Town Manager Report For May 2, 2022

Photo:amherstma.gov

Source: amherstma.gov

Editor’s note: Town Manager Paul Bockelman submits a comprehensive report to the Town Council at each of its regular meetings. The reports, usually 9 to 12 pages in length, provide up-to-date information on what is happening within and across town departments. The Manager’s Report is usually one of the last items on the agenda and is often taken up late at night, leaving little time for Bockelman to do more than mention a few highlights and this is usually all that gets entered into the Council minutes. What follows is a complete, unedited version of the Town Manager’s Report. All Town Manager Reports are available on the Town’s website here.

COVID-19

  • Vaccines: Free vaccines are offered every Thursday from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the Bangs Community Center. This clinic is open for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or additional booster doses. To schedule an appointment, please click here www.amherstcovid19.org/vaccine If you are coming for a 2nd, 3rd, or booster dose, please bring your vaccination record card or other proof of your vaccination.
  • Wastewater Testing: Working with the State Department of Public health, the Town’s wastewater effluent is now being tested for the COVID-19 virus. Three or four samples a week are being submitted to the State for analysis. This is available until June 30th and we are advocating for State funds to continue the testing beyond.

Outreach and Advocacy

  • Cuppa Joe with Paul: The next Cuppa Joe was scheduled to be on Friday, May 6th with special guest Finance Director Sean Mangano. Due to a change in schedule for the Elementary School Building Committee, there is a conflict so we will be rescheduling this information session, perhaps to Thursday, May 5th.
  • Jones Library Outreach: The Jones Library Building Committee will be hosting its first Community Outreach Event for the Renovated and Expanded Building project. On Sunday May 1st from 12-2 the Outreach Committee will provide the opportunity to engage with fellow residents and library staff to be reintroduced to the programming elements for the renovated and expanded library, ask questions, and provide thoughts, ideas, and hopes.
  • Linguistic Heritage Month Celebration: April is Linguistic Heritage Months. As a culminating event, the Amherst Public Schools and the Multilingual Parent Advisory Council, in collaboration with Town’s Community Participation Officers, are hosting a Linguistic Heritage Celebration this Sunday, May 1st from 2:00-5:00 p.m. on the Town Common. Participants will have the opportunity to listen to read-alouds in Spanish and Portuguese, take a Latin dance class, participate in a story walk, make crafts and enjoy delicious snacks provided by Amherst restaurants Mexcalito and Oriental Flavor. Multilingual students, staff and community members will perform poetry, music, and dance, followed by a performance by Cape Verdean artist Tem Blessed. A graduate of UMass Amherst, Blessed is a socially-conscious Hip Hop artist whose work centers around empowering youth. He is a multilingual speaker of Portuguese, Kriolu, and English.
  • Healthy Living Community Festival: Town staff are supporting the Julius Ford Harriet Tubman Healthy Living Community in Partnership with the Human Rights Commission for a day of music, food, games, basketball tournament, and community on Saturday, May 7th from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m., at the Mill River Recreation area. All are invited.
  • Spring Clean-up:
    • The Community Participation Officers have organized a Spring Clean-up on Saturday April 30th from 10am – Noon. There will be three “rally sites”, the Jones Library, Groff Park, and the Mill River Recreation area. Numerous Town Councilors have volunteered to help as location captains.
  • Volunteers will report to one of three rally sites. Each rally point will be staffed by a team of captains with area assignments and more details. Supplies will be provided but we do encourage participants to bring their own work gloves or eye protection. Trash bags and limited other supplies will be available.
    • Get social: on the day of the Community Clean-Up, share your photos to Facebook and Twitter, tagging us @TownofAmherst and using hashtag #AmherstMA
    • Spring Clean-up Community Celebration: The Clean-up event will be followed by a community celebration on the Town Common. The celebration will be sponsored by the Business Improvement District and will include magicians, music, food, and drinks for all ages.

