By now most everyone knows the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is evaluating demolishing the beloved and iconic Pink House. Stopping this will likely involve a rather complicated land swap where land of a high ecological value (i.e. marshland) is exchanged for the Pink House and the 1 acre it sits on.
The owner of the land being swapped will NOT have to own the Pink House as the Support The Pink House nonprofit (STPH) has a restoration partner who will reimburse the land owner and then restore the Pink House with his own funds. This land swap will best meet the mission of the FWS, and will certainly be in the best interest of the community for the following reasons - a few of which you might not have thought of. Did I forget any?
1. Finding land for the swap should be easy because a land donation is not required.
2. There will be no concern about what will become of the Pink House and the land it sits on because the STPH’s restoration partner has agreed to place the Preservation Restriction agreed to by FWS, STPH, and the town of Newbury on the Pink House deed. He will then restore the house in compliance with this PR. (The plans and drawings are beautiful!)
3. The swap will mean the FWS will no longer be liable for the Pink House but they will still maintain access to and be able to preserve over 8 acres of ecologically valuable land they acquired when they purchased the house.
4. For the FWS the swap is the best use of undesirable, low ecological valued land that is also an asset worth close to $500,000 (the house along with the 1 acre it sits on has an assessed value of $425,000 plus the savings associated with forgoing demolition expenses and expenses for building a parking lot and viewing platform).
5. The swap will enable the Pink House, a nearly 100-year-old, beloved, and iconic landmark to be restored and preserved. A landmark that greatly benefits the community culturally and economically by attracting photographers, artists, craftspeople, tourists, and others to the area.
6. The swap will prevent the FWS from wasting the equivalent of $500,000 on a parking lot and viewing platform that is essentially duplicated just yards down the road at Greenbelt’s viewing location.
7. The swap will enable the FWS to build a substantial amount of much-needed goodwill within the local community and help it end its reputation as a bad neighbor.
8. For the town of Newbury, the swap will result in new tax revenue from the addition of a single-family home back onto the town's tax rolls.
It is with these benefits in mind that the Fish and Wildlife Service must:
1. Permanently halt plans and activities associated with demolishing the Pink House.
2. Recommit efforts to transparently and aggressively search for suitable land for a land swap and not give up until the swap is successful.
3. Set aside resources and work with the STPH group and the community to maintain the Pink House, an unwanted, yet extremely valuable asset, from further damage until a land swap can be completed.
NOTE: The PRNWR has stated their preferred solution to this situation is a land swap and not taking down the house. The issue is more about the amount to time and resources they are willing to put in to maintain the house and searching for land. We would all like to have the swap happen sooner rather than later. If you have or know of anyone who might have land to swap please email the STPH at info@SupportThePinkHouse.com
Written by Jeff Ackley, Board Member, Pink House Treasurer, Board member of EcoEnlighten.com
First published on 12/24, we are reposting to keep at the top of our reading list for visitors new to the website.