The HBNA was formed in 2013. Our first major accomplishment was the successful effort to save the Birchrunville Schoolhouse from a significant development proposal.
Significant expenses were incurred in this effort, but we had no choice for if the Schoolhouse was lost, it would have been lost forever. Thankfully, it did make a difference -- in a
recent story from the Daily Local News, the Supervisors "credited the residents for the developer’s decision to sell the property."
We announced our Spring Fundraising Drive in March with the letter below.
On May 5 we posted a press release anouncing the results of the Drive. All outstanding financial obligations related to the Schoolhouse development proposal have been fulfilled. THANK YOU!!!
March 15, 2014
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The beginning of this month has brought some welcome news to supporters of the historic Birchrunville Schoolhouse. The land development plan for the property was withdrawn and West Vincent Township completed a purchase of a portion of the property for use as a passive park. Together, these events will preserve the Schoolhouse for future generations.
This outcome would not have been possible without your past support of the HBNA. In a recent story from the Daily Local News, a township supervisor “credited the residents for the developer’s decision to sell the property." This no doubt is a reference to the strong case prepared by our legal and land use experts for the Conditional Use Hearing. Many hours of meetings went into the preparation of the case and the team was ready with an extensive cross-examination should the opportunity arise. Our attorney Steven Yusem is a top practicing attorney in municipal law and he really made us dig in and do research; we really learned a great deal about our laws and ordinances.
At a recent township meeting, it was suggested that lawyers will tell you anything you want to hear if you are paying them. Well, our lawyer told us to get involved. Land use experts told us to get involved. Officials from Harrisburg told us to get involved. Federal preservation officials told us to get involved. They all told us that we were right-- and on the right track-- but everything at State and Federal levels are pretty much guidelines. The ultimate lesson we learned is that preservation happens on a local level - with the local government, and in the end, with us.
The schoolhouse battle was won. But more importantly, we feel that we won our community back. It’s often said in preservation circles that “preservation is about more than saving a building.” Rather, it’s about saving the spirit of the community. We did that… and now we have the means to protect what we hold dear.
During our fundraising campaigns, we are frequently asked just how much this effort cost us. People are often taken aback at the answer. Here is a breakdown of our expenses:
Note that this is just the outside costs and doesn’t even count the thousands of dollars in materials and time that have been donated to assist our fundraising events. In addition, a predecessor group “Save Birchrunville” spent tens of thousands of dollars in 2006 to oppose an earlier development plan for the Schoolhouse.
In April, our final payment of $10,700 to our attorney is due. It is our only remaining liability and we would love to clear the slate and have the Association be debt free. We would love to have our future events to not be fundraisers, but simply celebrations of our village and township.
Please consider supporting the Historic Birchrunville Neighborhood Association by making a contribution. Send donations to:
c/o John Eldridge, Treasurer
P.O. Box 202
Birchrunville, PA 19421
And, finally, thank you all for making this the *hub of the universe" (Thomas B. Dewees, 1844-1919).
The Historic Birchrunville Neighborhood Association