Town Manager Report for April 1, 2024



Editor’s note: Town Manager Paul Bockelman submits a comprehensive report to the Town Council, usually at the first Town Council meeting of each month. The reports, usually 9 to 16 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.


•   Fort River Elementary School Groundbreaking: The Town held a groundbreaking event on March 26th  to memorialize the beginning of construction of the new Fort River Elementary School. The

event included remarks by Building Chair and Town Councilor Cathy Schoen, State Representative Mindy Domb, State Senator Jo Comerford, Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Executive Director Mary Pichetti, School Committee Chair Sarah Marshall, School Superintendent Douglas Slaughter, Town Council President Lynn Griesemer, and Town Manager Paul Bockelman. Over 100 people attended the groundbreaking, including members of the Town Council and Amherst School Committee. The press release with additional photographs can be found here.— Ceremonial-Groundbreaking-for-New-Elementary-School-Building-with-photos–03-26-2024

•   Committee Appointments: We are beginning the appointment/reappointment process for Town committees and boards. This is a large undertaking organized expertly by the Executive Assistant to the Town Manager. The Town has over 30 boards and committees that support and advise the work of Town government and each has multiple residents who are members. Terms of service are typically three years; some may be short. Members typically serve for two terms. Members with terms expiring who have served one term may be seeking reappointment. More information here:

DEPARTMENT UPDATES Administration and Finance

•   Town Clerk:

Dog Licenses: Licenses expire on March 31st annually.
Please renew your dog license by June 1st to avoid a late fee. State Law Requires a License. All owners or keepers of a dog 6 months or older are required by state law to license it annually. A license can only be issued if the owner has evidence of a rabies vaccination that is valid as of the date of issuance. Dog licenses may be purchased either in-person at the Town Clerk’s Office in Town Hall during regular business hours, online, or by mail.

•   Finance:
o Assessors: The Town in undergoing a cyclical inspection review required by the State.
▪  This program requires all assessing jurisdictions to update their records by inspecting all properties within a ten (10) year cycle. To be in full compliance we are inspecting all properties that have not been visited recently.
▪   Town inspectors will have identification. This inspection is designed to provide us with accurate information on the condition of the property.  Such information is essential to establishing fair, equitable, and uniform values throughout the town.  To successfully complete our inspection program in a timely manner, the Board of Assessors must rely on and request your cooperation.  Inspectors will be working throughout Town beginning in April through the end of the calendar year.
▪   Inspectors will visit the property and if we find no one home or arrive at a time that is truly inconvenient for you, we will complete an exterior inspection and measure the building. We will leave a call back card as a reminder to call our office to schedule an interior inspection.  The interior inspection should take fifteen (15) minutes or less.
o Budget: Town staff are fully engaged in developing, analyzing, reviewing, revising, and presenting the budget through our Finance team led by consultant Sandy Pooler. We have many requests for funds to support departmental operations that will be a challenge to meet.

•   Human Resources:
o Searches:
▪  CRESS Director: A new CRESS Director has been hired. Her first job in the position will be April 8th.
▪   There will be a reception welcoming Ms. Theriaque to the community in the coming weeks.
▪   Ms. Theriaque brings a unique combination of public safety and social work experience to the position of CRESS Director. This skill set will support the CRESS Department in its work as a public safety agency that includes addressing social service needs as a core component of its work.
▪   As a firefighter at the Holyoke Fire Department, Ms. Theriaque rose to the rank of Lieutenant, serving as the first female Lieutenant in the history of the City of Holyoke.
▪   At the conclusion of her time as a firefighter, Ms. Theriaque obtained a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work and was qualified as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She most recently worked as a Licensed Clinician at the Behavioral Health Network’s Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) program.
▪   Ms. Theriaque earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Mount Holyoke College and a Masters in Clinical Social Work from the Smith College School for Social Work.
▪  Many thanks to the Search Committee which was chaired by Human Resources Director Melissa Loiodice-Walker and included Allegra Clark, co-chair of the Community Safety and Social Justice Committee; Rani Parker, co-chair of the Human Rights Commission; Tim McCarthy, executive Director of Craigs Doors Shelter; Dwayne Chamble, Out-of-School Times Program Coordinator at the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District; Hayley Bolton, Director of Senior Services; Tim Nelson, Fire Chief; and Jennifer Moyston, Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Community Member and special assistant to the vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life Sidonio Ferreira and Public Health Director Kiko Malin were also involved in the interview process.

▪   Finance Director: The search committee is reviewing applications and we have been interviewing and continuing to recruit candidates.
▪  Police Chief: The Police Chief Search Committee has forwarded two finalists for

Police Chief to the Town Manager.

