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Pei, MBTA Officials Meet On Choice of Library Site

Kennedy Consider Yards for Library

I. M. Pei, architect for the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, confirmed yesterday that the Kennedy family is seriously considering the Bennett St. MBTA yards as the site for the Library.

Pei met in closed session yesterday with MBTA officials, Governor Peabody, and Cambridge Mayor Edward A. Crane '85. After the session, he said that the Library was exploring several sites, but inside he reportedly asked MBTA officials to make a study of the site's feasibility for the Library.

Before yesterday's meeting, the Kennedy family had been officially committed to a four acre site adjacent to the Business School. It has been widely reported since last June, however, that they were seeking a larger area for the Library and that the Bennett St. yards topped their list of alternatives.

Early this year, President Pusey said the University would have no objections if the Kennedys selected the Bennett St. yards. The University has offered the Business School site as a gift to the Library.

Delay is Probable

Despite the Kennedys' preference for the Yards' 12 acres, there appear to be several problems involved in their acquisition of the Bennett St. site.

First, they would have to pay for the area. Its assessed value is somewhere between $3 million and $5 million, and the Library would presumably have to come up with this amount. The Library Fund has raised more than $10 million for construction, but it is not known if this amount would be enough to cover purchase of the land as well as costs of building the Library and endowing the teaching Institute.

Second, it might be several years before construction could begin on the Bennett St. site. The MBTA is definitely committed to selling the Yards, but the speed of the sale will depend on how fast the MBTA can formulate its master plan for extending rapid transit to 78 outlying metropolitan communities.

The masterplan will most likely include the extension of rapid transit into North and West Cambridge--and with it the removal of the Bennett St. repair facilities to a site in some other part of Cambridge.

When this shift occurs, construction on the Library could presumably begin. But it is not known exactly how long the change will take and whether or not the Kennedys will be willing to wait.

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