architect, for his 12 years of service to the HARB. Jim and his wife recently moved from the township and therefore he is no longer permitted to serve on HARB. In their move, the Garrison’s have joined the ranks of ‘old house owners’. They purchased a 250-yr. old stone farmhouse that is on the National Register. Congratulations to Jim but the HARB will miss him!

The other item of personal interest from last night has to do with Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust. Newly appointed Trust board member, Jean Sauer, presented an update and PowerPoint presentation on the Jones Log Barn project. She provided a short history and background on the barn. The Trust is now in Phase II (final phase) of the project with an intended completion date of 2011. On behalf of the Trust, thank you Jean for providing a wonderful overview of the project.

I updated the supervisors on our Trust fall events, including the 6th Annual Historic House Tour on Saturday, September 25. our annual In the Mood fundraiser on Friday, October 22 and our Fall Lecture Series. (Tickets for the house tour are now available on our website, www.tredyffrinhistory.org) The Trust is underway with the Capital Campaign to raise the remaining $200K for Phase II. Please contact me directly at tredyffrincommunitymatters@gmail.com if you would like to help with the Capital Campaign, the house tour, In the Mood fundraiser, the Jones Log Barn reconstruction project, etc. – we will be put your time and talents to good use!

Judy DiFilippo . . . Leading by example to make Tredyffrin a better place!

Reminder: Gazebo Dedication Today @ 3 PM — Please attend as Judy is honored!

‘Leading by example to make Tredyffrin a better place’ describes former township supervisor Judy DiFilippo and are the words chosen as the inscription for the gazebo to be named in her honor, at Wilson Farm Park. The dedication and reception will take place this Sunday, 3 PM at Wilson Farm Park. This special recognition is to honor Judy’s work in creating Wilson Farm Park and also to thank her in a very small way for her 20 years of public service to the township as a supervisor.

My friendship spans 20+ years with Judy and I cannot imagine a more deserving person for this honor. She may have retired from the Board of Supervisors, but her volunteer efforts continue . . . Judy is on the board of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and is helping raise the necessary remaining funds for the rebuilding of the Jones Log Barn at DuPortail. Together, she and I will be again co-chair In the Mood, the Trust’s annual fundraiser (Friday, October 22).

I hope that you will take a break from your summer activities and join me at Wilson Farm Park on Sunday afternoon to celebrate a very special person — my friend . . . Judy DiFilippo!

Friends of Local Family in Need . . . Can you Help?

For any of you that have lived in this community for more than a couple of years, you probably have heard the name ‘Nudy’. One of the members of the extended Nudy family, Fred and his wife Pearl, are pillars in the area — having lived here their entire lives. Fred is on the board of the Berwyn Veterans Memorial and Pearl serves on the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust board with me. Either of one of them would gladly give you their last dime or shirt off their back; in other words, just wonderfully good people.

I received an email from Pearl which I would like to share with you — all the details are contained within the email if you wish to help. Time is of the essence. Please don’t doubt the sincerity of the email or the depth of the Nudy’s committment to this cause and helping this young family!

