Yoon: Curley House ‘plan’ needed

April 3, 2009
By

JOHN RUCH

A money-making plan for the historic, city-owned Curley House mansion on the Jamaicaway is necessary, City Councilor and mayoral candidate Sam Yoon told the Gazette.

“There’s no excuse for it,” Yoon said of the current under-use of the mansion, once the home of former Mayor James Michael Curley, in a time of budget crisis. “We can absolutely not afford to do nothing.”

The Boston Finance Commission (FinComm) recently called for selling the Curley House, as the Gazette reported last month. The property at 350 Jamaicaway, assessed by the city at $2.2 million, is technically available for event rentals. But FinComm found that it is actually used fewer than 10 days a year, with maintenance costs far outstripping income.

Lisa Signori, the city’s budget director, previously told the Gazette that “everything is on the table” for the Curley House, including its sale.

Asked what he would like to see happen, Yoon said, “A plan. Just saying, ‘Anything’s on the table’ is not a plan.”

He called the Curley House situation symptomatic of the city government’s strong-mayor system and top-down budget-planning. He noted that many other major cities conduct extensive public input processes before any budget proposals are issued.

“We need to drop that kind of culture in our city, where democracy was born,” Yoon said.

Yoon led a City Council hearing on FinComm’s budget report this week in Dorchester.

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