Town Manager Report For May 1, 2023

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Photo:amherstma.gov

Source: amherstma.gov

Editor’s note: Town Manager Paul Bockelman submits a comprehensive report to the Town Council at the first Town Council meeting of each month. The reports, usually 9 to 15 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 here on the Town’s website

TOWN MANAGER
Outreach:

o Cuppa Joe with Paul: The next Cuppa Joe will be on Friday, May 12th at 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.in the Bangs Community Center. We will focus the discussion on the FY24 budget, but any topics may be brought up for discussion.

o Board/Committee Vacancies: We are recruiting for vacancies that come due on July 1st AND for existing vacancies. A list of all vacancies on Town boards and committees can be found here: Board – Committee Vacancy List. Residents may apply to serve on a vacancy by filling out a Community Activity Form here: Community Activity Form

·     COVID-19:.

o On May 11, 2023, the Town will discontinue formal emergency COVID-19 requirements in Town buildings and property instituted in 2020 to protect community members from the COVID-19 virus. This date is in alignment with federal and Massachusetts’s guidance declaring the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. These mitigation requirements were instituted during the pandemic phase when the goal was to interrupt transmission on a population level, and to prevent a potential collapse of healthcare systems. We are now past this point and the risk of infection and illness is low, however any changes or rollbacks do not signify the end of the COVID-19 virus circulating and causing disease.

o As of May 11, 2023, COVID:

▪ Room occupancy will return to previous capacity in Town buildings;

▪ The COVID Standard Operating Procedures will be revised. Town employees no longer need to report COVID illnesses to the Public Health Department for case management;

▪ The Town will continue to follow infectious disease guidance. There is no change in the 5-day isolation period and subsequent mask wearing requirements. DPH Isolation Guidance.

o The CDC is reporting the lowest death rates since March 18, 2020. Case rates are down but infections are also harder to track.

o COVID-19 wastewater surveillance levels show us trends in cases and whether there is an increase or decrease in the community. Amherst surveillance continues to show a decline after a small increase in late winter.

o While most epidemiologists consider us entering a period of stability because of immunity through vaccination or infection, others are more cautious and say we may be in a lull and that COVID will continue to show its colors. For example, the new variant XBB.1.16 (Arcturus) and XBC.1.6 are being followed to identify if transmission is increased.

o We will continue to implement and encourage good public health efforts such as:

▪ Improving ventilation by keeping doors open, especially in larger groups or those at high risk.

▪ Establishing an environment where masks are welcome to be worn;

▪ Continuing to provide Rapid Antigen Tests and encouraging people to test before or after an event or meeting with a high-risk individual.

o In conclusion, the Director of Public Health and I know that it is important we understand the need for people to connect with each other and build relationships while balancing health and safety. A heartfelt thank you to everyone in our community – especially our institutional partners – for your efforts throughout the pandemic. We see and appreciate what you have done to keep yourself and each other healthy.

·     Town Hall: A complete reconstruction of the front steps of Town Hall is set to begin in May. This will require that the front entrance to the building will be closed. The public may continue to enter and exit the building by utilizing the ADA accessible Main Street entrance.

·     Higher Education:

o Graduations are as follows:

▪ Hampshire College – Saturday, May 20th

▪ University of Massachusetts – Friday, May 26th ▪ Amherst College – Sunday, May 28th

o Classes begin in the Fall as follows:

▪ Hampshire College – Wednesday, September 6th

▪ University of Massachusetts – Tuesday, September 5th ▪ Amherst College – Tuesday, September 5th

DEPARTMENT UPDATES

·     Administration and Finance o Finance:

▪ State Budget:

·     The Governor’s budget included a 2% increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) and a ½% increase in Chapter 70. It also includes a 10% increase in PILOT payments to Amherst related to the Town’s share of State-owned land. You can find a more detailed analysis of the Governor’s Budget Proposal at https://www.mma.org/gov-healey-releases-fy2024-budget-proposal/

·     The House Budget reduced the UGGA amount to 1.6%, which would cost the Town about $39,000. As a minimum aid community, the Town would only see increase in per student State Aid from $30 to $60 would increase aid by about $30,000 for the Town. (The Region would get an additional $30,000.)