Hello Everyone!
3 weeks ago a young family came home from a visit to family members and found fire trucks blocking their road. As they made their way up the street, they realized it was their home that had burnt down to the ground.
This family lives in the Poconos. I have met them. The Dad, Tom, works in Manhattan as an elevator inspector repair man. Rides by bus almost 2 hours each way every day. The Mom, Kathy, works at home with 5 children, ages 12, 8, 6,4, and 5 months.
They were renting and had no renter’s insurance – NO fire insurance! Tom told me that he can meet their day to day expenses but with 5 kids, they have no savings. They found a home not too far from the house that burned for the same rent.
The community held a clothing drive and household supplies right away. The Red Cross gave them money to get the staples for their pantry. Family and friends have provided a bed for the parents and 3 twin beds for the 4 children. My daughter and I gave them a crib and dressing table for the baby. Karen also sent them bags of clean almost new baby clothes.
Here’s how this breaks down: One boy is sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. The kids bedrooms have nothing in them. They need stuff.
I did some shopping around and gathered the approx. cost of giving these kids some sense of life back. Dressers cost about $130 each and they need 5. Bed, with mattress and box spring, about $300. Here’s the rest:
night tables with lamps about $30
bookshelves – need 4, about $40 each
sheet sets – or bed in a bag – $30 to $50. they need 4
I think each person, including the parents, should have NEW pillows – $ 105 for 7
waste baskets and hampers for each child – $100
For approx $250 per child per bedroom – with your help – we can help to restore some order to the lives of 5 beautiful children who did nothing to deserve having their lives all but wiped out.
In my lifetime, I have known 2 families to loose everything to the devastation of a house fire. In both cases, no children lived there and the family had insurance. Of course, you can’t “rebuild” the lost possessions of love and family. But, once settled, both families went on to live normal lives. Having some financial help from insurance gave those two families a foundation on which to rebuild. I know that it was not easy for either but they managed with the goodness of friends and family and the love of God!
Imagine if in a blink of an eye, everything you have is gone. Now imagine how that must feel to a 12 year boy. Mario struggles every day to help with family chores, and get over the shock of loosing those possessions he treasured: his bed, his alarm clock, his socks, his favorite baseball jersey. his favorite games, his favorite everything!
Branden , age 8 and Matthew, age 6, are not old enough to really understand what has happened. They just know that now they live somewhere else and their rooms are empty where once they had clothes, books, furniture, and stuff.
Niamya is just 4 years old. She is probably the most confused. Every day she asks for her dolls, books, toys, teddy bears, pretty dresses and a place to sit and eat breakfast.
Yes, the day I was there, they did not have a table and chairs. They have since had one donated but with only 4 chairs. Better than nothing and they are very appreciative.
So here’s my plan: If you would just send me a gift card to Wal-mart or K-mart, a check or cash in any denomination, I will buy the “stuff” these kids need.
First, I will start with their bedrooms – new pillows very important.
Second: window blinds, shades or curtains.
Third: books, games, stuffed animals, sports equipment for the boys, and a doll or two for Niamya.
Fourth: art and school supplies, book bags
If I should get enough money, I would buy NEW school clothes for Mario. At 12 he can’t start school wearing someone elses clothes and shoes.
This family lives on the top of Mt. Pocono and it gets very cold up there. They will need blankets and comforters, coats and hats, and boots and gloves!
YES – I am asking for you to reach down and help this family. I give you my word and my personal guarantee that whatever money is sent to me, will be spent exactly as I have outlined in this email.
Time is of the essence! Fred and I will be returning to the Poconos on the 6th of August – that gives you about a week to get your donation to me.
Please – if I can collect just $500 per child, we can make a real difference. They can start school with new book bags, and some new clothes.
For those of you who know me, if I had the resources, I’d do this myself! I don’t. I need your help.
You know where I live. If I’m not home, please leave your donation in the milk box by the front door. My address: P.O. box 100, Berwyn,PA 19312
My phone: 610-975-9297 Cell: 610-908-5854
Please print this email and share it with your families, friends, neighbors, church and social groups, business groups and who ever else is out there.
May the wind be at your back and the love of God be in your heart!
Hugs
Pearl and Fred

Board of Supervisors Meeting . . . wishful thinking that Lamina would apologize

I attended last night’s Board of Supervisors Meeting which turned out to be uneventful. Although it was my understanding that Chairman Lamina was out-of-town and that Paul Olson (as Vice Chair) would fill in, Lamina returned in time to attend. Wishful thinking on my part but I hoped that Lamina would feel compelled to make amends with an apology for his behavior from the last BOS meeting. Always believing in the ‘half-glass full approach’ to life, I thought that Mr. Lamina might have reconsidered his inappropriate political party and resident motive remarks from the last meeting and offered some kind of apology. Like I said, . . . wishful thinking on my part!

There was one interesting appointment which was a bit confusing. During the New Matters from supervisors section, Kampf stated that he an appointment that he should have made during the liaison reporting — I thought he said that he was the liaison to the Historical Architectural Review Board and was making an appointment of Jean Sauer to the HARB Board. If that was the statement from Mr. Kampf it was incorrect; the appointment of Jean Sauer was to the Trust (Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust). Mr. Kampf is the liaison to the HARB but the Trust is not a Board of the township and we do not have a supervisor liaison (we are a separate non-profit 501c3 organization). When the Trust was created, the charter does require 2 appointments from the township; currently serving in that capacity is Trish Kreek and Judy DiFilippo. Due to term limits, Judy’s term was ending this month (however, she remains on the Trust as a Board member, but not a township appointee) The Trust Board is thrilled to have Jean Sauer join us, I just want to set the record straight that there is no supervisor liaison to the Trust and that Jean will be on the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust Board not the HARB.

Daily Local Runs Article on BOS Meeting

I picked up yesterday’s Sunday Daily Local newspaper and was surprised to see that they too were running the story from last week’s Board of Supervisors Meeting. Blair Meadowcroft’s article from the Main Line Suburban Life appears in the Daily Local newspaper in a slightly different version with a new headline.

It has now been a week and I’m still fielding phone calls and emails from people, wanting more details about the Pitcairn Properties offer and an explanation of the difference between that offer and the solicitation of Comcast. As I explained at the supervisors meeting, I believe that conceptually the Pitcairn offer is the same as the supervisor’s solicitation of Comcast and can offer the residents no further explanation.

