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Plans for construction of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library on the present MBTA storage yards in Cambridge received an unexpected jolt yesterday from Boston Mayor Kevin H. White, who announced he would oppose the latest plans for moving the MBTA car barns.
White said he will not support an MBTA proposal to buy 24 acres of land in South Boston until the city is guaranteed continuing tax revenues from the land.
Last Friday, the MBTA announced an agreement to buy the land from the Penn Central Railroad for $7 million.
"This year Penn Central paid almost $200,000 in property taxes on this South Boston land." White said. "I want to guarantee that the city will receive at least this amount in the future, and I am convinced that the property could produce even more tax revenue."
The MBTA agreement Friday was expected to end over four years of fighting and delay in building the new library. Once the car barns are moved, construction of the library will still take three and one-half years, according to library designer I. M. Pei.
White's opposition does not necessarily veto the MBTA switch. He said he will withhold his support of the purchase until the Boston Economic Development and Industrial Commission completes a full study of the situation.
The MBTA has tried to relocate in several places over the last four years, including Dorchester, Mattapan, and South Braintree, but residents of each community-feeling that the barns would be a nuisance-have always blocked the move through court fights and legislative action.
The Penn Central agreement, which would place the barns on an old switching yard, is the closest the MBTA has yet come to relocation.
While debate continues about the site, over 15 million pages of documents from the Kennedy Administration have already been collected for the library and are presently located at the Federal Records Center in Waltham, Mass, where a staff of four men is sorting them out.
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