▪ Taxes Due: Real estate taxes are due on Monday, May 1st. People can make payments by mail, in person, or on line here

www.amherstma.gov/payments Taxpayers can also contact the Treasurer/Collector’s office at 413-259-3020 with any questions.

▪ Fellowship: The Town will be participating in the Local Finance Commonwealth Fellowship Program by hosting a Community Fellow during July and August. Sponsored by the State Department of Revenue, the Town was selected because of our strong financial leadership and systems. He paid internship will also receive training from the Department of Revenue. The Town will provide a hands-on experience demonstrating the practical application of core municipal finance concepts. Thanks to our Finance Director for taking on this mentorship/teaching role.

o Town Clerk:

▪ Election:

·     Tuesday, May 2nd is election day. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Voters can find their voting locations at this stie: https://www.amherstma.gov/189/Districts-Precincts-and-Hours

·     As of Friday, the Town Clerk reports the following statistics: o Number of ballots mailed:                                                    1,750

o Number of ballots returned:        1,105 o Number of in-person early voters:         464 o Number of absentee voters:                     26 o Total ballots cast:                                           1,585

▪ Voting Machines: The new voting machines and tabulators are being used for this election. Election wardens and staff have been trained on the new machines. Election workers have also received training. Since it is the first time, we are using the machines, a representative from the manufacturer will be present on election day in case any issues arise.

▪ Unfunded Mandate: The Town will be receiving $18,850.91 from the State for early voting costs that were certified by the State Auditor’s office as an unfunded mandate.

▪ Dog Licenses: 2023 dog license applications are due now. A late fee will be assessed for dogs not licensed after June 1st.

▪ Scholarship: The Assistant Town Clerk obtained scholarships from the Massachusetts Town Clerk’s Association to attend the New England Association of City and Town Clerks Association (NEACTC) to attend the annual NEACTC professional development school this summer.

o Human Resources:

▪ Non-Union Employees:

·     The annual non-union employee meeting was held in April. This was an opportunity to hear updates from the Town Manager and Human Resources Department and to bring questions or concerns to representatives of the Personnel Board.

·     The non-union classification and compensation study has begun with an analysis of all position descriptions by the consultant. We anticipate the study will be completed by the end of the summer.

▪ Police Chief Search: The Human Resources Director and have been working on the search for a new Police Chief to replace retiring chief Livingstone.

▪ Staff: Recent staff turnover in the Human Resources office will present a challenge to the Department completing its tasks. Other departments and additional support have been secured to ensure no major issues are delayed.

o DEI Department: A detailed update on the status of the DEI Department and its initiatives was submitted to the Town Council and will be presented and reviewed at the Special Town Council meeting on May 10th.

▪ Award: The Town’s Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Jennifer Moyston, was recently recognized for her achievements at an event held at the Massachusetts State House organized by the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus. Ms. Moyston was named as the 2023 nominee from the 3rd Hampshire District as a Black Excellence on the Hill Honoree. She was nominated by Representative Domb for

her extraordinary contributions to the Amherst community. From food security to youth football, as a Town employee and community volunteer, she has fostered civic engagement and belonging. We all extend our congratulations to Jennifer!

▪ Community Visioning: The Director continues to meet with Dr. Love to develop the parameters of an engagement contract for community visioning.

▪ Police Resident Oversight Board: The Director has developed a draft timeline that would have a Resident Oversight Board begin in FY24. We have set aside funding and have determined that conducting a Request for Proposals process is in the best interest of this procurement. The consultant will support the creation of this new body.

▪ Training:

·     The training entitled “Being an Ally, not a Savior” by Jana McClure, a Truth School trainer and a resident of Amherst had to be rescheduled. The event will now be held on Saturday, May 20, 2023 from 9:30 am to 11:00 a.m. at the Bangs Community Center

·     The DEI staff is developing another staff DEI training during May, as well. ▪ Juneteenth: Preparation continues for the Juneteenth celebration.

