Town Manager Report For June 6, 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 (DPH), the Town’s wastewater effluent is now being tested for the COVID-19 virus.
    • Data from wastewater testing support public health mitigation strategies by providing additional crucial information about the prevalence of COVID-19 in a community.\
    • It is a feather in our cap that the State Department of Public Health has identified the Town’s surveillance website as a model for the state and “a phenomenal job!” Congratulations to the Communications Manager and Health Director and Health staff for creating an informative and easy to navigate site. Here is a link to the site: www.amherstcovid19.org/surveillance

Outreach and Advocacy

  • Cuppa Joe with Paul: We had a good turnout for the last Cuppa Joe which was held on May 13th with special guest Finance Director Sean Mangano via Zoom.
  • Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month: The Assistant DEI Director organized a screening of local oral history from Amherst community members followed by a panel discussion on May 25th.
  • LGBTQ+ Pride Month: The Town’s Community Participation Officers supported the Town Council in recognizing LGBTQ+ Pride Month and the flag raising on June 3rd.
  • Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced that he will retire at the end of June 2023. Subbaswamy arrived in Amherst in July 2012, and during his tenure the campus has excelled in a wide range of key areas, including attracting growing numbers of diverse, high-achieving students, steadily improving graduation rates, and conducting cutting-edge research with real-world impact.
  • Amherst College:
    • The College hosted two commencements. The first celebrated the Class of 2022 and was held on May 29th. The second will celebrate the Class of 2020 and is scheduled for Saturday, June 11th at 3:00 p.m.
  • The College announced that Michael A. Elliott, a professor of English and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University, has been named its 20th president. Elliott will begin his tenure at Amherst on Aug. 1. He succeeds Biddy Martin, who has served as Amherst’s president since 2011 and who announced last year that she would conclude her term in 2022.
  • Hampshire College: The College held an “epic, once-in-a-century, three-class commencement celebration” for the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 graduates on May 21st.
  • Juneteenth Weekend:

Heritage Walking Tour: On Saturday, June 18th, a first-time collaboration between Ancestral Bridges and the Amherst Historical Society & Museum to celebrate Juneteenth. The walking tour explores the unique history and contributions of generations of Black families in Amherst curated and guided by descendants. The tour starts at the historic West Cemetery, proceed to the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Amherst History Museum features special immersive events and exhibits by Ancestral Bridges with images, artifacts, photographs, and millinery that animate the essence of the unique Black neighborhoods and first Black families in Amherst, including the Historic Westside District. There will also be an immersive encampment by the Peter Brace Brigade on the lawn and a special gallery exhibit of the Museum’s special Civil War artifacts and clothing of the period. The tour ends in the afternoon with two important historic churches. First, Hope Church, the first Black Congregational Church in Amherst. The  second church and final stop is the Goodwin Memorial A.M.E Zion Church, the first Black church in Amherst founded by former members of Zion Chapel at Amherst College.  Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration: On Sunday, June 19th, there will be a full afternoon of events on the Town Common beginning at 12:00 noon and continuing until 6:00 p.m. There will be performance, food and beverages, and numerous activities.  Juneteenth Holiday: On Monday, June 20th, municipal offices will be closed to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday.

Colleges and University
University of Massachusetts at Amherst:

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. Photo: umass.edu

The University held numerous activities on May 13th including Graduate Commencement on May 13th and Undergraduate Commencement, both at McGuirk Stadium. Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced that he will retire at the end of June 2023. Subbaswamy arrived in Amherst in July 2012, and during his tenure the campus has excelled in a wide range of key areas, including attracting growing numbers of diverse, high-achieving students, steadily improving graduation rates, and conducting cutting-edge research with real-world impact.

Amherst College: The College hosted two commencements. The first celebrated the Class of 2022 and was held on May 29th. The second will celebrate the Class of 2020 and is scheduled for Saturday, June 11th at 3:00 p.m.  Town Manager Report – June 6, 2022 – Page 3 of 1The College announced that Michael A. Elliott, a professor of English and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University, has been named its 20th president. Elliott will begin his tenure at Amherst on Aug. 1. He succeeds Biddy Martin, who has served as Amherst’s president since 2011 and who announced last year that she would conclude her term in 2022.