In the Wings

  • Budget: I will be presenting the FY23 Annual Budget and Capital Improvement Program to the Town Council at its meeting on May 2nd.
  • Mosquito Control: The Health Director will be recommending that the Town join a regional mosquito control district which will require Town Council approval on May 16th.

Colleges and University

  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst: The University is holding numerous activities on May 13th as follows:
    • Graduate Commencement is scheduled for Friday, May 13th at 9:00 a.m. at McGuirk Stadium
    • Undergraduate Commencement is scheduled for Friday, May 13th at 4:30 p.m. also at McGuirk Stadium
  • Amherst College: The College will host two commencements as follows:
    • 2022 Commencement is scheduled for Sunday, May 29th at 10:00 a.m. on the Quad
    • 2020 Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, June 11th at 3:00 p.m. on the Quad
  • Hampshire College: The College is holding an “epic, once-in-a-century, three-class commencement celebration” as follows:
    • There will be one ceremony for 2020, 2021, and 2022 graduates on Saturday, May 21st at 11:00 a.m. on the main lawn

Racial Equity

  • Reparations:
    • As requested by the Town Council, I have begun the process of seeking special legislation to define reparations as a public purpose by asking the Town Attorney to draft a rough outline of what such legislation might look like.
    • As we progress, I will seek guidance, as needed, from the African Heritage Reparation Assembly (AHRA) while drafting the petition and will provide a copy of the proposed petition to the AHRA for review prior to submitting it to the Town Council for approval to file with the State Legislature.
    • I will also be seeking the advice and guidance of our State Legislators.
  • Community Responders Program:
    • The new Director has made a positive impact in Town as he continues to meet people, approve job positions, develops scheduling options, and works through the details of the new department. He has been attending community events, District Meetings, and is trying to meet as many people as possible.
    • We have scheduled interviews with several finalists for an operations assistant position who will be key to implementing the CRESS program.
    • We have concluded our impact bargaining with the SEIU union which represents the to- be-hired Community Responders.
    • With bargaining complete, we have advertised for the Community Responders and there is already a lot of interest in working for the Town.
    • The Town secured a grant of $2,500 to purchase an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from the State office of Public Safety and Security.
    • Work continues on building out space at the Bangs Community Center to house the new CRESS program. This work was designed and overseen by the Town’s Facilities Department.
  • Welcoming Reception: The Amherst League of Women Voters is planning a Community Reception on Sunday, May 22nd, so that Town residents can meet and welcome the leadership of the new CRESS and DEI departments. They stated that “the creation of two new Town Departments to promote racial and social equity in Amherst is the beginning of a new era and truly a reason for celebration.”
  • DEI Department: The interview team has reviewed and interviewed candidates for the Director position. A short list was recommended to me for final interviews which took place this week. We are reviewing all of the applicants’ information and I expect to make an appointment in the very near future.
  • Community Safety and Social Justice Committee: The Assistant Director of DEI has been working to find a first meeting date that all appointed members can attend.