▪ Reparations:

·     Survey:

o The African Heritage Reparation Assembly (AHRA) and the UMass Amherst Donahue Institute are conducting a survey to explore Amherst residents’ attitudes about race and reparations. Residents may complete a brief, voluntary survey to let them know your thoughts. Responses will be kept confidential. The

survey should take less than 10 minutes.

o The survey was designed with the intention of identifying resident attitudes about implementing reparations. The survey is seeking responses from all residents of Amherst, regardless of their identity, to understand how they would like to see reparations in Amherst carried out. This survey is the first to explore Amherst residents’ attitudes about race and reparations.

o Participation in this survey is voluntary. Individual responses will be kept confidential. You are free to skip any question(s) you do not want to answer.

·     Public Safety

o Fire Department:

▪ Training: Firefighters work continuously to train new professional, call, and student firefighters; learn new equipment and procedures; and refresh operating procedures on existing equipment. Most recently, crews were reviewing drafting as a means to secure a water source. While we are fortunate that most of the Town has fire hydrants, there are some areas that do not and crews need to be able to access other water sources to meet those needs in the event of a fire.

o Police Department:

▪ New Officers: Three new officers are working their 14 weeks of field training. Four new officers graduated from the Police Academy on April 14th. They have now begun their 14 weeks of field training.

▪ Retiring Chief: Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone announced his retirement after 46 years of service to the Town of Amherst. His last day of employment will be May 27th.

o Community Responders Department:

▪ Community Responders are in great demand to share their experiences in building this new model for alternative dispatching services. Most recently, the Director spoke to the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center and the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) on enhancing crisis system alternatives through public health and community-centered approaches on April 26th.

▪ A detailed update on the status of the CRESS Department and its initiatives was submitted to the Town Council and is attached at the end of this Town Manager Report.

▪ The Department continues to develop its protocols, policies, and to respond to certain requests. We are still in training mode and learning from interactions that the responders encounter. The protocols for 911 calls are being reviewed by the Town Attorney.

·    Community Services
o Public Health:

▪ COVID-19 Bivalent Spring Booster:

·     The Public Health Department will continue holding COVID vaccination clinics on the first Wednesday of the month, 3:00 – 5:00. The next is May 3rd, in the Bangs Community Center Room 101.

·     The Town will continue to partner with our community partners to provide immunizations to harder to reach populations. Remember that other providers are offering the bivalent booster, such as the University, the Northampton Health Department, and our partnering pharmacies. There is no shortage of bivalent vaccine. Follow the link here to sign up.

·     Vaccines are one of the greatest public health and scientific achievements in the past century. By protecting people from disease, and in some cases eliminating disease, we have saved lives and reduced suffering and disability. Keeping up to date with CDC vaccine guidance is getting easier as the process is becoming more simplified, singular (one dose) and flexible.

·     Everyone, aged 6 + are considered up to date with COVID vaccine if they have had one, single dose of bivalent vaccine. Monovalent vaccine, what we administered in 2021 and known as the primary series, is no longer authorized, it does not cover the current circulating variants.

·     People 65 years + and moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals may choose to receive another second updated COVID vaccine dose.

·     Additional doses for people who are immunocompromised may be allowed as needed. The new guidance allows more flexibility for healthcare providers.

·     Should you get the spring booster? If you have not yet received the bivalent booster, the answer is “yes”. If you have, there is a spectrum of risk. The highest urgency is not having a bivalent booster, if you had only the monovalent vaccine you are not protected against current variants. If you are over 75, if you are over 65 with a comorbidity, or if you are moderately or severely immunocompromised you should receive the booster.

·    Timing of your vaccine may be varied and depends on your unique situation. Age, social situations, work, who you are exposed to, do you have a big function, may impact your timing on when you receive the spring booster. A person who has been infected with COVID should wait until recovered and you will have protection and can consider waiting 3 months since you are protected.

▪ Mosquito Control:

·     No Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) or West Nile Virus (WNV) positive mosquitos were detected in Amherst in 2022. The risk designation for the Town was “low” for WNV and “remote” for EEE.