Michael Elliot has been named the 20th president of Amherst College. Photo: amherst.edu

Hampshire College: The College held an “epic, once-in-a-century, three-class commencement celebration” for the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 graduates on May 21st.

Racial Equity

  • Reparations: The Town Attorney is finalizing draft legislation which I will share with the African Heritage Reparation Assembly (AHRA) for review prior to submitting it to the Town Council for its review. Ultimately, this will require action by the State Legislature.
  • Community Responders Program:
    • The operations assistant has been hired and begins work shortly. She will be key to implementing the CRESS program and brings experience to the Town as the person who designed and implemented our well-regarded Ambassadors program during the COVID- 19 pandemic.
    • I have appointed eight new Community Responders after an extensive interview and vetting process. The Community Responders will begin work on July 5th and immediately engage in about eight weeks of training, skills building, and creating their team.
    • 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 held a Community Reception on May 22nd so that Town residents can meet and welcome the leadership of the new CRESS and DEI departments. There was a tremendous turnout and I was especially pleased that the new DEI Director adjusted her travel plans so she could be present for that event. The League 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 new DEI Director begins work in early July.
    • The new DEI Director has requested that we (DEI Director, Assistant DEI Director, CRESS Director, and Town Manager) meet weekly to plan and prepare for her arrival.
  • Community Safety and Social Justice Committee: The Committee had its first meeting on May 31st. The Committee elected Allegra Clark and Demetria Shabazz as co-chairs. The next meeting will be in July.

Department Updates

  • Finance:
    • FY23 Budget:
      • The Finance Director and I joined the Communications Director for a Cuppa Joe With Paul May 20th. We answered questions on Amherst’s FY23 Proposed Budget.
  • The Finance Committee has voted a recommendation which will be reported to the Town Council on June 6th. The Council is scheduled to vote on the FY23 Proposed Budget on June 13th.
    • The Town Council will hold a public forum on the Capital Improvement Program on June 6th. The Council is scheduled to vote on the FY23 Capital Improvement Program on June 13th.
    • I.T.:
      • The I.T. Department received a significant Community Compact Cabinet Municipal Fiber Grant award of $295,925 to extend our municipal I.T. fiber into Pelham to service the Centennial Treatment Plant, and our emergency communications tower on Mount Lincoln in Pelham. The extension will also connect the Pelham Elementary School to the Town’s I.T. infrastructure.
      • This is the second I.T. grant we received in the past six months. You may recall we received $75k at the end of last year for downtown Wi-Fi improvements and expansion.
      • Specifically, this $295k grant will allow us to run our Town fiber up Pelham and Amherst Roads to Mount Lincoln – our emergency radio transmitter – and connect the Centennial Treatment Plant, pump stations, and the Pelham School to the Town’s fiber along the way. This will save the Town about $12,000/year in Verizon fees and the Schools about $18,000 per year in Verizon fees.
      • This was a joint application with the Town of Pelham and we will have the ability to connect that community’s municipal buildings to our fiber which would benefit them, as well, if they so choose. The

joint application with Pelham made our application more competitive.

