Red Rose Inn now ready for restoration and addition
● By Steven Hoffman
Anyone who drives by the Baltimore Pike and Jennersville Road (Route 796) intersection will attest that the Red Rose Inn site looks better than it did just a few short weeks ago.
“The entire tear-down is finished and next week they will start cleaning the bricks,” explained Curtis Mason, the chairman of the Penn Township Board of Supervisors, at the Aug. 5 meeting. “It looks a thousand times better,” Mason said, “and you’re going to be so impressed when it is all done.”
Mason expressed sincere praise for a local company, G.& A. Clanton, Inc., which did the demolition work.
“They cleaned up the site every day,” Mason said. “It looks beautiful. Plus, they re-purposed nearly everything.”
Block and unusable brick were ground up to make concrete, steel will be reused elsewhere, and even wood will be used to make pellets for wood stoves.
Mason explained that lifts will be employed and a high power “soda gun” will be used to clean each original brick with a component that is similar baking soda.
“Soda blasting does a great job cleaning everything off the bricks, but is all-natural and won’t hurt the bricks or the environment,” Mason explained.
After the bricks are cleaned, they will undergo a tedious process where each individual brick is re-seamed. The next step after that will be a new roof – either cedar shake or metal, and replacing the windows. Special windows will be used that Mason said, look almost identical to the original.
“They even have the bubbles,” he said.
While the demolition work went quickly, Mason told the audience that he expects the restoration and addition process to take three to four years. The plan is to construct a 6,000-square-foot addition straight back from the original structure to serve as a large community center. The original building will house various artifacts that tell the history of Penn Township.
Naturally, the discussion of the Red Rose Inn led into a conversation about proposed work on the Baltimore Pike/Jennersville Road intersection. Township engineer Kevin Matson said the road realignment project is estimated at $1.6 million adding, “We have a good faith commitment for a lot of it from PennDOT.” In addition, they have applied for a grant that would cover an additional $800,000. “That should leave less than $200,000 out of pocket [for the township],” Matson added. “If we have to put out $200,000 for that intersection, it will be the best money we ever spent,” Mason insisted.
The supervisors also discussed the Ovations community’s application for dedication. The community has been in various stages of construction for about 10 years. A number of members of the community were present at the meeting.
Matson explained that several months ago he had compiled a “laundry list” of items to be completed for dedication. “They were not successful in completing the items, and the application was denied,” he said.
Carol Beehler, president of the Home Owners Association at Ovations, expressed the frustration of the residents. “We feel like we are fighting a battle. Every time we get a letter [from the township engineer] there are more items on it.”
Matson said that much of the problem stems from the fact that the infrastructure in the community is aging, so when a new issue, such as some reported sinkholes, arises, they must be addressed before dedication is approved.
Regarding issues holding up the dedication process, Mason said, “When [the roads] get turned over to us, they have to be perfect.”
“Everybody would like to see it resolved,” said Matson. “But if the conditions aren’t met, my hands are tied.”
One of the biggest stumbling blocks appears to be just that – blocks. More specifically, Belgian block curbs, which are present throughout the community. Mason expressed his concern that if the township takes over the roads in Ovations, plows could easily damage these curbs and it would be difficult to match and costly to repair them. Several people had recollections of a verbal agreement between Penn Township and Ovations regarding responsibility for the curbs at dedication, but it had never been formally proposed.
“I think it is important that we get our lawyers together to draw up an agreement about the Belgian block,” Mason said.
Penn’s public relations manager, Karen Versuk, immediately emailed the two parties in hopes of getting them together as soon as possible to move the dedication process forward.