·     The 2023 mosquito season – which usually begins in early June – will be dependent on the level of precipitation. It is projected that 2023 will experience a mosquito season with limited mosquito populations. The actual experience is dependent on precipitation.

·     Surveillance efforts will continue and be expanded to include invasive mosquito species such as the Asian Tiger Mosquito.

o Senior Center:

▪ The Senior Center has secured a grant to recognize volunteers and hosted a volunteer appreciation dinner during the national volunteer appreciation week. Later this spring they will also be doing a volunteer fair for the senior center and our affiliate organizations.

▪ CR Café: The Senior Center is continuing its weekly CR Café, which stands for “Can’t Remember” café! Every Wednesday from 10am – 12noon, Town residents are invited to the Senior Center to enjoy company, entertainment, and some good treats!

o Recreation:

▪ Pickleball: The DPW painted lines on tennis courts at Mill River Recreational Area for people who would like to play pickleball.

o Sheltering:

▪ Permanent Shelter Site: Site acquisition and control has been completed. The Town is now conducting a survey of the site and exploring development scenarios with potential local partners. We expect to move forward with building demolition in the summer of 2023 and the development of a preliminary concept design during the summer/fall of 2023. We have rough estimates of design at $1 million and project costs of $8-$10 million.

·     Conservation and Development o Economic Development:

▪ The Drake: The Downtown Amherst Foundation’s new performance venue, The Drake, celebrated its first anniversary as an important Town destination. Hundreds of shows have been held resulting in additional business for restaurants and drinking establishments before and after the shows. Congratulations to the Business Improvement District (BID) and Downtown

Amherst Foundation for seeing the need for a performance venue and filling it!

Summer Concerts: The BID is close to announcing another robust summer season of concerts on both the Town Common and at Sweetser Park.

▪ Sculpture: The Town was awarded a $10,000 grant for the ‘Making it Public’ program that will create an art installation at Kendrick Park.

·     The Public Art Commission, in partnership with the BID, will be sponsoring a $10,000 grant for one public art commission as part of the “Making it Public” project.

·     “Making it Public” is a New England Foundation of the Arts (NEFA) initiative aimed at providing both equitable processes

for supporting temporary artmaking in addition to strengthening artists’ capacity to expand their work in public art.

·     The Public Art Commission’s goal for the Amherst project is to creatively engage visitors to the park to recognize the cultural, social, economic, and/or environmental impact of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) who call or have called Amherst their home, their influence, and/or their importance to the story of Amherst.

·     The Commission is asking artists to create a temporary or semi-permanent artwork that recognizes the experience and culture of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in Amherst, for installation in Amherst’s Kendrick Park. Applications for the grant are open via the Amherst BID website or the Town of Amherst website and requires the project to have a three dimensional element, to be able to be installed on a 4 by 4 foot concrete base, weather-durable, and ADA compliant.

·     Artists, with priority to BIPOC artists who call or have called Amherst their home, are to apply by noon on May 14th to be considered for their art proposal.

·     An Art Jury will consist of 2 Public Art Commission members, 1 representative from the Amherst Cultural District, 1 representative from the BID, 2 members of the public, and Town Staff, including representation from the Planning Department, Department of Public Works, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Facilities Department, with additional representation from the Amherst Disability Access Advisory Committee and the Amherst Design Review Board.

·     The selected artist will be notified by June 20th, 2023 and must have a final design prepared for August 1st. The final installation is aimed to be done by November 2023 with a public unveiling and community celebration.

▪ Block Party: The BID Block Party is being planned for September 21st. There will be added features including a second stage for entertainment in the Kendrick Park area and collaboration with the Cultural Council to add even more attractions.

Outdoor Dining:

·     The Department of Public Works, working with the BID and Inspection Services, have returned the four outdoor dining stations to the same locations as last year. These beautifully built dining parklets have been very popular with diners.

o Housing:

▪ 132 Northampton Road:

·     East Gables, the new development at 132 Northampton Road, is accepting applications for this newly constructed development consisting of 28 studio apartment homes. East Gables homes include off street parking, connecting walkways, covered bike storage area, and on-site laundry.