  • Community Compact grants are available to communities that have met certain standards, which we have done.
    • The I.T. Director attended the award ceremony with the Lt. Governor in Taunton on Thursday. Community Compact Cabinet grant funds assist cities and towns with the construction or completion of a municipal fiber network and support the closure of existing critical gaps in municipal networks.
  • Public Works:
    • Centennial Water Treatment Facility:
      • The Town has been awarded $14 million dollars in loans to fund the construction of the new Centennial Water Treatment facility as part of the State Revolving Fund program.
      • As part of the award, the State has offered to reduce the borrowing rate to a 2 percent to 1.5 percent range for communities that are designated as a Housing Choice community, which applies to Amherst.
  • There is also a possibility for loan forgiveness of nearly 20% as a part of this opportunity.
    • The Centennial Water Treatment Plant is a surface water treatment plant located in Pelham that provides up to 1 million gallons per day of treated water to the Amherst water system. The existing facility is in need of replacement, due to the age of the facility, as well as changes in the water quality that make the existing treatment process less effective. This project includes construction of a new Centennial Water Treatment Facility with effective and efficient treatment technology.
    • The State Revolving Fund (SRF) financing is administered by the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust and funds projects implemented by cities and towns, regional water supply and wastewater treatment districts, and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). Massachusetts awards subsidized infrastructure financing under the SRF, which is administered by the Trust – a joint effort of MassDEP, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance and the State Treasurer’s Office.
    • Roads:
      • 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.
      • Paving: Bids were received to pave $3 million worth of roads throughout the Town.
      • 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. The contractor switched to working four 10-hour days to ensure there was no construction on Route 9 during the University’s graduation. The contractor will continue this schedule to avoid other events in the coming weeks. If this schedule helps facilitate construction it could continue throughout the summer.
      • Crack Sealing: Over the past few weeks, the Town’s asphalt crack sealing contractor worked on various main roads as well as side streets. The streets to be done this year include South Pleasant Street, West Street, Bay Road, South East Street, Main Street, Strong Street, Stony Hill Road, and Dennis Drive.
  • Mill Lane: Roadway reconstruction on Mill Lane, between Groff Park and West Street has begun. Portions of the sidewalk will remain inaccessible periodically during construction.
    • 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.
    • Projects:
      • West Street Bridge: The rails on the east side of the West Street Bridge at Mill Lane are scheduled to be replaced. Town funds will be utilized. The project is set to be bid with an expected cost of about $100,000.
      • West Street Sidewalk: The collapsed sidewalk will be replaced with a small bridge. The bridge has been purchased and the project will be going through permitting with the Conservation Commission during the Summer.
    • Trees:
      • The DPW received notification that we were awarded a grant of $20,000 for an “Amherst Tree Inventory and Management Plan Update”.
      • The DPW received notification that we were awarded $11,000 for “Preserving Amherst History Museum Tree” under the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Development’s Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant. This is one of two “bride and groom” sycamores that flank the Strong House
  • Economic Development:
    Parklets:

Working with Town staff, the Business Improvement District (BID) was awarded an $80,750 grant from the Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) Grant program. The grant covered the materials, labor, and insurance for two ADA accessible “parklets” to accommodate outdoor dining spaces on Amity Street and South Pleasant Street. The Amherst BID is managing this project with support from the Amherst Planning Department staff.  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. We hope these will be received well and  that we can extend this program in the future if the community sees value in this program.

  • 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 establishments use.
  • The grant is funded through the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and is being administered through Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.
  • There will be a formal ribbon cutting on June 6th and you are all invited.
  • Outdoor Dining and Liquor To Go:
  • On April 1st, the Governor signed into law an act that allows the Town to approve requests for the expansion of outdoor table service until April 1, 2023.
  • It also allows the Town to extend the change in licensed premises for liquor license holders. All changes will revert to their pre-pandemic state on April 1, 2023.
  • Lastly, the law provides for the ability of restaurants to sell beer, wine, and cocktails “to go” until April 1, 2023.
  • Public Safety:
    • Fire Staffing:
  • Four newly hired firefighters (below) began their work at the Fire Department on May 23rd.
  • Two firefighters, who had been attending the Fire Academy, will be back on shift beginning May 20th.
  • I have appointed a new Fire Captain who was sworn to duty on June 3rd.
  • Town Clerk:
    • The FY23 state budget bill passed by the Senate includes language to extend temporary authorizations for remote local government meetings — currently due to expire on July 15

— through Dec. 15, 2023.The budget bill passed by the House in April does not include a remote meeting extension.