Department Updates

  • Finance:
    • The Finance Department and Town Manager are finalizing the capital and operating budgets in preparation for presenting to the Town Council on May 2nd.
    • You can learn more about the upcoming budget here, documents and resources will be added as they become available. You may access current and previous years’ budgets at www.amherstma.gov/budget
    • Here is the calendar with upcoming meetings for the budget review:
DateCommitteeTask
May 2, 2022Town CouncilTown Manager Budget PresentationTown Manager Capital Improvement Program PresentationTown Council Vote: Regional School District Budget, Debt, and Assessment
May 3, 2022Finance CommitteeFY23 Budget Review: Capital Improvement ProgramReview Water & Sewer Rates
May 10, 2022Finance CommitteeFY23 Budget Review: Capital Improvement ProgramWater & Sewer Rate Recommendation
May 12, 2022Finance CommitteeFY23 Budget Review: Budget OverviewFY23 Budget Review: Elementary SchoolsFY23 Budget Review: LibraryFY23 Budget Review: Recreation, Cherry Hill, Pools
May 16, 2022Finance Committee– FY23 Budget Public Hearing
May 17, 2022Finance CommitteeFY23 Budget Review: Police, Fire, CRESS, Dispatch, Animal WelfareFY23 Budget Review: Public Health, Senior Center, Veterans
DateCommitteeTask
May 19, 2022Finance CommitteeFY23 Budget Review: Public WorksFY23 Budget Review: Enterprise Funds
May 24, 2022Finance CommitteeFY23 Budget Review: General GovernmentFY23 Budget Review: Conservation, Planning, and Development
May 26, 2022Finance CommitteeFY23 Budget Review: FacilitiesFY23 Budget Recommendation
June 6, 2022Town CouncilDiscuss FY23 BudgetCapital Improvement Program Public Forum
June 13, 2022Town Council– Town Council Vote: FY23 Budget and Capital Improvement Program
  • Public Works:
    • Proposed Parking Regulations:
  • The Town Services and Outreach Committee will hold a public hearing on proposed parking regulations on North Pleasant Street, from Hallock Street to Triangle Street on Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.
  • The staff proposal is to establish new parking regulations for the spaces that are created on North Pleasant Street between McClellan Street and Triangle Street – other than designated handicapped spaces –and that they be metered and charged at the rate of 50 cents per hour from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and that these regulations take effect upon completion of construction of the parking spaces. The Town Council may want to consider designating some of the spaces as permit- parking spaces, to accommodate residents in the area.
    • Pavement Planning: The Superintendent of Public Works and Town Engineer made a detailed presentation on the condition of the Town’s roads and the process used to evaluate and determine paving priorities at the most recent meeting of the Town Services and Outreach Committee. The presentation and support material will be uploaded to the Town’s website. I encourage members of the Town Council to take the hour to watch the presentation.
    • Centennial Treatment Plant:
  • Governor Baker filed House bill 4720, An Act Investing in Future Opportunities for Resiliency, Workforce, and Revitalized Downtowns (FORWARD).
  • The legislation includes $2.3 billion in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and over $1.256 billion in capital bond authorizations to strengthen state infrastructure, create jobs, and invest in municipalities across the Commonwealth.
  • The bill includes hundreds of projects identified by communities or stakeholders, usually through existing popular programs like MassWorks that are deliverable within the tight timeframe required by federal ARPA regulations. ARPA funding must be authorized by 2024 and fully expended by 2026.
  • One of these MassWorks projects is much-needed additional funding for the Centennial Water Treatment Plant Upgrade which is designated to receive $3,500,000 in proposed ARPA 2.0 initiatives by the Governor. As I learn more, I will share this exciting information with the Council.
  • Trees:
  • The DPW received notification that they had been awarded a grant of $20,000 for an “Amherst Tree Inventory and Management Plan Update”.
  • The DPW received notification that it had been awarded $11,000 for “Preserving Amherst History Museum Tree” under the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Development’s Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant.
    • Roads:
  • Northampton Road: Caracas Construction continues to work on road construction along Northampton Road. This project is part of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation roadway reconstruction project that extends between University Drive and South Pleasant Street. This work will be a major disruption to local travel.