·     Information sessions for this development will be held at Jones Library on Wednesday May 10, 2023 from 6:00PM to 7:30PM and on Saturday May 20th from 10:00AM-12:00PM.

·     More information can be found here: https://www.valleycdc.org/affordable-housing/in-development/

·     And here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/valley-cdc_westernmass-affordablehousing-massachusetts-activity-7044442987015065601-iAfz?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

Ball Lane:

·     Planning and outreach continue for the development of 30 affordable home ownership opportunities on approximately 8.3 acres Montague Road at Ball Lane. The proposal includes 15 duplexes with concentrated parking on the edges of the development.

·     Valley Community Development Corporation (Valley CDC) held site several site visits for Town officials, neighbors, and the general public.

·     Valley CDC has started the application process for a 40B Comprehensive Permit to construct the project. Currently, the application is in the Project Eligibility phase with the submittal of information to MassHousing. MassHousing’s review involves an evaluation of the site, the design concept, the financial feasibility of the proposal, and the appropriateness of the proposal in relation to local housing needs and strategies.

·     The Town has been collecting comments on the project, which will be shared with MassHousing in a Project Eligibility letter that will be submitted on May 1st. All individual comments will be enclosed with this letter when it is submitted.

·     Valley CDC anticipates applying for a Comprehensive Permit from the Town in the summer. Comprehensive Permits require expert legal assistance and place a high demand on staff.

▪ East Street/Belchertown Road:

·     The Town is working with the chosen developer on a land development agreement. The work on the development is moving forward nicely. With the due diligence work and designs well underway, we anticipate submitting the Project Eligibility Letter application to DHCD this spring to move the 40B process forward.

o Sustainability:

▪ Festival: The Amherst Sustainability Festival was held on Saturday, April 22nd after a two-year hiatus. It was a great success and many thanks to all who helped organize the day, and who attended.

▪ Solar Assessment:

·     We had over 20 people attend the online presentation by the consultant on March 13th.

·     We had over 25 people attend the March 18th and 23rd workshops at the Jones Library.

·     To date we have over 500 responses to the survey which ended on March 31st.

▪ Dashboard: The Town is engaging a consultant to develop a Community Dashboard for the Town’s website that will highlight projects and initiatives addressing climate change and sustainability.

▪ Outreach: We are working with Family Outreach and a group of Community Captains to develop and distribute a survey for renters on building energy efficiency. There will be outreach to landlords as well. This initiative is being supported by a grant from the Mass Clean Energy Center.

▪ Community Garden: The Fort River Farm Community Garden Circle continues to meet bi-weekly and is discussing the upcoming season with more direct leadership from community members.

·     Public Works
o Roads:

▪ Kellogg Avenue:

·     Taylor Davis Construction continues work on the sidewalk and road reconstruction on Kellogg Ave and a small part of Boltwood Walk.

·     This is a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funded project to improve the sidewalks and accessibility in this area.

▪ Northampton Road: Caracas Construction has begun construction with emphasis on the South Pleasant Street/Northampton Road/College Street intersection. This project is part of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation roadway reconstruction project that extends between University Drive and South Pleasant Street.

▪ Pomeroy Lane: Bids have been received for parts of Pomeroy Lane and West Pomeroy Lane and work will be scheduled for this summer’s construction season.

▪ Street Sweeping: The Department has begun sweeping the main routes and hills that receive the most sand during the winter months. After completing these areas, the DPW will begin sweeping the various sections of town. Sweeping operation will continue until the mid- to end of June.

▪ General Conditions: The condition of roads is a concern throughout the Town. The challenge we have is – quite simply – that there is more need than there is funding. The Town and Town Council continue to work to correct that by adding more and more funds to fix roads. We have increased that funding markedly over the years. Unfortunately, the cost of repair roads – like most things – has skyrocketed,

o Trees:

Photo: amherstma.gov

▪ The Town has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as “Tree City USA”! The award letter stated, “Residents of Amherst should be proud to live in a community that makes the planting and care of trees a priority.” Congratulations to the Town’s Tree

Warden for such strong and enlightened stewardship of this important resource for the Town.