  • Conflict of Interest Trainings: The State Ethics Commission is holding seminars July 28th, September 22nd, and December 1st, all at 10:00 a.m. Council member may register for these sessions at www.mass.gov/orgs/state-ethics-commission
  • Human Resources: The Human Resources Department has been extremely busy. They have been negotiating multiple collective bargaining agreements, conducting exit interviews for people who are leaving and onboarding new employees, recruiting candidates to our many openings, and addressing numerous staff issues. And, we lost our valued Human Resources Manager who was appointed as the new Human Resources Director for the Town of Belchertown.
  • Conservation and Development:
    • Fort River:
  • The Fort River Watershed Association has been awarded $8,100 to design and install interpretive signage on the riparian ecology, endangered species, and human history of the Fort River, on the Emily Dickinson Trail in Amherst, along the Fort River.
  • Fort River Farm Community Gardens Day was held on May 30th. These “Community Days” are hosted by the Fort River Garden Circle, a group of volunteers, Healthy Hampshire and Conservation Department staff that have been hard at work getting the garden ready. The Fort River Community Garden is located at the Fort River Farm Conservation Area, which is owned by the Town and managed by the Conservation Department. This is the inaugural year of the garden, so there are many things that we are still working on getting up and running! The garden start-up is being organized by a group of community volunteers and staff from Healthy Hampshire and the Town of Amherst that formed the Fort River Community Garden Circle, which functions like a collective. The Garden Circle is responsible for assigning plots.
    • Amethyst Brook: Conservation staff are working to reconstruct the foot bridge in the conservation area.
    • Valley Green Energy:
  • The Town is the lead community on a Memorandum of Understanding for the intermunicipal community choice electrical load aggregation program, to be referred to as “Valley Green Energy.” The purpose of Valley Green Energy is to provide a means by which the Parties can more effectively address climate change, including by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieving carbon neutrality by, among other things, implementing, facilitating, and promoting sustainable energy initiatives that substantially reduce energy demand; increasing energy efficiency and conservation; and accelerating the development and use of clean, efficient, local and renewable resources in the region; all for the purpose of equitably benefiting the Parties and their constituents, by establishment and operation of an aggregation program within their collective boundaries (the “Program”) approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU).
  • Amherst is the Lead Community and will enter into a contract with a consultant (“Consultant”) to manage and operate Valley Green Energy in accordance with the scope of services agreed to with the Consultant and attached hereto, subject to such conditions as are imposed by the DPU.
    • CDBG Public Hearing: The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has designated the Town of Amherst a Mini-Entitlement Community that is eligible to apply for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. CDBG funds support housing, community development projects, and social service activities benefiting low-and moderate-income citizens.
  • The CDBG Advisory Committee held a Public Hearing on May 19th to receive comments and suggestions from local residents and service providers regarding Community priorities for the 2022 and 2023 CDBG application process.
  • The CDBG Advisory Committee received suggestions and comments on the following areas: Social services; Non-social services such as housing and public infrastructure; and Target area neighborhoods where non-social services can take place.
    • Disability Access: The Town is working on its FY22 Municipal ADA Improvement Grant.
    • Sustainability:
  • Solar Bylaw Working Group: Committees have designated their members. I anticipate making the at-large appointments very soon.
  • 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.
    • 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 continues 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 Shelter Director and its Board of Directors have parted ways.
  • Community Services:
    • Senior Center: The Age & Dementia Friendly Amherst Working Group is hosting listening sessions in the Spring/Summer of 2022 to gather input from older adults and others who are aging in Amherst. Topics include: Aging in place; Home modifications and repairs; Affordability and Accessibility; New housing developments
    • Veterans Services: The Veterans Services Department organized a wonderful Memorial Day parade and program on May 30th.
    • Recreation Department:
  • 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. \
    • The evening will include Independence Day Celebration starting at 5:00 p.m. behind McGuirk Stadium on Stadium Drive. There will be fun for the whole family at this annual celebration. AND FREE parking. There will be live performances, hot air balloon rides, beer garden, games, prizes, food, raffles & more.
  • Fireworks will begin at 9:00 p.m.
  • Salsa at Kendrick Park: The Recreation Department is organizing a “Salsa in the Park’ event, free and open to the community. A local DJ will play tropical music at Kendrick Park and there will be dancing with dance lessons. The first event will be on July 9th at 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. If successful, future dates will be August 13th, September 10th, and October 8th.
  • Other Activities: Here are some of the other activities the Recreation Department is planning:
    • 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.

