The following is HPHA/HPPI's proposal tp Horsham council for lease of the Penrose Strawbridge property. The lease is based on this proposal.
The Horsham Preservation and Historical Association (HPHA) has a vision for the Penrose/Strawbridge property. We want to restore the main house to accurately reflect an 1875 farmhouse as lived in by the Penrose family. When restoration is complete, the house, surrounding buildings and land will be operated as a self-sufficient model nineteenth century Horsham farm. We will coordinate our plan with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, which currently maintains and operates the adjacent Graeme Park historic site. HPHA believes that the Penrose-Strawbridge property should be a living history museum about Horsham’s heritage. We intend to develop partnerships with other local, non-profit organizations that support complimentary and historical uses. We believe this long range plan will benefit the Penrose-Strawbridge site, the Horsham Park system and the public.
HPHA proposes a twenty-five year lease. The details of the lease would be agreed upon within one month from acceptance of the proposal. The restoration work is expected to take from ten to fifteen years depending on the availability of funds. The completion is planned to be no later than the 300th anniversary of the founding of Horsham Township in 2017. Control of the property and all capital improvements will be returned to the township at the end of the 25 year agreement unless an additional lease is negotiated with HPHA.
HPHA will pay the township one dollar a year for the use of the ten acre parcel and buildings. Additionally, HPHA will assume responsibility for the utilities, maintenance and restoration of the house and buildings during the twenty-five year term of the lease.
The house and surrounding structures will be restored in a manner that will preserve the historic integrity of, and increase public interest in, the site. During this proposed twenty-five year lease period, HPHA will raise funds for the restoration of the house.
Upon acceptance of our proposal, HPHA will provide a long range plan to Horsham Council that will show a sequential schedule of restoration work, timing and estimated costs for the completion of that work. That long range plan will be updated and presented to council in January of each year for the duration of the lease. Also, each January, a detailed work plan for the coming year will be presented along with the long range plan. Attached is a summary of the work expected to be completed in the first year. See attachment “A”.
As an attachment to the lease agreement, HPHA needs Horsham Township to complete a survey of the ten acres of property to be leased, showing all buildings, driveways and known ruins. In addition, for safety reasons, HPHA needs the granting of a right-of-way to County Line road from the current driveway that ends at Governor Road. The approximate boundaries are noted in an attached plot plan. See attachment “B”.
HPHA will assume all financial responsibility for the maintenance and restoration of the Penrose/Strawbridge House. HPHA will submit to the township at the same time as the above mentioned plan update, an audited financial statement showing all income and expenditures applicable to the restoration and maintenance of the facility. Per the prior (1999) agreement, the township is responsible for connecting the house to the public water line recently run through the property. HPHA will obtain all necessary tenant insurance. All work will be done in accordance with township, state, and federal building codes as they apply to recognized historic buildings. HPHA does not expect the tax-exempt status of the property to change. Horsham Township will retain full ownership of the property.
HPHA will need Horsham Township as the owner of the site to support requests for federal, state and local grants and financial agreements sought by HPHA as the lessee. We will continue to seek out private donations and foundation grants. We will also conduct local fund raising activities. Current funding in excess of $60,000 exists to complete the expected first year of planning, cleanup and restoration work! See attachment “C”
We have engaged a public accounting firm to assure proper handling of the association’s finances, and a law firm to assure meeting all legal obligations.
HPHA’s vision includes early creation of a museum dedicated to Horsham’s history. Joint use with other local, non-profit groups is planned. Specifically, the Millbrook Society is willing to provide archeological expertise, training and displays by way of an agreement with HPHA. The Historic Preservation and Property Institute also expressed interest in a cooperative venture to help fund and operate the site. Other groups with similar interests will be considered for partnership. Possible partnerships with the Hatboro-Horsham School District and surrounding public and private schools will provide educational programs for students as well as adults.
HPHA believes that restoration of the house and surrounding buildings as an historic location best serves the Horsham community. HPHA believes that our organization has the capability and desire to complete this important undertaking. Joint use with other complimentary, non-profit local organizations will enhance the value of site to the community and become a destination for visitors. HPHA’s Penrose-Strawbridge Farm and Museum, working together with Graeme Park, the Millbrook Society, the Historic Preservation and Property Institute and other groups, will provide a significant benefit to Horsham residents that can not be obtained by each group working alone. The beauty of the restored property will not only compliment Graeme Park, it will complete another chapter of Horsham’s history, making this 103 acre park site the showplace of Horsham.
Margaret Choate - President HPHA