Could Newbury Take the Pink House?

Tuesday June 18, 2024

Pink House - Sunset

Could Newbury Take the Pink House?

By Stewart Lytle, Reporter

PLUM ISLAND TURNPIKE –The fight to save the nearly 100-year-old Pink House continues, although the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (F&WS) has handed it over to the federal General Services Administration (GSA) to auction it off.
If an auction of the Pink House were to succeed, a private owner would have to remove it from its current site. If it failed, the F&WS, a division of the U.S. Department of Interior, is expected to proceed with its well-publicized plan to demolish the house by winter.
“We are told the house will go up for auction very shortly,” the Support the Pink House (STPH) all-volunteer organization wrote in a new post on its web page.
But as bleak as the situation for the Pink House looks, a new option has emerged, according to the non-profit group.
The acre of dry, upland and the already surplus Pink House could be returned to the town of Newbury, which has expressed an interest in reclaiming a much needed home and returning it to the town’s tax rolls.
“This certainly is a fresh solution, and one that we endorse,” said Rochelle Joseph, the STPH president. “Needlessly demolishing the house at an estimated cost of $50,000 to $90,000 is not the best use of our tax dollars, especially when you add in the federal funds spent to buy it.
“The Pink House would be useful to the town, which would then continue to contribute to the region’s economy and tourism.”
A high-level meeting of local, state and federal officials is being developed in hopes of saving the Pink House.
The F&WS has stated it plans to demolish or remove the Pink House, the most photographed and painted icon on the North Shore, and replace it with several benches for viewing the marsh and a handful of parking spaces off the Plum Island Turnpike.
“The view of the marsh would be essentially the same that the Greenbelt (land trust) has 300 yards down the turnpike,“ said Jeff Ackley, a STPH Board member.
The F&WS wants about $425,000 in equivalent marshland owned by a non-profit group in exchange for the house and acre on the marsh. It has worked independently and with the STPH for months trying to identify an appropriate tract of land that could be traded for the Pink House.
If the house is auctioned off by the government, the STPH Facebook post states: “the house would be taken away, broken apart or whole, to another location. And the perpetual preservation restriction that STPH worked hard to create through the MA Historical Commission, to ensure its signature silhouette and pink color would forever stay the same, would not transfer with the house.”
The STPH has not stopped looking for solutions, because its members want to keep on fighting, Joseph said. “This is not dying down – and we have had non-stop calls telling every elected official we can.”
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