Source: Business Improvement District
The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) has received a grant of $80,750 from the Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) to construct parklets in downtown Amherst. The grant will cover the materials, labor, and insurance for two or three ADA accessible “parklets” to accommodate outdoor dining spaces on Amity Street and South Pleasant Street. Florence-based construction company, Keiter Corporation, is constructing these built dining areas. Evan Jones from Cowls worked with the BID to procure the materials at a reduced cost to the BID. The BID is managing this project with support from the Amherst Planning Department staff. The grant is funded through the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and is being administered through Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.
The intention of the “parklets” is to create a pilot program of ADA accessible outdoor dining areas extending out from the sidewalk, at the same level of the sidewalk, and as wide as two parallel parking spaces. The sidewalk next to each “parklet” location will be maintained as a pedestrian pathway. Each “parklet” will be located in front of a designated food & drink establishment for that establishment’s use.
Amherst Planner Maureen Pollock stated, “the main goal of this project is to help activate the downtown streetscape by providing extended sidewalks to serve as outdoor dining spaces, to attract residents and visitors and support local businesses. As the Town explores urban design standards and streetscape designs for the downtown, this pilot project is an excellent opportunity for all stakeholders to learn from and enjoy.”
The parklets are expected to be fully constructed by the end of the week of May 16.