▪ The Public Shade Tree Committee organizes the planting of shade trees on the second Saturday of every month. Anyone is welcome to join!

▪ Arbor Day:

·     Arbor Day was celebrated on April 28th by the Town in conjunction with Amherst College, the Amherst Historical Society, and Shade Tree Committee. The celebration included tree enthusiasts and green industry professionals over the course of the day.

o A talk by Dr. Kevin T. Smith of the US Forest Service, “Charismatic Megafauna (Really Big Trees!)”;

o A Heritage Tree Walk to see significant trees on the campus of Amherst College;

o Planting a new sycamore tree at the Historical Society using money from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Urban Forestry Program that is also providing health care for the historic tree; and

o A children’s book reading, and crafts offered by the Jones Library. ·        Amherst College recently earned a Tree Campus Higher Education

designation from the Arbor Day Foundation, joining Smith College and the University of Massachusetts as campuses recognized locally.

▪ Water Mains: The Water Division will begin its annual systematic water main flushing programs to clean the distribution system on Monday, May 15, 2023 (weather permitting). Water Division personnel will flush daily from 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM until finished, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for four consecutive weeks, or until finished.

·     The flushing will begin on all streets in Pelham, the northern portion of Echo Hill, Allen Mill Road, Jenks Street, Ward Street, Thayer Street, South East Street near the Fort River School, Main Street and all streets northerly of College Street and bordered by Strong Street. The center of Town, North and South Prospect Streets and all streets westerly of North Pleasant and South Pleasant Streets, including University Drive and all streets adjacent to the University of Massachusetts Campus will be done during this phase.

·     The second section will be all streets northerly of Strong Street and the University of Massachusetts Campus including all apartment complexes, the Cushman area, East Pleasant Street, North Pleasant Street and North Amherst area.

·     The third section will include all streets northerly of Shays Street to Northampton Road and College Street including South Pleasant Street, South East Street, Valley View, Mill Lane, Colonial Village, Belchertown Road, Stanley Street, Amherst Fields, the entire southern portion of Echo Hill and all apartment complexes.

·     The fourth and final section will be in the South Amherst area and proceed northerly on all streets and will also include all apartment units involved in this area. It will include all streets southerly of the Crocker Farm School, Shays Street, the area bordering the South Amherst common, Station Road and also the water distribution system on Warren Wright Road, North Street and Route #9 in Belchertown.

o Centennial Water Treatment Facility: The Board of Trustees for the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (Trust) voted to create a commitment for your community’s loan. The next step is the review and signing of a Project Regulatory Agreement; Financing Agreement; and Loan Closings for the interim loan (0% interest); and permanent loan (1.5%).

DELEGATED AUTHORITY

·     Short-Term Event Uses of Town Commons (Section 1a of the Town Council Policy): o ARPS hosts Multi-Lingual Heritage Celebration on the South Common with

performances, small vendors, and some food – April 29th – from 2:30pm – 5:30pm [relocated to the Fort River Elementary School due to weather concerns)]

o Daffodil Run by Big Brothers Big Sisters – April 30th – from 6:00 am – 2:30 pm o Garden Club of Amherst (South Common): May 19, 2023 from 7:00 am – 2:30pm

·     Short-Term Parking Requests (Section 2a of the Town Council Policy):

o Sustainability Festival on April 22, 2023 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. to use 15 spaces on southwest side of Boltwood Avenue and 8 spaces on the southeast side of South Pleasant Street

o White Lion Brewing on April 24, 2023 from 8:00 a.m. – 6 p.m. to use four parking spaces at 24 North Pleasant Street for equipment installation.

o Commemoration of Life Service on May 8, 2023 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm for parking spaces on Main Street adjacent to the Emily Dickinson Museum and Homestead

o Garden Club of Amherst on May 19, 2023 from 7:00 am – 2:30 pm for 12 parking spaces on Boltwood Avenue and four spaces in the Spring Street parking lot

