UPDATE: Mayor John Button said he'd have no problem considering a proposal from the Swede's Run Barn supporters to use the Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund for the project.
"It's a very appropriate use of the fund," he said. "I think they should put a presentation together and come to us."
, Button and the rest of council decided the project was too expensive for the township to fund, though they did agree to waive permit fees.
Since the amount the township would be asked to put forward at this stage would be much smaller, Button said he'd be much more open to the idea.
"I would definitely consider that," he said.
Restoration of the Swede’s Run Barn is on hiatus until supporters of the project can come up with the money they need to finish it.
Project volunteer Dave Schill said and donations, to date, have not been enough to cover the improvements to the historic structure.
Supporters had raised approximately $17,000 through donations, but need several thousand more to complete the project, Schill said, though he could not yet provide an exact figure.
“We need to raise funds so we can continue,” he said.
While donations remain a viable source of funding——Schill said the group has also considered approaching the township to seek the release of money from the Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.
The land the barn sits on (the 129-acre Benner Farm/Swede Run Fields) was purchased, in part, with money from the Trust Fund, which in the eyes of many—including the most ardent Open Space supporters—would make the restoration project a worthy cause.
that money from the Trust Fund be saved solely for open space and passive recreation projects.
He said the township has an obligation to not only acquire open space, but also to preserve it. “And if there’s a building on the land we bought (with Trust Fund money),” that’s part of the deal too.
“On its face, (the Swede’s Run Barn restoration) seems to be a textbook Open Space spend,” Chiacchio said. “It’s certainly a conversation we want to have.”
The councilman noted however, he would need to see an exact dollar figure before he would support spending that money.
Schill said he needs to come up with that number before the restoration supporters approaches the township.
“We were trying to avoid that (asking the township for help) so we could totally pay for it with donations, but there’s so many projects,” he said.
On the plus side, the work done to date is absolutely impressive, Schill said, crediting and stonemason George Bobb of doing a masterful job restoring the 150-year-old structure, while preserving its historic integrity.
“It’s really a work of art,” Schill said. “Because even though we do it in today’s methods, we tried to replicate what it would have looked like originally.”
He said Bobb—after evaluating the existing condition of the building’s stone and mortar—dug out all the decayed mortar and repacked the joints with new material that was better than the original mortar, which will result in “joints that will last much longer than what was done years ago and has since turned to sand.”
Once all the joints on the interior and exterior were addressed, the interior walls were coated entirely with a coat of mortar-based stucco, then finished with a burlap bag to simulate the look that was discovered during the initial survey of the building, Schill said.
With the roof and stonework completed, Schill said all that remains is for Paul Canton (of ) to install the door frames, after which the Boy Scouts and their parents will put the doors in place. Then all that’s left is for Schill himself to install a short set of steps from the front door of the barn down to the earth floor inside.
Donations by check should be made out to with “barn restoration” on the memo line. Donations should be mailed to Julie Maravich, 660 Chester Ave., Moorestown, NJ 08057.