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The New York Times

The New York Times


Dallas Suburb Votes to Allow Land Sale for a Bush Library
Published: May 14, 2007

UNIVERSITY PARK, Tex., May 13 – The prospect of the George W. Bush Presidential Library’s being built on the campus of Southern Methodist University received a lift over the weekend when voters in this Dallas suburb passed a proposition that paves the way for the city to sell a piece of parkland to the university.

The ballot proposal — passed on a vote of 1,782 to 420 on Saturday — will allow this city of some 23,000 residents to sell Potomac Park, an undeveloped strip that could prove important to plans for the presidential library. The pioneering Caruth family donated the eight-tenths-of-an-acre parcel in the 1950s to University Park, five miles north of downtown Dallas.

“S.M.U. and University Park have grown and flourished together, and this outcome represents our shared dedication to enhancing the quality of both town and gown,” the university’s president, R. Gerald Turner, said on the city’s Web site.

Officials at Southern Methodist notified the city of their interest in buying the greenbelt last June. Possible uses announced this year included student housing, intramural fields or the presidential library, were it awarded to the university.

The city’s Web site said S.M.U. would pay fair market value for the property and reimburse the city for expenses associated with the sale, including the election costs. According to the city’s Web site, an outside appraiser valued Potomac Park at $1.6 million last year, although it will be reappraised.

Proceeds will pay for other park projects, said Mayor James H. Holmes III of University Park in a statement on the Web site.

President Bush has not formally announced where he wants to establish his presidential library but has said that he favors S.M.U. He and his wife, Laura, are former residents of Dallas and are Methodists. Mrs. Bush is a graduate of S.M.U. and is a member of its board of trustees.

In December, Donald P. Evans, the former federal commerce secretary, revealed that the George W. Bush Presidential Library Site Selection Committee was entering exclusive discussions with S.M.U. to build a library and a museum.

Planners also say the library would include a policy institute that would report to a foundation established by Mr. Bush, a divisive issue on the 11,000-student campus.