March 09, 2001
Congress urged not to rush into buying Reagan home
By DORI MEINERT
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration Thursday urged Congress to move slowly on a proposal to acquire and preserve former President Ronald Reagan's boyhood home in Dixon as a national historic site.
Citing an existing backlog of projects, the National Park Service wants
first to study the site to determine whether it meets the criteria
set by Congress in 1998 for such designations.
"In most cases, we are seeking a temporary moratorium on new park designations or new studies on potential designations, so that we can focus existing resources on taking care of what we now own," Richard Ring, the National Park Service's associate director for park operations and education, told a House resources subcommittee.
"In this case, however, we recognize the potential significance of this site and would support an authorization for a new study," Ring said.
If approved, the Dixon house would be only the second such national historic site in Illinois. Lincoln's Home in Springfield is the other.
90th birthday last month, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois
Republican, introduced a bill that would require the federal government to
buy the Reagan boyhood home from the foundation that currently runs
it. No cost estimates were available.
born in Tampico, where a park is named after him. His family moved
often before settling in 1920 in Dixon, in the northwestern part of the
state, which Reagan considers his hometown. He lived in the house at
816 Hennepin Ave. for four years.
unclear what role this home had in Ronald Reagan's life," said
Delegate Donna Christensen, a Democrat and the Virgin Island's
non-voting representative in the House.
While the Dixon site isn't being threatened by developers or other harm that would require an urgent response by the federal government, Wymbs said foundation members are concerned that they're getting older and would like to see the home's future settled.
The historic designation is only a small part of a wave of proposals nationwide to honor Reagan.
An airport, a federal office building and most recently an aircraft carrier have already been named for the 40th president.
Now, the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project wants Congress to approve the construction of a Reagan memorial on the National Mall.