Upper Dublin board votes to borrow $9M for purchase, renovation of 520 Virginia Drive

520 Virginia Drive eyed as future site of township library.

UPPER DUBLIN >> The board of commissioners voted 5-2 Nov. 14 to borrow $9 million for the purchase and renovation of 520 Virginia Drive, the potential new home of the township library, as well as renovations at the township building.

Commissioners Robert McGuckin and Liz Ferry, both of whom had previously voted against the purchase of the office building, cast the nay votes.

“I don’t support the expansion of the library and am concerned about the operating costs [of 520 Virginia] estimated as up to $800,000 a year,” Ferry said afterward.

McGuckin said his “concerns are primarily on costs,” and he also wanted “to be consistent” with his previous vote.

“The only commitment for the money right now” is the $5,080,000 purchase cost of the building, Township Manager Paul Leonard said, noting settlement is Nov. 21. “The $4 million balance is subject to the board of commissioners” to be used for renovations.

The borrowing is at an anticipated rate of 2.5 percent for 20 years that “will be covered under current debt service,” he said.

The 15-year-old township building “has potentially $6 million in renovations,” Leonard said. “Both cases will be subject to what we have to do, what we can do and what we can’t do.

“The money has to go a long way. There are things that won’t get done with this.”

The possible sale of township assets “to mitigate part of the cost” is being explored, board President Ira Tackel said.

“We have identified four under-utilized properties that could be declared surplus and available for sale,” Leonard said, adding he “would like to talk to land planners about their potential use.”


Prior to the Virginia Drive vote, commissioners bestowed a commendation on a young woman involved in a near-drowning incident over the summer.

Rebecca Coutts, a young teacher, was presented a Life-Saving Citation for saving the life of a 7-year-old girl Aug. 2 while working as a camp counselor at Our Lady of Mercy day camp at the Temple Ambler University pool. The girl’s mother, Rebecca McDonald, sent a letter to the township thanking Coutts, who pulled the girl from the pool and did CPR, and the Fort Washington Fire Company for securing a landing for a medical transport helicopter as “a true testament to training and everyone doing their job.”

Other business

Among other actions taken by the board, a conditional use was approved for an existing one-bedroom apartment over a detached garage at a home at 518 Willow Ave., which is part of the historical overlay. A preliminary land development plan for 14 townhomes on the 2.6-acre Ruddy Tract on Dreshertown Road between the Dublin Terrace Apartments and Applewood Drive was approved with conditions.

The board also approved the transfer of a liquor license for Bella Napoli LLC from Horsham Township to Nicholas Formoso, owner of Ambler Pizza, 1125 S. Bethlehem Pike. Formoso said during a hearing he would use the license to sell beer at the restaurant, which is open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Sundays.

A list of beneficiaries for Monte Carlo Night, the UD Triathlon and other fundraisers was approved, and appointments were made to the new township Human Relations Commission.

Appointed to three-year terms, ending Nov. 30, 2020, were: Lisa Faden, Hilary Hartman and Meryl Stern; two-year terms ending 2019 went to Jacob Sitman and Renee Brock; and Robert Michaelson and Lisa Curcio were appointed to one-year terms ending Nov. 30, 2018.

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