Chestnut Hill Local
Date: July 24, 2003
Byline: Marilyn R. Drinker, Wyndmoor
Letter: Inn TroubleRe: Black Horse Inn 7-16-03
I've just returned from a frustrating two-hour session regarding the future of the 259-year-old Black Horse Inn on Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown, Montgomery County. This was an emergency meeting called by the township to painstakingly point out to us interested citizens the virtues of yet another plan to ravage our community.
We, the Springfield Township Historical Socity, packed the room to learn and to show our support for the inn because the property had just been taken over by yet another developer. Since the entire picture had changed, we felt as if we had a second chance at preserving the inn as the focal point of our bucolic community.
Basically the new plan will feature a 14,259-square-foot supersize Walgreen's Drug Store instead of the earlier proposed CVS. When asked of the presenters why CVS withdrew and Walgreen's wants to set u shop in the tiny "bump in the road" Flourtown, no answers were forthcoming. It is obvious that the site does not lend itself to such dense development. It is not at the confluence of major highways and there is no way the miniiinal side streets could absorb the predictably heavy future traffic. Accompanying the drug store will be an 11,172-square-foot supersize liquor store with a 5,000-square-foot office space on the second floor, a total of an additional 16,172 square feet.
My question is, where is it etched in stone that we must be plagued with a supersize chain store and a supersize liquor store to the detriment of local merchants? I respectfully suggest that a more user friendly solution would be to leave the inn in place, use it for the public weal, and surround it with attractive individual shops and landscaping with a colonial theme. It would surely help achieve the pedestrian-friendly atmosphere that the newly formed Flourtown Erdenheim Enhancement Association is so diligently striving toward. We, the 3,500 people strong, who signed the petition to preserve the inn, ask that all parties in this sensitive issue act with responsibility to the public at large.