Senator Byrd Asks Abandonment Of Shenandoah Park Homesteads

WASHINGTON, May 24--(AP)--Senator Byrd (D-Va.) cited "gross waste and inefficiency" today in the $1,500,000 Shenandoah Park homesteads in the Valley of Virginia and asked the Resettlement Administration to abandon the projects.

Asking Secretary Wallace in a letter to investigate the homestead project, Senator Byrd said, "I realize that I am assuming a responsibility in requesting that an expenditure of this magnitude within my own State be discontinued, but as a senator representing Virginia I regard it my duty to call to your attention the impracticability of this spending scheme and the waste and extravagance with which the disbursement has been administered.

"The objective originally may have been worthy but the administration of it has been devoid of practical and efficient operation."

Senator Byrd said if the the arm secretary found his complaint justified "I ask that you salvage what you can of this allocation and return it to the public treasury to be applied to reduce the deficit in our revenue."

Pointing out he was familiar with the vicinity in which the expenditure was contemplated, the Virginia Senator said the mountain people were accustomed to living by themselves.

The plan provides for rehabilitation of about 250 families into seven homestead projects. "To congregate them in villages in close contact with each other is in defiance of all the traditions, habits and experiences of these splendid people."

Contemplated costs of the buildings ranging from $6,000 to $9,835 were called "outrageous" by Senator Byrd. He said the original budget signed by former resettlement administrator Dr. Rexford G. Tugwell called for an average expenditure of about $6,000 per family for a house and a small acreage of land I am now informed...the Greene County project...if constructed as now proposed, will cost $9,835.62 per family and others will average from $7,000 to $8,000 per family unit...worth in real value perhaps one-third" of that amount.

"Under the guise of being helpful and to give these people a better standard of living, the Federal government proposes to exact from them rentals based upon an excessive cost of construction," he told Wallace.