Carter library meets 'roadblocks'

Finding a home for presidential libraries is not always an easy task.

Residents of Cambridge, Mass., concerned about traffic congestion and other disruptions, blocked plans for the Kennedy library there. It ended up in a more open area on the south side of Boston. Former President Nixon is running into strong faculty and other opposition to his plans to locate his library at his former law school, Duke University, in North Carolina.

Now Jimmy Carter has run into a snarl of problems in his desire to have his presidential library located on a hill near downtown Atlanta.

It is not a rerun of the battle of Atlanta, but the cast of characters jumping into the fray looks like a relisting of some key Carter presidential aides.

Mr. Carter is hinting that he may take his plans for a library to another state if he does not get his preferred Atlanta site.

The site selected is in the middle of a large swathe of land cleared of homes about a decade ago for a commuter highway. Local neighborhood groups vigorously opposed the plan and then-Governor Carter blocked it at the last moment, saying studies showed it was not needed.

Now the state says that unless it goes ahead with plans for a major commuter roadway through the land, the land will have to be sold back to the original property owners. That could effectively kill plans for the library, says a Georgia Department of Transportation engineer.

Neighborhood opponents have geared up again, promising to fight the proposed roadway.

Former Attorney General Griffin Bell and Carter adviser Charles Kirbo both favor a four-lane roadway through the area. Former White House aide Jack Watson, now running for governor of Georgia, opposes one. Former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, sworn in as mayor of Atlanta Jan. 4, opposes an ''expressway'' but has not definitely said he opposes a four-lane road. Mr. Carter said recently he favored something like the Rock Creek Parkway in Washington.

But neighborhood opponents say a four-lane parkway or roadway would split their neighborhoods. One opposition leader, Quinn Hudson, points to still general plans for elevating the roadway in places by more than 20 feet (a point confirmed by a Department of Transportation engineer). This would, says Hudson, be a ''barrier'' through neighborhoods.

''Why does Atlanta have to pay the price for their (suburban commuters) decision not to live in Atlanta?'' asks Mr. Hudson, a local economic consultant.

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