Public Meeting, Jan. 20, 2010
A public meeting was held to discuss the future of Hope Lodge at the First Presbyterian Church in Flourtown. Hope Lodge was closed temporarily for public visitation last November 20 by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission due to the reduction in funding under the new state budget. The Friends of Hope Lodge plan to reopen the site on some basis in the spring, and also want to establish a sustainable operating plan for the site. We believe the key to the future of Hope Lodge will be making the entire 40-plus acre site a more valuable community resource. The Friends presented some ideas for creating a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) venture, as well as recreational and educational opportunities. There was extensive public comment (see below).
Notes from the Meeting
During the meeting all suggestions and comments were written on large sheets of paper. Here are the contents of those sheets.
- Mather Mill no longer safe to use. Is there stimulus money for it?
- Tourist center for Eastern Montgomery County
- Volunteers: school tours need 4+ people; mansion guides, cooking demonstrators
- Maintenance: Repairs needed. Plumbing?
- Annual cost: Range from $50,000 (without staff) - $140,000 (no major expenditures included)
- Would Commonwealth sell property to Friends? Unknown, today.
- Commonwealth and local politicians involved?
- Mass membership solicitation
- CSA. Skippack Farm closed, Weavers Way, Pennypack Farm
- Friends Group has agreement annual with Commonwealth plus umbrella agreement
- Programs and budget for Spring opening. Volunteers critical.
- Farm: Current rent (minimal) goes to the Commonwealth
- Programs with speakers each month (charge a fee). Make Hope Lodge available for speaking opportunities by other groups (fee-splitting)
- Does Commonwealth ownership preclude getting federal funds?
- Summer concerts on lawn weekly
- Volunteers: need 2-3 people at site together. May need to schedule tours. School tours need midweek volunteers
- Admission charged? Was set by Commonwealth, going forward can be set by Friends
- Hire an employee. Accountant to handle taxes, etc.
- Coordinate with Philadelphia and Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureaus
- Whitemarsh Tour May 5, 2010
- Plymouth Soccer Club offers link to website to recruit volunteers
- Federal funds.
- Community use. Some risk involved.
- Community service opportunity for 8-11 graders.
- Schools like to adopt ("Adopt a Mansion")
- Students require adult volunteers to oversee and direct
- Dog-agility trails, other groups, to use grounds. Need bathrooms. Need insurance.
- Friends need insurance.
- Existing septic system
- Any lease would involve negotation with Commonwealth
- Commonwealth currently supplies limited support
- Exchange event ideas with other sites
- Existing programs/events are not increasing overall use
- Business opportunity. Multiple avenues needed. Holistic / Tai-Chi
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