Delegated Authority:

  • Short-Term Event Uses of Town Commons (Section 1a of the Town Council Policy):
    • Friends of the Jones Library: June 4, 11, 18
    • Jewish Family Services of Western Massachusetts: July 23
    • Business Improvement District: July 22, 29 and August 5, 12
    • Common Share Food Coop: June 12
    • Community Fair by Amherst Rotary Club (South Common): August 22-29
    • Sustainability Festival by Town Staff (South Common): April 22, 2023
    • Cider Run by Amherst A Better Chance: October 13-14, 2023
  • Short-Term Parking Requests (Section 2a of the Town Council Policy):
    • June 18, 2022: Ancestral Bridges Walking Tour reserve parking on parts of North Pleasant Street and other areas to be determined.
    • August 24, 2022: First Day Celebration at Kendrick Park (3:30 – 6:30 p.m.) reserve parking on the east side North Pleasant Street from McClellan Street to Triangle Street
  • Short-Term Road or Sidewalk Closures (Section 3b of the Town Council Policy):
    • May 30, 2022: North Pleasant Street and East Pleasant Street from Main Street to Triangle Street and Triangle Street from East Pleasant Street to the High School driveway for the Memorial Day parade.
  • Placement of Road and Temporary Signs (Section 3d of the Town Council Policy):

Major Capital Projects:

  • Jones Library:
    • The Jones Library received a Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) in the amount of $200,000. This grant, one of 115 awarded statewide, will help provide the Jones with the physical capacity to significantly expand exhibits, programs, and other resources not just for residents, but for tourists as well, placing the Library at the heart of, and as a key component of, the “Destination Amherst” plan of the Town.
  • The $36.6 million expansion and renovation will make the Jones Library one of the most climate-friendly buildings in Amherst, restoring most of the original 1928 building, while improving the layout to be fully accessible for people with disabilities and more functional for everyone.
    • Renovations, which include repairs and updates to the elevator, wiring, carpets and the heating and cooling system, will eliminate the use of fossil fuels and create a net zero ready building. The expansion will create a space for teens, a bigger children’s room, a climate-controlled area for special collections, and improved space for the English as a Second Language program.
    • The Jones Library Building Project is currently in the building design phase with the town-appointed building committee actively seeking public input for the architectural plans. The renovation and expansion groundbreaking is anticipated in October 2023.
    • The Outreach Subcommittee has been holding Community Outreach Events for the Jones Library project. The Subcommittee is producing a weekly Newsletter to keep people up to date on the project. The newsletter can be found on the library website but also on the JLBC page on the Town website. Below is a link to the one that went out last week. The next one should be ready to go on Friday afternoon https://www.amherstma.gov/Archive.aspx?AMID=262
    • These meetings are an opportunity to update the public and collect feedback, questions and comments that will then be passed along to JLBC through the Outreach process that is currently in place.
    • Other outreach efforts include Olympia Oaks and Butternut Farms on May 21st, Village Park on June 11th, Amherst Survival Center every Thursday, Amherst Farmers Market every Saturday.
    • On May 27th, the designer presented the first of a series of updated schematic designs to the Design Committee. The latest draft was revised to incorporate comments received from library staff, the public, and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). The Jones Library Building Committee (JLBC) will continue to work with the designer from May through July 1st to incorporate feedback and finalize the schematic designs.
    • The JLBC will tour several libraries (Holyoke Public Library, June 8 and Medford Public Library and Woburn Public Library, June 10) to gather information and insight from their library staff. These libraries were chosen because their projects were similar in size to that of the Jones Library, and they either have historic buildings and/or created a net zero 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:
      • 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:

  • North Common Restoration/Main Street Parking Lot: The Town will be making a major announcement about this project the week of June 6th.
  • North Amherst Library:
    • Funds for the construction are secured with donations by a generous anonymous donor.
    • A construction kick-off meeting was held last week.
    • We are looking at a ground-breaking ceremony in June.
    • They are projecting up to a 12 month construction schedule.
  • 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
  • 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.

Upcoming Meetings and Events:

  • June 13th – Town Council meeting
  • June 19th – Juneteenth celebration
  • June 20th – Juneteenth holiday
  • June 27th – Town Council meeting
  • July 4th – Independence Day
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