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Archives Find Yorba Linda Homeby Janette Neumann,
Yorba Linda Star December 10 1987 page 1
Yorba Linda and the Richard Nixon Presidential Archives Foundation have signed an agreement that will place a $25 million library and museum within the city.
Mayor Roland Bigonger announced the foundation's decision to go with Yorba Linda, dashing any hopes by San Clemente officials to attract the foundation to build the library on a seaside bluff as part of a large development.
Prospects for San Clemente dimmed Oct. 9 when the foundation announced its interest in making Yorba Linda, the former president's birthplace, its location.
It took city officials just under two months to acquire a large portion of the library site and agree to conditions that include deeding the land purchased in October to the foundation.
Tuesday's announcement took place amid the bright lights of various television and media crews. All council members were present at the press conference called by the city.
“All of us on the council couldn't be more pleased to contribute to the preservation of such a valuable piece of our American history,” said Bigonger.
The library will be built next to the house where Nixon was born in 1913 and the Mayor announced plans by the city to acquire all of the land that originally constituted the 9-acre Nixon homestead.
According to Bigonger, the foundation expects to break ground in September, 1988 and complete construction of the library by 1990.
Two private residences at the far edges of the triangular parcel have yet to be acquired by the city.
A 6.1-acre school site purchased from the Yorba Linda School District for $1.3 million is a major portion of the Nixon homestead. Including the historic Nixon homesite, more than eight acres of the library site are now owned by the city.
The foundation, composed of former Nixon aides and friends, had been searching for a place to put the presidential library since March of 1983, when Yorba Linda and Cal State Fullerton competed for selection of the site. That same year, San Clemente—dubbed the “Western White House”—entered its bid for the library location.
The library will contain none of the material Nixon acquired while president, including the infamous tapes and records connected to the Watergate scandal and Nixon's resignation.
Papers and memorabilia from other periods in Nixon's political career will be submitted.
Nixon, president from 1969 to 1974, is happy that the library will be built soon. In a recent letter to former Yorba Linda Mayor Irwin Fried, Nixon thanked the official for acting quickly in his interest.
One reason Nixon decided against the San Clemente site hinged upon problems between the city and Lusk Co., developer of the site which would have included land for the library. These problems, including possible instability of the bluff-top land, would have taken more time to resolve than the former president wanted to take, foundation officials have said.
The agreement with the foundation requires Yorba Linda to remove structures (other than the birthplace) from the land and provide grading and utilities. The city is required to prepare environmental impact reports at no cost to the foundation.
In return, the foundation will develop the library at no cost to the city and restore and furnish the Nixon birthplace home.
An agreement gives the city the right to build a Nixon museum on the site, as long as it meets architectural standards of the foundation and the building is no larger than 3,000 square feet. The city also will be able to use the library's theater which will be located within the complex.
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