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Source: The Philadelphia Tribune
Date: June 22, 2007
Byline: Robert Hightower

Officials mull options at President's House

New challenges have been presented to the proposed site of the President's House Memorial.

Recently, after an archeological dig on the grounds at Sixth and Market streets revealed an unexpected find, the plans for the structure had to be rerouted.

After much deliberation it was determined that Kelly/Maiello Architects and Planners would be the archeological team selected to design the structure after winning a contest for the rights to do so.

Before construction could commence, an archeological dig had to be conducted to determine whether or not there were any remains in the vicinity.

What resulted was a discovery of epic proportions.

Archeologists found what turned out to be the actual foundation to the original President's House inhabited by President George Washington and up to nine slaves who worked on the property.

Because of the surprising find, Mayor John F. Street determined that there should be something done to commemorate to importance of the find.

"We felt that something show that so we decide to slow down on the building," he said.

On Tuesday, Street announced that a task force consisting of engineers, architects, historians and exhibit professionals would be assembled to figure out the next step pertaining to the site.

The solution to this problem is to be determined in a little under the next 60 days.

Rosalyn McPherson, who serves as the project manager for President House, said the set back shouldn't cause any problems.

"The reason that (Street) gave us 60 days is because we don't expect this to take up too much time," she said.

Troy Leonard, who is the Kelly/Maiello Architect and Planners architectural project manager on the President's House, agrees with McPherson.

"We have to revise the design and present it to the task force," he said. "It's fine though, we are flexible."

McPherson said she would string together her own team to come up with a plan to accommodate the situation.

"I am going to get exhibit experts to help with this," she said. "We re going to brainstorm to determine the addition costs."

McPherson also stated there were issues that needed to be addressed now to preserve the site.

"The problem is we need to first find a way to cover the site to avoid decay," she said. "The reason that the foundation stayed intact was because it was underground. We also need to keep it from falling. Right now there is nothing structurally holding it up."


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