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Black Horse Inn

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Source: Springfield Sun
Date: July 2, 2004
Byline: Joe Barron

State budgets $1.2M for inn

The Pennsylvania State capital budget signed by Gov. Edward G. Rendell June 22 contains $1.2 million for the Black Horse Inn.

The only catch is that Springfield Township, as the owner of the inn, needs to raise $600,000 in matching funds before it can begin to draw on the grant.

State Rep. Larry Curry, D-154, who represents Springfield, introduced the line item for the Black Horse into House Bill 1634, which provides the state's capital budget for 2003-04.

"We're thrilled," Township Manager Don Berger said Monday.

The Black Horse grant is a line item in the state's $6.8 billion redevelopment assistance budget administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Reached by telephone Monday, Curry said the $1.2 million was classified not as a preservation grant for a historic building, but rather as an economic development grant for Bethlehem Pike.

Curry said he was composing a letter to the governor demonstrating the economic benefits of a renovated Black Horse Inn, such as increased office space or the attraction of pedestrian shoppers.

In much the same way, he said, the capital grants for Philadelphia's new baseball and football stadiums were justified by the money they would generate for the city.

The township needs to raise 50 percent of the grant amount to prove its ability to complete the Black Horse, according to Abe Amoros, a spokesman for Gov. Rendell.

Once the township raises the $600,000, it can begin to request reimbursements from the state for work done to the Black Horse up to a total of $1.2 million, Amoros said Monday by telephone from Harrisburg.

To receive the full amount, the township would need to raise and spend an additional $600,000, Amoros said.

Berger would not predict how much of the Black Horse restoration the grant would cover, although he added he would know in several weeks, after Kise, Straw and Kolodner, the architectural firm hired by the township to oversee the project, submits a detailed cost estimate.

He also appeared optimistic that Springfield could raise the $600,000 needed to qualify for the state grant. The township administration, anticipating it would one day own the Black Horse, began setting money aside four years ago and so far has saved $225,000 for the inn, he said.

"We've also been talking with a local foundation that has been interested in the project," Berger said. "And don't rule out the bake sales."

Curry first jokingly suggested a bake sale fund-raiser at a meeting of the Wyndmoor Civic Association June 25.

Told of the idea, Berger agreed that raising another $375,000 would take "a lot of cupcakes."

"It is a lot of cupcakes," Curry had said, as though he were having second thoughts. "Rum cake is what you need to sell."