“So, what is going on with the barn?” …
Over the past year, since the circa 1800 barn was restored at the Woodville site, this
question has been repeated by curious visitors and volunteers hundreds of times. Until
recently, the answer had always been inconclusive due to ongoing negotiations and
meetings with Collier Township over zoning issues.
The Barn committee, consisting of Bob Eckle, Brian Roman and Rob Windhorst, has
been working tirelessly for over a year to resolve numerous permitting issues with the
local municipality. During this time, we have utilized the services of multiple attorneys,
engineers and architects in our attempt to create a building that meets the zoning
requirements of both Collier Township and Allegheny County, yet still maintains the
historical appearance and authenticity of this unique historic structure. Unfortunately,
we have not been successful. According to the township, since the 200-year-old
structure was disassembled and then reassembled, it can no longer be considered an
historic building, which results in it being subject to modern energy, fire, and occupancy
codes. In order to meet these requirements and still maintain an historic appearance
on the exterior, the inside of the structure would need to be converted to a modern,
energy efficient building, complete with sprinklers, insulation, modern doors, additional
structural supports etc. These required changes would result in additional construction
costs in excess of $700,000. At the present time, we do not feel that we have the ability to
raise this level of funding. The barn committee also feels that it couldn’t support
spending this significant amount of money finishing the barn when these funds, if
acquired, could be better spent on other restoration and preservation projects
that would better benefit the site. Because of this, it is with great disappointment, that we
have decided to put the project on hold for the foreseeable future and use the building
for the purpose that it was initially zoned to be used for- as an historically accurate
storage barn. Unfortunately, this prevents us from holding large public events in it, in
particular the weddings, meetings, and parties which would have generated revenue for
the Neville House Associates. Hopefully, we will be able to move forward with this project
at a much later date. The recent work done by the engineers and architects has provided
us with a construction plan and drawings that we would be able to use, should funding
become available. For now, we can enjoy the historic aesthetic that the barn provides
and use it as an authentic backdrop for our outdoor events.
The Neville House Associates would like to thank all of the volunteers and donors that
helped make this the largest capital campaign and project in the history of the NHA. In
particular our thanks goes out to Bob Eckle, who initiated this project with his vision for
what this amazing structure could be, to Susan O’Toole, for her leadership as President
during the construction, to Brian Roman for his guidance regarding the legal and
financial components of the project and to Dan Ragaller, for his management of
the construction team.

Share this Post