  • Snell Street and University Drive South: The developer of the project at the intersection of Northampton Road and University Drive South continues work on the new mini-roundabout at the intersection of University Drive South and Snell Street.
  • Economic Development:
    • The Drake:
  • The new entertainment venue on North Pleasant Street – The Drake – opened its doors this week to several high-profile, highly-attended events.
  • There will be a formal ribbon cutting on Monday, May 2nd at 5:00 p.m. at The Drake. All Councilors are invited to attend.
    • Farmers Market: The Amherst Farmers Market opened its season on April 23rd! The Market had an amazing opening day and is very pleased with its location on one-half of the South Common.
    • Parklets: Working with the Amherst Business Improvement District, the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts awarded a grant of $80,750 to install parklets to accommodate outdoor dining on Amity Street (Amherst Coffee) and South Pleasant Street (La Veracruzana and Fresh Side). These attractive, professionally built dining areas will be ADA accessible and support the economic recovery of the downtown area. The BID will be managing this project with support from Town staff.
    • Concerts: Sweetser Park will be a happening place this summer. Concerts are planned at Sweetser Park on June 24, June 25, June 26, July 10, July 30, August 19, and August 21. Most will run from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
    • Public Art Dedication: On Saturday April 30, from 12noon – 12:30pm, the Amherst Public Art Commission will relaunch the newly restored Poetic Dialog sculpture. The sculpture, which features silhouettes of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, sits on the parkland at the intersection of Main and Churchill Streets across from Sweetser Park. Originally designed by Michael J. Virzi and Scot Charland, the sculpture was suffering from surface damage. Last year, local artist Kamil Peters refinished the sculpture, restoring it to its original condition. Amherst Regional High seniors Linden Jimison and Rebekah Hong will perform their own poetic dialog loosely following the spirit of the “cento,” or collage poem. Each line of their script is taken from the poems of Dickinson and Frost. Live music will begin and end the half hour program
  • Apres Clean-up Celebration: After the Clean-up, also starting at 12:00 noon, there will be a Community Celebration on the Town Common sponsored by the BID to thank people for helping out and to just celebrate spring! It’s time to get the family out for an afternoon full of fun. There will be Live Music (w/ performance by Shokazoba) along with Magic Shows at 2 PM & 4 PM; Horse Rides; Games & Prizes; Local Beer & Wine & more!
  • Public Safety:
    • Web-Bear-nar: Town staff, working with Councilor Lopes and the Animal Welfare Officer, has organized a Zoom session on bears in Amherst. There appears to be increased activity of bears in the Town in recent years. The State’s Black Bear and Furbearer expert from the Division of Fish and Wildlife will make a presentation and be available to answer questions. The event will be on May 4th at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom
    • Fire Chief Legislation: H. 4356, the legislation that the Town Council submitted to permit the Fire Chief to continue employment beyond his 65th birthday, has been signed into law by the Governor. This legislation would not have been passed without the intense efforts of Senator Comerford and Representative Domb and their staffs. Their effectiveness in getting this piece of legislation passed through all of the legislative hurdles is greatly appreciated.
    • Fire Staffing: Six new firefighters applicants were offered positions with the Town. If all pass background checks and accept the positions, this will be a significant new addition to the Department. Some of these position will fill recent vacancies created by retirements or resignations and some are being supported by ARPA funds.
    • Drug Take-back Day: On April 30th, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon at Wildwood School, the Amherst Police Department is sponsoring a free drug take back day. Medicines can remain in original containers with labels. NO liquids, syringes, IV equipment or chemotherapy drugs. Prescription and nonprescription drugs, vitamins and veterinary meds are accepted.
  • Town Clerk:
    • Reprecincting:
  • As you know, every ten years, the legislature and local governments must redraw boundaries that take into consideration population, communities of interest, and state and federal constitutional requirements, amongst other factors. Population is determined by the most recent Federal

