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Township Seeking Proposals for Rehab of Ashbridge Park Barns
Proposals are due Feb. 8
Posted Date: 11/20/2012 3:00 PM

Lower Merion Township is seeking proposals from experienced architects, builders, real estate development firms, individuals or nonprofit groups for the rehabilitation, preservation and adaptive reuse of two barns (“Upper” and “Lower”) at Ashbridge Park, located at W. Montgomery Avenue and Airdale Road in Rosemont.

The barns are on park property, granted to the Township by a Deed of Trust. The 29-acre park is also home to an arboretum, playground, tennis courts, a sledding hill, walking paths and other amenities, and will continue to function as a public park.

The 2,200 square-foot Upper Barn is a timber carriage house and horse barn from the late 19th century. The 4,900 square-foot Lower Barn is a large, Dutch style, hip-roofed horse barn built during the same general period.

Ashbridge House, the barns and the small “chicken coop” outbuilding are all classified as “Class II” resources in Lower Merion’s Historic Inventory. The mid-18th century Ashbridge House itself (5,400 square feet) is proposed to remain as a community building for public purposes. However, proposals may include plans to rehabilitate the exterior of the historic home in order to augment the barns.

Layers of history mark the buildings and the grounds of Ashbridge Park, with its arboretum-quality trees and open field areas. The “Great Lawn,” which extends to the southeast of Ashbridge House and its outbuildings, recalls the park’s agricultural heritage. It is an important community resource for passive recreation in summer and sledding in the winter. Active recreation facilities, including tennis courts and a large, very popular playground, are located in the park’s northeast quadrant. Future planned improvements include upgrading the Airdale Road access into the park, closing and removing the Montgomery Avenue access, and enlarging and improving the parking lot.

A mandatory tour of the barns, chicken coop and Ashbridge House and a pre-proposal meeting will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 10, 2013. The meeting will convene on the first floor of Ashbridge House, and there will be a question-and-answer session after the tour. After January 10, 2013, inspections of the buildings must be arranged through the Lower Merion Township Parks and Recreation Department (610-645-6220). The final day for inspections and questions will be January 25, 2013.

A copy of the RFP will be made available on the Township website under "Parks & Recreation."

Proposals are due in the Office of the Township Secretary no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, February 8, 2013.

CONTACT: For more information, contact Lindsay Taylor, Director of Parks and Recreation, at 610-645-6220 or ltaylor@lowermerion.org.