Neighborhood Groups Endorse JFK Archives for Cambridge

Five neighborhood associations endorsed Saturday construction of the archival portion of the John F. Kennedy Library in Harvard Square, but would not support University expansion on the site across from Eliot House.

Paul R. Lawrence, head of Neighborhood Ten and Donham Professor of Business Organizational Behavior, said the five groups favor a two-site policy that would locate the presidential archives and place the museum elsewhere.

He said the associations would work with the Kennedy Library Corporation in "drawing people together to create a true and workable memorial" to Kennedy.

Conciliatory Tones

The five community leaders, at a press conference Saturday morning in a Storey Street architectural office, spoke in conciliatory tones about the Kennedy Library Corporation, which announced last Thursday that it would not build a memorial museum in Harvard Square.

None of the leaders, however, was willing to support the University's planned construction of a political science center next to the Kennedy Library, unless the University agrees to pay taxes on the 2.2 acres of land it would use.

Several Reservations

David Clem, head of the Riverside-Cambridgeport Community Corporation, said he has "several reservations" about allowing the University to construct buildings on the site to house the Institute of Politics, the Kennedy School of Government and the Department of Economics.

"Forty four per cent of the land in Cambridge is non-taxable now, and this would add 2.2 acres more," Clem said. "Riverside already pays more taxes than Harvard and MIT."

Lawrence, in response to statements made by library corporation officials over the weekend, said that the groups had not held up construction of the library.

He said that since the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority has not yet removed its subway equipment from the site, construction could not have begun anyway.

The other groups endorsing the archives, in addition to Neighborhood Ten and Riverside, were Neighborhood Nine, the Agassiz Neighborhood Planning Group and the Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Association.

About 150 people met at a Neighborhood Ten meeting to discuss the Kennedy Library Saturday afternoon and passed a resolution favoring a two-site policy for the project.

Lawrence said he proposed the resolution, which had been approved by the group's executive committee, "as a signal to the Kennedys" that Cambridge favors location of the archives in Harvard Square.

The resolution was adopted by a show of hands, with only two members casting dissenting votes.