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Claflin, Durant Offer Botanic Garden Site To Harassed Cambridge Housing Officials

May Keep Property, Erect Project Itself

By J. ANTHONY Lewis

Meeting in an atmosphere of interested cordiality, Business Manager Aldrich Durant '02 and Treasurer William H. Claflin, Jr. '15, proposed to the Cambridge City Council housing subcommittee at City Hall yesterday afternoon two ways of using University property to relieve the city's housing shortage.

First of the solutions to use seven and a half acres in the vicinity of the Observatory and Botanical Gardens was to lease the area to the city for five years as $1 per annum for the erection of temporary dwelling units.

As an alternative, Claflin and Durant were authorized by the University to suggest that Harvard itself go into the real estate business by constructing permanent homes and leasing them on its own authority.

Impetus for yesterday's Town-Gown at- tack on the problem was furnished by the passage by the state legislature of a veterans housing bill giving cities and towns the right to acquire "tracts of land which are entirely, or almost, unoccupied by buildings," by right of eminent domain, to be used for housing "of a temporary nature," for a period not to exceed five years.

Claflin indicated that if he did not talk business with the city at this time, the matter could very easily be taken out of his hands.

Councilmen Disagree

The three Councilmen who make up the housing subcommittee failed to agree on which of the University's proposals they considered more attractive. Michael J. Neville, chairman of the group, remained superficially impartial, but kept bringing the discussion back to the $1-a-year plan.

John J. Foley appeared as the staunchest defender of the University's plan to build its own permanent homes. "Why take the land by eminent domain or rent it," he said "if Harvard will build better houses than we could, and if we shall also be able to collect taxes from their project?"

Corporation Prefers Second Plan

Remarking that the Corporation had already indicated approval of funds for homes whose management would remain in University hands, Claflin stated that he would submit both proposals in writing to the Council as soon as the Corporation gave its final sanction.

Under the second plan, the University would retain the right to rent the houses to its own personnel.

Durant and Claflin produced sketches to show exactly how the University would convert the land of the Botanical Gardens and the Observatory to housing use under the second plan. They promised to begin work as soon as possible on four-family dwellings or other units, which they estimated would permit the Botanical grounds to hold 28 families and the Observatory about 14 more, if the Council okayed that plan

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