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Preserving Time

A group of Hatboro-area clock collectors hope to create an endowment to restore and preserve the nearly 200-year-old borough hall clock tower.

Following a state grant denial, a group of clock enthusiasts are set to chime in about their preservation plans for .

Led by Hatboro businessman Charles Roche’ - whose office is in direct view of the historic structure - the group is expected to discuss with the council next month its plans to “create a permanent, perpetual endowment,” according to Hatboro Main Street Manager Stephen Barth.

“Interest from funds would go toward maintenance, repairs and perpetual care of this clock,” Barth said. “They would like to move ahead with this project immediately.”

The urgency, Barth said, stems from the clock’s upcoming 200th birthday in 2012. Horsham native Isaiah Lukens istalled the clock in 1812. Lukens later made a similar clock for Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

Following next year’s milestone date, Barth noted that the borough’s 300th anniversary is in 2015 and the group hopes to have the clock restored to working order in time for that occasion.

Barth said if the governing body gives them the go-ahead, the clock enthusiasts intend to establish a 501c3 nonprofit group to fundraise and to enable tax-free contributions. The project would follow the lead of an old church in the center of Bethlehem that had an endowment established for its clock tower’s preservation, Barth said.

Restoration plans for Hatboro's clock tower have been underway since roughly 2008. Most recently, the council applied in January to the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission seeking $6,800 - $5,000 from the state and $1,800 in matching funds. That money would have been used to devise a detailed plan on the equipment, labor, cost and timeline necessary for disassembling, preserving and reassembling the clock, which sits atop borough hall.

Keith Winship of Hatboro antique clock restoration business , had planned to use the grant funding to put together a very detailed restoration plan.

“One of the problems that the clock has now is it’s suffered many, many years of what I would consider to be poor repairs,” Winship told Patch in January. “At this point, running the clock is doing damage.”

Council President Marianne Reymer announced during Monday’s meeting that the state rejected the borough’s grant application. Hatboro was one of 95 applicants seeking a total of $1.284 million. The state had $500,000 allocated for the 2010-2011 grant cycle, she said. 

Officials said the borough would consider applying for the funding next year and would seek out additional grant sources. 

 

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