Schwenksville moves into new borough hall after $1M renovation | News

SCHWENKSVILLE — After decades in a charming but tiny landmark building, borough government has moved a few blocks down the street to a firehouse renovated for just over $1 million.



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Schwenksville Borough Manager Anne Klepfer said the staff will “miss the natural light” from the building’s many tall windows.




“We’re going to miss the natural light. It was wonderful in the winter and would warm you up; not so nice in the summer though,” Borough Manager Anne Klepfer said of the older building.

What the staff won’t miss are the cramped quarters in the 703-square-foot building, built in 1880. That’s older than the borough itself, which was not incorporated until 1903.

But its age meant it was not compliant with ADA regulations and handicapped residents could not get into the building or use the bathrooms there. 

The now vacant building has served as a “buttonhole factory,” a firehouse and, for many, many decades, as Schwenksville Borough Hall.

“It’s kind of ironic when you think about it, that we’ve been in Schwenksville’s old firehouse and we’re moving into another former firehouse,” Klepfer said.



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The “new” Schwenksville Borough Hall was built in 1978 as a firehouse. Its renovation cost just over $1 million.




The building into which borough government has moved is located at 300 Main St.; is significantly larger — 4,800 square feet larger — and significantly newer, at least by comparison. It was built in 1978 and until a few years ago, was occupied by Schwenksville Fire Company.

It became available when the fire company merged with the Lower Frederick Fire Company and moved its operations and equipment to that firehouse, just down the road.

“We looked into knocking it down and building new, but that would have been much more expensive per-square-foot,” Klepfer explained.

Further, the current building allows for a 2,300-square-foot community room where the old engine room was and which, if this pandemic ever ends, will be available for the public to rent out.

“We can open up the garage doors and it opens right up onto the plaza,” Klepfer said.

The new building also has plenty of parking for the adjacent Meadow Park, the pavilion there and the trailhead for the Perkiomen Trail which, Klepfer said, is seeing a surge in use by those craving safe, socially-distant outdoor activity during the pandemic.



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The old Schwenksville Borough Hall was built in 1880 as a “button-hole factory,” 23 years before the borough was even incorporated.




The new borough hall even kept a space for a small museum showing off old fire fighting equipment.

That still leaves plenty of room for borough offices once crammed into 703 square feet.

“I had this little cube in the old office and when we moved, they took 20 file boxes out of my office,” she said.

The old building is currently up for public bidding, a process that is being conducted online. “We couldn’t afford to maintain two buildings, and we didn’t want to be landlords,” said Klepfer.

Selling the building will also help with the financing. 

When bids came in higher than anticipated, the borough had to put up $100,000 to cover the costs and the proceeds from selling the landmark building will help pay that money back.

The rest of the funding, $1,049,890 came through financing from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Rural Development program, Klepfer explained.

To access the money, the borough had to show that it could finance the amount without raising taxes, “which we can,” she said.

The USDA required the borough to obtain interim financing, which was done through a borrowing from Univest last year. Now that the project is complete, the long-term bond, paid back over 35 years, is being enacted by borough council.

Klepfer said if settlement is completed in December, the borough will pay only 2.125 percent interest on the note.

The building is currently closed due to the pandemic and officials hope to have a grand opening ceremony when it is safer to gather a large group.

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