York County commissioners consider preserving Lower Windsor Township farmstead

York County commissioners on Wednesday approved a bid award and contract for Bernard Anthony Inc. to perform the demolition of two structures on  Native Lands Park: a barn on Klines Run Road and farmstead.

But commissioners are considering preserving the farmstead. County engineer John Klinedinst said awarding the bid simply preserves the bid price for demolishing the barn, and the county could opt to not demolish it.

“I’m trying to preserve everybody’s options here,” Klinedinst said at the weekly meeting.

Demolition of the barn would cost $12,000 under the agreement, while demolishing the farmstead would cost $8,000.

Here’s a look at the history of the issue:

Klinedinst said the barn is partially destroyed. He said Lower Windsor Township officials notified commissioners months ago that the barn was considered a dangerous building, so commissioners responded by putting out a bid to demolish the barn.

At the same time the county was working on that, the idea came up of addressing the old farmstead, Klinedinst said.

“It’s in really bad condition,” Klinedinst said. “…The thought process was to include that demolition with the barn demolition.”

Objection

Paul Nevin of Hellam Township has objected to the demolition of the farmstead.

“The park belongs to the people of York County,” he wrote to county officials on Nov. 4. “They deserve to know that a piece of the history of Native Lands is going to be removed and that there is an alternative to it’s demolition that could be explored.”

Nevin spoke at the county commissioners’ meeting on Nov. 6.

He said he’s been restoring historic structures for more than 30 years. He said he was representing the local chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology.

He said the farmstead he wants to preserve dates back to at least the 1850s.

“The idea is not restoration here. It’s conservation,” Nevin said.

Commissioners agreed to delay demolition of the farmstead for 30 days.

Nevin did not object to the demolition of the barn.

This time:

At Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners approved a bid award and contract agreement to demolish the barn and farmstead. Klinedinst the county wouldn’t be obligated to demolish the farmstead.

“I’m happy that they’re treating the ruins with some sensitivity, because the whole story of that park is one of preservation of the land and telling the story of the land,” Nevin said. “And this is one of the artifacts that helps to tell that story.”

What’s next?

Klinedinst said the demolition of the barn could occur around Thanksgiving.

As for the farmstead, Nevin said he’s consulted with two archaeologists this past week who referred him to some specialists for historic structures. He said the structure was built in different periods.

He said they need a specialist to come in and see what the sequence of construction was.

 

 

About Ed Mahon

County government and politics reporter at York Daily Record/Sunday News.
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