Census. Amherst’s population per the 2020 Federal Census is 39,263 which represents an increase of 1,444 from the 2010 population (or 3.8%).

  • In Amherst, we will continue to have 10 precincts for all elections (no change). The precincts, however, have been renamed to correspond to each district in which they reside. The following chart shows the new precinct names and their voting locations.
  • We have received the Secretary of State’s update of the Voter Registraction Information System (VRIS). Town Clerk and I.T. staff reviewed the update for accuracy and returned the file to the State. The State has made the changes in the resident/voter database.
  • The Town Council has voted to confirm the voting locations at an upcoming meeting. With this vote, the Town Clerk has notified all voters that:
    • Pursuant to MGL Ch. 54 §6, the Town of Amherst has changed its voting precincts as a result of population changes from the 2020 Federal Census. For all voters, your precinct number has changed to reflect the renaming of precincts to correspond to their districts.
    • To view updated precincts, voting locations, and maps click here.
    • Town Census: The Amherst 2022 Annual Census Listing has been mailed to all households. The Town Clerk asks all to sign and return this form within ten (10) days, even if NO changes are necessary. Residents may return the census by mail, in person at the Town Clerk’s Office, by fax (413-259-2499) or email to census@amherstma.gov.
  • Human Resources:
    • Town staff were trained in active shooter (“Alice”) training. This training offered by trained police officers prepares Town staff in Town Hall for potential violent situations. Unfortunately, this is important training for our staff and we are planning to offer it at other municipal building locations. This training is available to the Town Council and other committees, if desired.
    • The department continues numerous ongoing collective bargaining negotiations including preparing for collective bargaining for FY23 and addressing impact bargaining rights of the employees as we discuss ARPA premium pay and introducing the new CRESS Community Responder program and Police Resident Oversight Board.
  • Conservation and Development:
    • Civil War Tablets: Town staff have prepared a Summary of Efforts and Next Steps to Find a Permanent Home for Amherst’s treasured Civil War Tablets”. This document is being reviewed and will establish the goals and requirements for establishing a permanent home for the historic Town artifacts.
    • Amethyst Brook: The parking area at Amethyst Conservation Area was closed April 14th to accommodate the delivery of telephone poles as part of the bridge reconstruction project. Conservation staff worked with the Public Works Department to position the telephone poles in preparation for reconstructing the foot bridge in the conservation area.
    • Planning:
  • Parklets Grant: The Town and Business Improvement District were awarded a Regional Economic Development Organization Grant (REDO Grant) for $80,750

to install 2-3ADA accessible parklets in downtown Amherst in order to create outdoor dining/retail spaces. Each 36-foot long parklet would take over two on- street parking spaces in front of a restaurant or retail shop. The adjacent sidewalk to each parklet location will be maintained as a pedestrian pathway. This grant is administered through the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts (EDC).

