Money is in hand for the first phase of a long-awaited project aimed at bringing Hatboro's 200-year-old clock tower back to life.
Hatboro Borough Councilwoman Patty Fleming, one of about a dozen volunteers serving on a committee for the clock’s restoration and preservation, told Patch that the Millbrook Society – the local fundraising arm of the initiative – was successful in raising the $5,000 needed for a $5,000 matching grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
"We're still fundraising," Fleming said. To date, volunteers have obtained in excess of $6,000, she said, adding that anything above the $5,000 needed for the first phase will go toward future clock restoration efforts.
Officials had expected to have a contract from the state by Sept. 1, but Fleming said that has been delayed. Work can not begin until the contract is received, she said.
"We need the signed paperwork," Fleming said.
The next step is for the group to obtain an indemnification agreement and the final ok from the Hatboro Borough Council to access the clock tower, which sits atop borough hall. Acting borough manager Fred Zollers said the group is expected to submit documentation in advance of the governing body's Oct. 8 committee meeting.
"There's a lot of people that seem to think the clock itself works," Fleming said. "He's going to go up there and see what's good and what's not."
Once Winship finalizes a repair plan, Bill Dixon, an aide in state Rep. Tom Murt’s Hatboro office, said state grants would be sought next year to carry out the necessary restorative measures.
Officials have estimated that repairs would cost $35,000. The group hopes to raise another $15,000 as an endowment to cover future upgrades.
Built in 1812, the clock tower was a warm-up of sorts for a similar clock that Horsham native Isaiah Lukens built in 1839 for Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. Officials had hoped to have it keeping time again in time for its 200th anniversary, but have since set their sights on 2015, for Hatboro’s tricentennial.
To get involved
Donations can be mailed to the Millbrook Society, P.O. Box 506, Hatboro PA 19040. Please make note on checks that the contribution is for the Lukens clock tower project.