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Black Horse Inn

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Source: Springfield Sun
Date: October 27, 2006
Byline: Joe Barron

Benefit event, preservation grant add to funds for inn's restoration

When preservation-minded donors gather at the Sorella Rose Restaurant Nov. 4 for the benefit of the Black Horse Inn, they will be adding to a till that already exceeds $735,000.

The Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission awarded the inn an $85,000 Keystone Preservation grant this month.

It was the third major preservation grant the inn has received. The others are a $150,000 Save America's Treasures grant secured in August 2005 and a $500,000 capital assistance grant from the state, which was received last year.

The three grants total $735,000, nearly half the $1.5 million architectural consultants estimated would be needed for a complete restoration of the inn.

In addition, the Friends of Historic Bethlehem Pike, the organization leading the restoration effort, has raised an additional $50,000 in donations from the community, John Alviti, the group's treasurer, said this week.

Although the grants require matching funds, the Friends do not need to raise an additional $735,000 from the community, Alviti said.

In many cases, one grant may count toward the matching funds for another, he said.

"The Save America's Treasures grant completely matches the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission grant," he said.

"When we made this application, we made it already knowing we had that money matched."

Work continued on the exterior of the inn this month as Russell Roofing Co. of Oreland began to replace the structure's southern and eastern roofs.

The new sections of the roof consist of cedar shingles, which accord with standards of historical accuracy set forth by the Historic and Museum Commission, James Mascaro, chairman of the Black Horse Inn Advisory Committee, said Wednesday.

The exterior restoration will probably cost less than the initial estimate of $575,000, because much of the material and labor for the project is being donated or provided at generous prices, Mascaro said.

The renovation of the building's interior may begin by the end of 2007, he said.

Work on the southern roof was delayed by about two weeks when it was discovered a rafter was missing and needed to be replaced. Members of the advisory committee speculated the rafter had been removed to make room for a dormer on the back of the roof. The dormer was never built.

The Friends hope the Nov. 4 fundraiser will yield about $10,000, Alviti said, and it appeared they have already exceeded the goal. Tickets to the event cost a minimum of $100, and so far, 125 have been sold, Mascaro said.

In addition to dinner, the fundraiser will feature a silent auction for about 60 donated prizes, including historic maps and a trip to Tuscany.