  • Sustainability:
  • Committees have designated their members and we will be interviewing at-large members shortly.
  • Town and School staff are investigating funding for a grant under the Authorized by the recently EPA’s Clean School Bus Program which provided $5 billion over the next five years to replace school buses with low- and zero-emission school buses. The first funding opportunity under this program will be the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates. EPA will offer $500 million for zero-emission and clean school bus rebates.
  • We are nearing completion of the Joint Powers Agreement which we need to finalize before the Community Choice Aggregation agreement application can be submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.
  • Baseball Field:
  • Numerous residents volunteered their time to do a day of work at the Amherst Regional Middle School baseball diamond last Saturday.
  • About 30 people representing Sandlot and Amherst Baseball pitched in hours of effort to make a dramatic improvement to the diamond. Many of the workers were the youth who will directly benefit from all this work.
  • The project was financed equally by Sandlot and Amherst Baseball.
  • Town Public Works staff dedicated their weekend to help, providing expertise and equipment.
    • Rail Trail: Town staff are exploring ways to work with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to resurface a portion of the Norwottuck Rail Trail.
    • South Landfill:
  • The Town’s capped landfill on the south side of Belchertown Road – across from the current Transfer Station and solar project – has been set aside as conservation land. This is called the South Landfill.
  • The main purpose of protecting the land is to mitigate the impact of the solar panels, specifically on how they may affect the habitat of the grasshopper sparrow, a state-listed threatened species. This was a condition of state and local approvals to have the solar project placed on the capped landfill on the north side of Belchertown Road.
  • This 53-acre South Landfill site will be monitored by a conservation restriction held by Kestrel Land Trust. A small section of the now protected land is carved out for the Town’s new dog park.
  • To move this project forward, the Town is getting ready to install a fence on the South Landfill that will safeguard the landfill cap and protect the habitat of the grasshopper sparrow. This work has been informed by extensive discussions with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Old capped landfills provide excellent habitat for many uncommon species in Massachusetts. Ours is no exception. Through the years a few pairs of grasshopper sparrows have nested here in Amherst. They are a state “listed” species meaning they (really their habitat) receive extra protection because populations are declining. Both the north and south landfills are good habitat. We have known about the sparrows for many years dating much further back than our plans for solar. The neighbors only brought them up in an attempt to block the project. We have been working closely with the MA Natural Heritage Program on this plan for close to 10 years now. Most capped landfills are fenced to protect the cap from damage and protect people from methane release, etc.
  • The state required the Conservation Restriction (CR) to mitigate for our impacts (loss of habitat) on the north landfill. The CR requires perpetual maintenance and monitoring for the sparrows. Sounds like a lot but not really. We need to mow the grass annually after the breeding season.
    • Sheltering:
  • 132 Northampton Road: Valley CDC has begun construction of 28 small studio apartments for low-income individuals, including more than a third that will be set aside for those who have recently been homeless, in March.
  • Craig’s Doors Shelter:
  • The congregate shelter at the Lutheran Church will close on May 1st.
    • The congregate shelter at the Unitarian Church will close on May 15th.
    • The 20 individual rooms (which can support double occupancy) at the University Motor Lodge will remain available through March 31, 2023.
    • The agency has secured ten rooms at the Knights Inn in Hadley beginning on May 15th, to coincide with the closing of the Unitarian Church congregate shelter.
    • The agency has secured an additional ten rooms, making it 20 in total, at the Knights Inn beginning June 1st.
    • Beginning on June 1st, the agency will have 20 rooms at the University Motor Lodge and 20 rooms at the Knights Inn for a total of 40 rooms that could potentially house up to 80 people, 24-hours-per-day, 7 days-per- week through March 31, 2023.
    • The agency will seek to reopen the congregate shelter at the Lutheran Church on November 1st.
  • Funding: Town staff, with the assistance of Craig’s Doors staff, are working on responding to a Request for Proposals from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development for funding for a year-round, 24-hour-per- day shelter.
  • Bathroom: The Town completed the contract to construct a new bathroom/shower facility at the Craig’s Doors Resource Center. This facility is now open and available to those in need five-days-per-week.
  • Community Services:
    • Senior Center:
  • The Age and Dementia Friendly Community Project Working Group met on April 25th to discuss the age and dementia friendly survey, upcoming listening sessions, and to develop plans for in-person community engagement events.
    • Veterans Services: The Veterans Services Department will be organizing a Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 30th. Assembly for the parade will take place at 8:45 a.m. on the Town Common and Spring Street Parking Lot. The parade will step off at 9:00 a.m. and will march from the Town Common to the War Memorial on Triangle Street. A ceremony will take place at the War Memorial near the swimming pool.
    • Recreation Department:
  • Vacation Camp: Prime Time afterschool is running Vacation Camp during school vacation week. Among the events planned are a Birds of Prey presentation, a science museum field trip, and a field trip to Mill River. At Mill River, they will be invited to participate in a street hockey clinic that has been organized in conjunction with the Boston Bruins.
  • Youth Sports: Sports schedules are being finalized. But youth leagues in volleyball, lacrosse, and baseball started practices the past couple weeks. Games begin as early as next week. Other clinic work (basketball, ultimate, track) will begin soon also. I will share schedules when they are finalized and let you know about Sandlot activity also.
  • Fireworks: The Recreation Department will return with fireworks to celebrate Independence Day. The fireworks are scheduled for the evening of Friday, July 1st to kick off the holiday weekend.
  • Other Activities: Here are some of the other activities the Recreation Department is planning:
    • May 11th: Get out and Plan Summer Sports Bag Give-away at Kendrick Park.
    • May 21st: Wayfinders SummerFest Barbecue.
    • June 11th: Summer Health Fitness Day at Kendrick Park, Groff Park, and Mill River Recreation Area.
    • June 25th: Library Flying High Dogs at Groff Park.
    • July 1st: Independence Day Kick-off Fireworks and events.
  • Arts: A new group, the Performing Arts and Education Collaborative, has reached out to the Town to seek space that would support the artistic endeavors of the member organizations. We have reviewed Town space with the group. Unfortunately, there are no Town facilities that are readily available to accommodate their stated needs. The member organizations include the following arts organizations: Amherst Ballet, Amherst Community Theater, Center Dance, Hampshire Shakespeare, Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, Rainbow Players, Starlight Youth Theater, and Valley Light Opera.

