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                                                       Calendar No. 178
107th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     107-76

======================================================================



 
 WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 
                                  2001

                                _______
                                

                October 1, 2001.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1000]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 1000) to adjust the boundary of the 
William Howard Taft National Historic Site in the State of 
Ohio, to authorize an exchange of land in connection with the 
historic site, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the Act do pass.

                                purpose

    The purpose of H.R. 1000 is to adjust the boundary of the 
William Howard Taft National Historic Site in Ohio to authorize 
an exchange of two parcels of less than one acre of land and to 
authorize the further acquisition of another \3/4\-acre parcel 
in conjunction with the historic site.

                          background and need

    The William Howard Taft National Historic Site, situated in 
a designated historic district in the Mount Auburn section of 
Cincinnati, Ohio, is the only memorial to Taft, who served as 
both President of the United States and as Chief Justice of the 
Supreme Court. The site, which includes Taft's home for the 
first 29 years of his life, has been a unit of the National 
Park System since 1969. Public Law 91-132, the enabling 
legislation, established the site to ``preserve in public 
ownership historically significant properties associated with 
the life of William Howard Taft.''
    H.R. 1000 would amend the boundary of the historic site to 
include two contiguous parcels of land. With respect to the 
first parcel, the Act authorizes a land exchange that would 
benefit both the historic site and the surrounding Mount Auburn 
community. A parking lot of less than one acre of land which is 
currently part of the Taft site would be transferred to the 
SABIS International School of Cincinnati (SABIS), a private 
educational institution in Cincinnati. The parking lot is 
better situated to access the SABIS school than the Taft site. 
In return, SABIS would transfer another tract of land of less 
than one acre to the Taft site, which could be developed as a 
parking lot, and is closer to the historic site than the 
existing lot. This exchange would benefit both the SABIS school 
and the national historic site.
    H.R. 1000 also expands the boundary of the national 
historic site to include a second contiguous parcel of land 
comprising approximately three-fourth of an acre. This property 
includes a building where the Park Service has rented office 
space for the last 18 years. The property has been identified 
in the park's master plan as land that would further the park's 
mission.

                          summary of h.r. 1000

    H.R. 1000 authorizes adjustments to the boundary of the 
William Howard Taft National Historic Site. The Act authorizes 
both an exchange of two parcels of less than one acre of land 
with the SABIS school, and the acquisition of another \3/4\-
acre parcel. The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to 
acquire the \3/4\-acre property by donation, purchase from 
willing sellers with donated or appropriated funds, or by 
exchange. If the values of the parcels to be exchanged are not 
equal, the difference may be equalized by a donated, payment 
using donated or appropriated funds, or the conveyance of 
additional land.

                          legislative history

    H.R. 1000, introduced by Representative Portman, was passed 
by the House on June 6, 2001. A companion measure, S. 921, was 
introduced by Senator DeWine on May 21, 2001. TheSubcommittee 
on National Parks held a hearing on both bills on July 27, 2001. At its 
business meeting on August 2, 2001, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources ordered H.R. 1000 favorably reported without amendment.

                        committee Recommendation

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on August 2, 2001, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 1000 as 
described herein.

                   cost and budgetary considerations

    The following estimate of the costs of this measure has 
been provided by the congressional budget office:
                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 10, 2001.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate, 
        Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1000, the William 
Howard Taft National Historic Site Boundary Adjustment Act of 
2001.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                         Robert A. Sunshine
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

H.R. 1000--William Howard Taft National Historic Site Boundary 
        Adjustment Act of 2001

    H.R. 1000 would revise the boundary of the William Howard 
Taft National Historic Site (Taft NHS). Assuming appropriation 
of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the 
legislation would cost the federal government between $0.9 
million and $1.4 million over the next three years. Because the 
legislation also could affect receipts, pay-as-you-go 
procedures would apply, but we expect any change in receipts 
would be insignificant.
    The legislation contains no intergovernmental or private-
sector mandates as defined in the unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
and would have no significant impact on the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    H.R. 1000 would expand the boundary of the TAFT NHS to 
include a small parcel of contiguous land, which the National 
Park Service (NPS) could then acquire by purchase, donation, or 
exchange. The legislation also would authorize the NPS to 
acquire an additional contiguous property in exchange for a 
similarly sized tract within the Taft NHS. The site's boundary 
would then be redrawn to reflect the transfer. Any difference 
in the values of the two properties could be equalized by a 
donation to the government from the current property owner, or 
by a cash payment to the party from the NPS.
    Based on information provided by the NPS and assuming 
appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that the 
cost of acquiring the property added to the Taft NHS by the 
legislation would be between $0.7 million and $1.2 million over 
the next three years. Because a cash equalization payment would 
be authorized by the legislation, pay-as-you-go procedures 
would apply. We expect that the exchange for the second parcel 
of land would have no significant effect on the federal budget, 
however, because the properties are similar in value. CBO 
estimates that additional costs to develop the property that 
would be acquired under H.R. 1000 would total $0.2 million over 
the next three years, and that annual costs to administer the 
new lands would be minimal.
    On May 24, 2001, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
1000 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Resources on 
May 16, 2001. Both versions of the legislation are identical, 
as are our cost estimates.
    The staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. The 
estimate was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out H.R. 1000. The Act is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing government-established standards or 
significant responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of H.R. 1000.

