What to Do with the 'White House?'
While their guidance on many proposed CPA projects was a little fuzzy, one thing came across crystal clear: members of the BOS believe the White House is a disgrace to Lexington Center and something needs to be done about it – soon.
Asked to weigh in on projects eligible for Community Preservation Act funding, the Board of Selectmen Monday expressed mixed feelings about several items, including plans to stabilize the White House.
Before the Community Preservation Committee moves proposals forward to annual Town Meeting, the selectmen offer input on some items on the list. While the guidance given during their Dec. 12 meeting was, at times, a little fuzzy one thing came across crystal clear: members of the BOS believe the White House is a disgrace to Lexington Center and something needs to be done about it – soon.
With that being said four of the five are not ready to opine on spending $202,000 to stabilize any bit of the White House until hearing the Historic Districts Commission’s view on moving the decaying Greek Revival, or sections of it, from 1557 Massachusetts Ave. to the Leary Land.
“My view is we should continue to see if this would work with the HDC, see what the neighborhood thinks about it and see what LexHAB thinks if it would work,” said Selectwoman Deb Mauger.
In addition to being used for affordable housing on the Leary Land, other ideas expressed Monday included razing the building, stabilizing and then figuring out a use and using that space as an expansion of the Police Department, which is located right next door. Dawn McKenna, chairwoman of the Tourism Committee, also suggested the White House could serve as the temporary headquarters for the Liberty Ride, while the town decides on a permanent use.
Selectmen chairman Hank Manz, the lone vote in favor of stabilizing the White House and figuring out the use at a later date, said he understands those actions would possibly creating a shell, but also feels there are many uses for that shell.
Selectman Peter Kelley, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with the building and noted concerns about the building’s foundation date back 25 years.
“I never felt it was worthy of any investment other than the cost to crush it and move it,” he said, later adding that he would like to see the land cleared and used for a big tent party during the town’s 300th anniversary celebrations. “We’re just wasting good public money dressing that pig up. It’s bad news.”
Whatever happens with the White House, the selectmen said it should happen soon.
“I think we really do need to do something quickly,” said Selectman Norm Cohen. “It’s been sitting there and it really is a disgrace."
With that in mind, we want to know, What do you think should be done with the White House? Take our poll and share your opinions to the comments section below.