Delegated Authority:

  • Short-Term Event Uses of Town Commons (Section 1a of the Town Council Policy):
    • August 22-29, 2022: Community Fair by Amherst Rotary Club (South Common)
    • May 19-21, 2022.: Plant Sale by Garden Club of Amherst (South Common)
    • October 13-14, 2023: Cider Run by Amherst A Better Chance
  • Short-Term Parking Requests (Section 2a of the Town Council Policy):
  • Short-Term Road or Sidewalk Closures (Section 3b of the Town Council Policy):
    • May 7, 2022: Cushman Scott Children’s Center to close Henry Street from Market Hill Road to Pine Street for annual May celebration, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon.
  • Placement of Road and Temporary Signs (Section 3d of the Town Council Policy):

Major Capital Projects:

  • Jones Library:
    • As mentioned above, the Outreach Subcommittee is holding a Community Outreach Event for the Renovated and Expanded Building project. On May 1st from 12-2 the Outreach Subcommittee will provide the opportunity to engage with each other and library staff to be reintroduced to the programming elements for the renovated and expanded library, ask questions, provide thoughts, ideas, and hopes the Jones Library Building Committee is meeting every two weeks.
    • There will be 15 tables located throughout the building; folks are encouraged to stop by as many (or as few) as they want in order to ask questions and share ideas about all the Library project’s different program elements. There will be sticky notes and markers available, so community members can leave their comments. First Floor Tables:

Reference & Technology; Teens; Children & Families; Social Services; Sustainability; Q&A; Dream Board. Ground Floor Tables: ESL; Seniors; Universal Design; Landscaping. Second Floor Tables: Special Collections; Burnett Art Gallery; Historic Preservation; Quiet Reading Spaces. For the first hour, there will be children’s programming (music/stories/crafts) outside (under the tent), so families can bring their little one

  • The design firm met with the Design Subcommittee to begin developing more detailed plans for the renovated and expanded building.
  • DPW Building/Fire Building: Staff are exploring multiple options for a new site for the Department of Public Works.
  • Elementary School Building Committee:
    • Current schedule is as follows:
  • May 6: regular committee meeting from 8:30 to 10:30
  • May 13. special one hour committee meeting 8:30 to 9:30.
  • May 17: regular committee meeting from 8:30 to 10:30
  • June 3: regular committee meeting from 8:30 to 10:30
  • June 17: regular committee meeting from 8:30 to 10:30 (subject to change)
  • June 24: regular meeting to finalize the report and vote to submit

Projects Update:

  • Dog Park: Construction has resumed on the dog park with fencing installed and topsoil laid. Once seeded, it will take several months Paving is complete. Seeding is next and will take most of the summer to take root.
  • North Common Restoration/Main Street Parking Lot: Town staff has high hopes that this project will receive significant new support in the coming weeks. With this decision, the project will be able to move forward with real clarity.
  • North Amherst Library: The anonymous donor has committed to funding this project. I will be signing key documents in the coming weeks and a kick-off meeting with the contractor will take place next week.
  • Hickory Ridge: Town staff are preparing an assessment of the existing structures to determine which are usable and which are not.
  • Pomeroy Village MassWorks Grant: Additional design work by the Public Works Town Engineer has addressed most of the concerns of the abutting property owners.
  • Solar on the Landfill: Substantial work has been completed on the installation of the solar panels.
  • Amherst Media: I have asked Town staff to conduct an assessment of the South Amherst School to determine what it would take to make the building available for occupancy.

Upcoming Meetings and Events:

  • May 16th – Town Council meeting
  • May 30th – Memorial Day holiday and parade
  • June 6th – Town Council meeting
  • June 13th – Town Council meeting
  • June 19th – Juneteenth celebration
  • June 20th – Juneteenth holiday
  • June 27th – Town Council meeting
  • July 4th – Independence Day
Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.