Although the Trust board members were left with no choice but to accept the Board of Supervisors decision on Pitcarin in 2008; I have to admit several Trust supporters have suggested that the BOS decision might have been different if the public had been made aware of the offer at the time. However, for the Trust, it is not about going backwards — we accepted and understand that we can not go back to 2008 and recover that offer from Tony Noce, of Pitcarin. It is about 2010 and about the process and decisions of our Board of Supervisors.

From my vantage point, questions remain unanswered by the supervisors responsible for the Tredyffrin Township Supervisors Holiday Firefighters Fund Drive. Other than bringing public awareness of supervisors Kampf, Lamina and Olson solicitation of companies doing business in the township or under contract negotiations (such as Comcast) what more can be done?

Tredyffrin official responds to question about fund drive

By BLAIR MEADOWCROFT, Special to the Local News

TREDYFFRIN — Tension mounted at a township supervisors meeting after Pattye Benson, president of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, spoke about funding for firefighters.

Her comments came just after the end of the first quarter and the March 31 deadline for collection of the Tredyffrin Supervisors Holiday Firefighter Fund Drive.

Benson said that after budget cuts to township fire companies, three of the seven supervisors worked on the fund drive, which netted $23,200 for the fire companies.

“I voiced my concern about the solicitation by supervisors to companies that could be doing business with the township, and I cited a specific example from May 2008 and the Pitcairn Co,” Benson said.

Benson explained how in 2008 a vice president for Pitcairn Properties had offered an in-kind donation worth as much as $50,000 to the trust. But the trust later learned it could not accept it.

“The idea was that there could be a ‘pay to play’ perception because of a final review of the land development project between the township and Pitcairn,” said Benson. “Warren Kampf was chairman at the time and he was absolute that I could not accept this offer because this company was doing business with the township. I knew nothing about Pitcairn’s planning commission review, yet I could not accept the offer.”

That conflict of interest, Benson said, is similar to the fund drive in that supervisors were doing fundraising for fire companies.

“The very same people who told me I couldn’t accept the offer from Pitcairn were out soliciting money,” said Benson. “The way I see it is the only difference between the Pitcairn/Trust situation and the fire company solicitation is that one was an in-kind offer and the other was a monetary contribution; both could be perceived as benefiting the township.”

Kampf said township Solicitor Thomas Hogan had advised that the donation could not be accepted because Supervisor Judy DiFilippo was on the trust’s board, thereby creating a conflict of interest.

“The difference as I see it between the situations is that we are supervisors who are free as individuals and who are allowed to accept charitable donations,” said Kampf.

“I do not surrender my rights as a private citizen. When I see a problem that I can help with, I will. We went out, asked for help and were able to raise close to $25,000. And people were free to refuse to donate. There were some who refused, and that is fine; we wouldn’t hold that against them.”

Lower Merion’s La Ronda was Demolished . . . Could this Happen in Tredyffrin Township?

Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s Spring Lecture Series will kick off tomorrow, Wednesday, April 14 with a very special lecture, La Ronda . . . The Fantasy of Architect Addison Mizner.

La Ronda was an extraordinary and unique house in Villanova that was variously described as Spanish Revival or Castilian Gothic. Built in 1929 by flamboyant architect Addison Mizner for industrialist Percival Foerderer, its National Register nomination described it as including “51 rooms, 21 of which were bedrooms, Spanish towers, Gothic porticos, Venetian stained glass, Italianate monastery cloisters, and European formal gardens.” After a lengthy and costly battle to save La Ronda, the magnificent structure was demolished in October 2009.

Strafford resident and architectural historian James B. Garrison will be at historic Duportail House in Chesterbrook on Wednesday, April 14 as guest speaker of the Trust’s Spring Lecture Series. Mr. Garrison’s lecture on La Ronda will include a slide presentation which will offer a last glimpse of the house and gardens, as well as discussing some of the preservation issues related to the remaining unique residential properties on the Main Line. A reception will begin at 7 PM followed by lecture at 7:30 PM. Lecture admission is $15 and all proceeds go toward Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s rebuilding effort of the Jones Log Barn at the DuPortail House location. Visit Trust’s website, www.tredyffrinhistory.org for further information or click here Spring Lecture 10 – Garrison Press Release for press release.

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La Ronda represented a valuable historic treasure in the community and this lecture provides an opportunity to remember its significance. Save Ardmore Coalition documented the final days of La Ronda on YouTube; click here to view.

For purposes of full disclosure, I am Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s president. We live in a historic community and I would encourage your to attend this lecture and show your support for preserving and protecting our historic resources.

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