Home » Township starts process of rehabbing Harts Corner Schoolhouse

Township starts process of rehabbing Harts Corner Schoolhouse

by Cat Jackson

The Township Committee met on Monday, January 22, to discuss routine maintenance and improvement within the Township. Special attention was dedicated to the upcoming historic preservation work at the Hart’s Corner School House, as well as a problem with garbage removal.

Historic Preservation Commission budget

The Township Committee allocated $85,000 to renovate the Hart’s School House, a historic landmark at the corner of Scotch Road and Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, on the grounds of the municipal building.

The funds were originally allocated as part of the Operations budget for the Township in 2023. As a standard part of the process, representatives of the Public Works Department visited the schoolhouse. They quickly found that the intended renovations could not be completed until something much more important was fixed: the schoolhouse was full of asbestos and lead. Because the work will take more than a year, the allocated funds had to be moved out of the Operations budget. The project is now considered a general capital improvement.

The Township will begin remediation this year, then complete the intended renovations by weatherproofing the windows and improving the shell of the schoolhouse. They are currently working with the Historic Preservation Committee (HPC) to find high-quality and affordable contractors for the repairs.

Committee member Kevin Kuchinski said he hopes that the renovations can be part of an ongoing focus on historic preservation as we approach the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution. In time, the Hart’s School House will be safe for public use; Kuchinski hopes for a future historic district, as well.

According to HPC representative Max Hayden, the HPC is exploring practical uses for the space. “Some thoughts are exhibition space, meeting space, archival space, welcoming center and the like.” After its original life as a school house, the building saw municipal use until 1964; since then, it has been empty.

Hayden had this to say about the schoolhouse: “Its prominence in the landscape and at one of the major entrances to the Township quite literally demand that the building be restored and used. It is an iconic piece of architecture in what could be the rural landscape of a historic district, given the largely rural appearance of  Washington Crossing-Pennington Road from the railroad bridge past Jacob’s Creek Road, which features many notable farmhouses from the 18th and 19th centuries.”

Hayden also expressed gratitude to Mill Roofing, who recently donated their time and expertise to do some minor repairs.

Problems with Waste Management and the steps taken to solve them

In January, Township residents faced some serious problems with Waste Management, one of the three private companies who provide garbage disposal services in the Township.

Garbage collections have been delayed or missed completely, often without adequate communication. Recent ice storms and extreme weather have certainly contributed to the issue, but the weather alone is not enough to excuse the problem.

“There are literally piles of garbage outside of certain houses,” said Kuchinski. “January has been below freezing so far, but it won’t be long before animals and rotting garbage start causing havoc.”

Waste Management missed several 2024 appointments, according to Township Administrator George Snyder. Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning was in frequent communication with the company over the coming week; she said in a private statement that they were “very responsive,” and all of the built-up garbage was taken by the end of Wednesday. The Mayor and representatives of Waste Management are in open dialogue to improve the situation going forward.

Editor’s note – I have gotten behind in publishing Township meeting articles – apologies! Article about the most recent meeting, which took place on Monday, will be published early next week. – AR

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MercerMe is the only hyperlocal, independent, online news outlet serving Hopewell Valley in Mercer County, New Jersey.

Contact us: [email protected] 

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