Local man has plans for historic L. Merion cottage

A Roxborough man has purchased an historic building in Lower Merion Township at auction.

Ralph Sposato recently bought the Smith Cottage, located next to the Lewis J. Smith Park in the Belmont Hills section, in a public auction held by the township.

Sposato purchased the three-bedroom house for $75,000 dollars, as the sole bidder. He plans to renovate the property. He estimates that might take $100,000.

“It is definitely a fixer-upper,” Sposato said, “but I used to live in Belmont Hills. I have a lot of memories of the area and this purchase gives me a chance to preserve the house.”

The three-bedroom house has been vacant for 15 years. Lower Merion Parks and Recreation Director Lindsay Taylor explained the township’s reasoning for the sale.

“The goal was to really add a house to our housing stock in the township, get the house back on the tax rolls, take it off the township’s hands so we don’t have to worry further about maintenance or vandalism,” she said.

The cottage is considered a Class I historic resource due to its relationship to the adjacent Smith House. This means Sposato will face some restrictions when renovating and refurbishing the property. Taylor explained that the front and rear sides of the house must remain the same.

Sposato says he has no plans to resell the cottage. He has three daughters and is thinking of giving it to one of them in the future so that his grandchildren can take advantage of the Lower Merion schools.

Taylor is excited about the sale and a family possibly occupying the home in the future, “We’ll have a new neighbor now.”

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