                        Executive Communications

    On July 27, 2001, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting 
forth Executive agency recommendations on H.R. 1000. These 
reports had not been received at the time this report was 
filed. The testimony provided by the National Park Service at 
the Subcommittee hearing follows:

    Statement of John Parsons, Associate Regional Director, Lands, 
    Resources, and Planning, National Capital Region, National Park 
                  Service, Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear 
before the Subcommittee to present the position of the 
Department of the Interior on H.R. 1000, and S. 921, bills to 
adjust the boundary and authorize an exchange of certain lands 
at William Howard Taft National Historic Site located in 
Cincinnati, Ohio. The Department of the Interior supports these 
bills.
    With one minor exception of a technical nature, H.R. 1000 
and S. 921 are identical bills. H.R. 1000 was the subject of a 
hearing before the House Subcommttee on National Parks, 
Recreation, and Public Lands, on April 26, 2001. At the hearing 
the witness for the Department of the Interior, NPS Associate 
Director Katherine H. Stevenson, recommended several amendments 
to the bill that would enable it to better address the needs of 
the William Howard Taft National Historic Site. One of these 
amendments would allow the Park Service to purchase one of the 
properties involved in the bill with appropriated funds, the 
other two proposed amendments were primarily technical in 
nature. The House Resources Committee adopted these amendments 
and reported the bill out of committee on May 16, 2001. The 
bill was passed by the House on June 6, 2001. With one 
technical exception which would be corrected by the amendment 
proposed at the conclusion of this testimony, S. 921 is 
identical to the House-passed version of H.R. 1000, and was 
introduced in the Senate on May 21, 2001.
    The William Howard Taft National Historic Site, situated in 
a designated Historic District of the Mount Auburn section of 
Cincinnati, Ohio, is the only memorial to William Howard Taft, 
the nation's 27th President and 10th Chief Justice of the 
United States. William Howard Taft lived at the property that 
became the historic site from his birth in 1857 until his 
marriage to Helen ``Nellie'' Herron, in 1886. The Taft family 
sold the property in 1889.
    This unit of the National Park System was established by 
Public Law 91-132 on December 2, 1969. The site was established 
specifically to ``preserve in public ownership historically 
significant properties associated with the life of William 
Howard Taft.'' Prior to the establishment of the historic site 
the William Howard Taft Memorial Association began efforts to 
acquire and restore the Taft family home. In 1963 the 
association leased part of the house and began to restore it. 
In 1968 the association bought the property. In 1969 the home 
and its \1/2\ acre of land was transferred to the United States 
Government. In 1972 an additional \1/3\ acre of adjacent land 
was cleared of an existing apartment building and also donated 
to the Government by the William Howard Taft Memorial 
Association.
    H.R. 1000 and S. 921 would redraw the boundary of the Taft 
historic site to include two parcels of land that are presently 
contiguous to the site. The inclusion of these tracts within 
the site would benefit park visitors by giving them easier 
access to the site, and by enabling the Park Service to better 
tell the story associated with the site. In addition, these 
bills would benefit the local community of Mount Auburn, as it 
would authorize the National Park Service to transfer a tract 
of land to a leading private educator of Cincinnati, the SABIS 
International School of Cincinnati (SABIS). This tract would 
enable SABIS, which operates a school across the street from 
the site, to better carry out its educational mission.
    The Taft Historic Site is bordered by Southern Avenue on 
the north, Auburn Avenue on the west, Young Street on the east, 
and Bodman Avenue on the south. The primary attractions for 
visitors are the Taft Home, and the Taft Education Center, 
which are both accessed from Auburn Avenue. However, to reach 
the Home or the Education Center, visitors must park along 
either heavily trafficked Auburn Avenue, or at the NPS parking 
lot, which is at the other end of the block, at the corner of 
Young Street and Southern Avenue. This lot is situated between 
two tracts owned by SABIS, and across the street from other 
land owned by SABIS. Thus, the lot is far more convenient for 
faculty, and parents of students attending the SABIS school, 
than it is for Taft site visitors.
    H.R. 1000 and S. 921 would enable the National Park Service 
to transfer this land to SABIS, which would enhance SABIS's 
ability to serve the community. In exchange, SABIS would 
transfer to the National Park Service a tract of land that it 
owns along Southern Avenue. The National Park Service would 
then develop part of this land into a parking lot, which would 
enable visitors to park one-half block closer to the Taft Home 
and Education Center than the present lot allows. The National 