·     Short-Term Public Way Closures (Section 3b of the Town Council Policy):

o Amherst College Lyceum Construction: Daniel O’Connell and Sons Construction will be staging a boom lift on the sidewalk at 197 South Pleasant St through the Monday – Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the month of May. An attendant will be present to have the equipment moved should ADA access be required. Please reach out to the construction attendant on duty if you need access via the sidewalk and the equipment will be moved.

o Daffodil Run by Big Brothers Big Sisters – April 30th – North Pleasant Street, East Pleasant Street, Strong, North Whitney Main Streets (5K); North Pleasant, East Pleasant, Van Meter Drive, Ridgecrest Road, Harlow Drive, Strong Street, North Whitney Street, Harvard Avenue, Grove Street, Main Street (10K)

o May Day Celebration – Cushman Scott Children’s Center – May 6, 2023 – 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon – Henry Street from Pine Street to Market Hill Road

o Memorial Day Parade -May 29, 2023 – 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – Spring, South Pleasant, North Pleasant, East Pleasant, and Triangle Streets for Memorial Day Parade

o Western Mass 10 – Hartford Marathon Foundation – November 5, 2023 – 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. – Triangle Street to North Pleasant Street to College Street to College Street to Main Street to Dickinson Street to Norwottuck Rail Trail

·     Placement of Road and Temporary Signs (Section 3d of the Town Council Policy):

MAJOR CAPITAL PROJECTS ·     
Jones Library:

o Up-to-the-minute updates can be found here: https://www.joneslibrary.org/buildingproject

·     DPW Building/Fire Building:

o Staff continue to explore multiple options for a new site for the DPW. ·            Elementary School Building Committee:

o The Town Council has called for a Special Election on May 2nd and is reviewing the borrowing authorization.

o The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) voted unanimously to approve the Amherst Elementary School Building project and authorized its Executive Director to execute a Project Scope and Budget Agreement and Project Funding Agreement with the Town.

o The Board approved an Estimated Maximum Total Facilities Grant of $39,640,520, which does not include any funds for Potentially Eligible Owner’s or Construction Contingency Expenditures. In the event that the MSBA determines that any Owner’s and/or Construction Contingency Expenditures are eligible for reimbursement, the Maximum Total Facilities Grant for the Fort River Elementary School Project may increase to as much as $40,466,011.

o The proposed project would consolidate the student population of the existing Fort River Elementary School and the Wildwood Elementary School and construct a new facility serving grades K-5 on the site of the existing Fort River Elementary School. As a component of this proposed consolidation, the Amherst School Committee has voted and approved to relocate the District’s 6th grade student population to the Amherst-Pelham Middle School.

PROJECTS UPDATE

·     Pomeroy Village MassWorks Grant: Caracas Construction has restarted the construction of the roundabout with adjustments being made to abutting properties to accommodate the new roundabout.

·     North Common Restoration/Main Street Parking Lot: The Town is putting the final touches on the bid package for the North Common with the goal of putting the package out to bid in the coming weeks.

·     North Amherst Library: Work continues. The Town Council appropriated funds that will permit the Town to address the parking area and other sidewalk and landscape issues associated with the area, including the demolition of the

vacant gas station. ·           Hickory Ridge:

o Solar: Work has begun on the installation of solar panels. The installation – which is a major reason the Town was able to purchase the property at a bargain sale price – will cover a significant portion of the site but will protect the river, and sensitive environmental areas.

o Clubhouse: The clubhouse is in bad condition. The Fire Department has been using the building for training exercises. For instance, in this photo, the on-duty crew is out training on vertical ventilation, an important tactic in fire suppression. Most skills that Firefighters are tasked with performing are perishable, having the opportunity to train on real construction allows them to sharpen their skills.

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

ØMay 15th – Town Council Meeting ØMay 29th – Memorial Day Holiday ØJune 5th – Town Council Meeting ØJune 12th – Town Council Meeting ØJune 19th – Juneteenth Holiday ØJune 26th – Town Council Meeting ØJuly 4th – Independence Day Holiday

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