Park Service would allow another part of this land to revert to 
the same character it possessed during the Taft years of 1857 
to 1899--green space. The National Park Service would also 
develop a handicapped accessible walking trail connecting to 
the site on part of this land to give visitors a better feel 
for how this land influenced the life of William Howard Taft. 
The bills also provide that if a real estate appraisal shows 
the NPS tract to be of a different value than the SABIS tract, 
additional funds or land may be used to equalize the 
transaction.
    These bills would also bring within the park's boundary 
another tract, approximately three-fourths of an acre that is 
located at the intersection of Southern and Auburn Avenues. 
This property presently contains a residential building with 40 
apartments. For the past 18 years the National Park Service has 
rented administrative office space in this building. The 
parking lot for this building, which includes a Park Service 
easement, was brought within the boundary of the park by a 1981 
boundary modification. Over the last 15 years, this tract has 
come up for sale on two occasions. Both times the NPS wanted to 
acquire the property, but was unable to submit an offer because 
the property was not within the park boundary. This property 
has been identified in the master plan for the park as land 
that would further the mission of the park. While the National 
Park Service does not have definitive plan for the use of this 
property at present, the tract could be used for a variety of 
purposes that would further the park mission. In determining 
the best use for this tract we would examine several 
alternatives, including using it to improve access to the site 
because of its location as a corner lot, and its potential for 
parking spaces; using it to aid us in telling the William 
Howard Taft story, as at least part of it could be restored to 
a condition similar to that which existed during the Taft 
years; and using at least part of it for administrative space, 
which would help the park carry out its business. H.R. 1000 and 
S. 921 would give the National Park Service the authority to 
buy this property when it goes on the market in the future. Any 
potential modifications to the property would be accomplished 
only after consultation and collaboration with all identified 
stakeholders.
    While the two tracts of land that would be brought into the 
historic site by H.R. 1000 and S. 921 were no part of the 
original Taft estate, their acquisition would be consistent 
with the historic site's enabling legislation, which provides 
that the purpose of the site is to ``preserve in public 
ownership historically significant properties associated with 
the life of William Howard Taft.'' These tracts are portions of 
land that was contiguous to the Taft property during the time 
William Howard Taft resided at the site, and are therefore 
historically significant properties associated with the life of 
William Howard Taft. In addition, these properties take on even 
greater significance in light of the fact that a large piece of 
the original Taft estate that fronts Bodman Avenue will in all 
likelihood never be available to the Park Service. Hamilton 
County constructed several buildings on this site in 1995, 
which it uses for a juvenile detention center. Thus, the 
acquisition of the tracts involved in H.R. 1000 and S. 921 may 
represent the last chance the Park Service has to deal with 
encroaching urban development that impedes its ability to carry 
out its mission at the historic site. Their acquisition is also 
consistent with the park's 1981 Master Plan, which provides for 
the preservation of ``those elements from the historic 
period'', and states that the park shall ``provide the 
appropriate opportunities for visitor use'' and ``coordinate 
area planning and management activities with those of 
neighboring communities to attain mutual objectives''.
    The costs to the treasury associated with the two land 
transactions involved in H.R. 1000 and S. 921 are expected to 
be minimal. The annual operating costs that the Park Service 
would incur in taking over the SABIS parking lot would be 
offset by the costs the Park Service would forgo as a result of 
conveying the parking lot at Young Street and Southern Avenue 
to SABIS. The Park Service would incur nominal costs in 
developing a parking lot and walking trail along this property 
of approximately $65,000. Additionally, the government would 
not incur any significant cost in carrying out this land 
exchange, as the both properties are substantially equal in 
value.
    The property at Southern and Auburn Avenues has been 
assessed at $505,000. The level of operational costs associated 
with this site is unclear at this time because we do not have a 
definitive plan for the use of this property.
    As noted above, S. 921 differs from the House-passed 
version of H.R. 1000 in one technical respect. To correct this 
oversight, the word ``Historic'' should be inserted prior to 
``Site'' on page 2, line 6, of the bill.
    This concludes my testimony. I would be happy to answer any 
of our questions.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the Act H.R. 1000 as 
ordered reported.