▪  The two finalists are Todd Ahern, a Lieutenant in the Chelmsford, Massachusetts Police Department and Gabriel Ting, a Captain, and Temporary Chief in the Amherst Police Department.

▪   Amherst community members are invited to a “meet and greet” session on Tuesday, April 2nd in the Large Activity Room of the Bangs Community Center,

70 Boltwood Walk. Mr. Ahern will be present from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Mr. Ting will be present from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Interpretation services will be available and child care provided.

▪   About Todd Ahern: Mr. Ahern of Chelmsford has worked thirty years for the Chelmsford Police Department. Currently, he is the Lieutenant in charge of Community Wellness and Outreach. Ahern started as a Patrol Officer in the Chelmsford Police Department in 1994, became a Detective in 2000, was promoted to Sergeant in 2004, and then to Lieutenant in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  In 2021, Ahern earned a Public Leadership Credential from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  In addition, Ahern has coached youth wrestling, lacrosse, and soccer programs in Chelmsford.

▪   About Gabriel Ting: Gabriel Ting of Belchertown has worked for over twenty-six years for the Amherst Police Department. Currently, he serves as Temporary Chief and as Captain in charge of Police Operations. Ting started as a Patrol Officer in the Amherst Police Department in 1997, became a Detective in 2004, was promoted to Sergeant in 2010, and then to Lieutenant in 2016. He  became Captain of Operations in 2019. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a Concentration in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Western New England University. Ting is a certified instructor under the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council and has taught at various police academies. In addition, Ting has coached youth lacrosse and hockey in Western Massachusetts. He serves on the Ancestral Bridges Foundation Board of Directors.

▪   The meet and greet will be an informal gathering for the Amherst community to meet the two candidates. It will be moderated by Attorney Everald Henry, who serves as chair of the Police Chief Search Committee.

▪   The Search Committee includes Lev Ben Ezra, Executive Director of the Amherst Survival Center;  Tony Butterfield, chair of the Amherst Personnel Board and professor emeritus at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; Elizabeth Haygood, co-chair of the Human Rights Commission; Everald Henry, Esq. who is a member of the Community Safety and Social Justice Committee; Jennifer Moyston, Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Tim Nelson, Amherst Fire Chief; Tyrone Parham, Police Chief of the University of Massachusetts Amherst; Derek Shea, Principal of the Crocker Farm Elementary School; and David Williams, member of the Amherst Housing Authority and member of the Amherst League of Women Voters Racial Justice Committee. Melissa Loiodice-Walker, the Town’s Director of Human Resources coordinated the search.

o Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Department:

▪  Becoming Beloved Community: The DEI Department is hosting an event entitled “Microaggressions: What are they and how do you respond” When you are the target of a microaggressions? When you’re told that you committed a microaggression? When you are a bystander to microaggressions? The event will be held on Thursday, April 4th  from  6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Bangs Community Center. Dinner will be served. Registration is not required but it is appreciated. For childcare, please contact the DEI office at 413- 259-0360

•   Save the Date for Future “Becoming a Beloved Community” events:

o 07/25/2024 | Allyship

o 09/26/2024 | America’s Racial History

o 11/21/2024 | Navigating Differences

▪  Events: The Department of Equity and Inclusion and Human Rights Commission have a number of events coming up including:

•   Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage,

•   Jewish Heritage,

•   Youth Hero Awards,

•   Juneteenth, and

•   A special Pride Month event with Justice Roderick Ireland.

o Justice Ireland, a Springfield native, was appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court by Governor William Weld in 1997, becoming the first African American justice of the state’s highest court. In 2010, Democratic Governor Deval Patrick appointed him Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court where he served with distinction until mandatory retirement in 2014.

o Justice Ireland was a member of the four-justice majority in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. The 2003 case established Massachusetts as the first state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage and set in motion a domino-effect of other states that passed similar laws in the years that followed.

▪   Reparations: The Town Council is reviewing the recommendations and I have requested legal advice on several questions and funding options. The Town Attorney is researching and working on a legal analysis for the Council which I expect to receive in the near future.

▪   Resident Oversight Board: On January 10th, 18th, and 21st, the DEI Department hosted listening sessions to hear Amherst residents’ experiences with the Amherst Police Department. The first consultant has completed their work which will support the next phase of development. The second Request for Proposals has been published and invites sealed proposals for a consultant to assist the Town in the creation, establishment, and implementation of a Civilian Law Enforcement Oversight Board. Bids are due April 9th.

▪   Police Protocols: Work on police protocols will be a priority for the permanent chief, once appointed.

▪  CRESS: See the update on the CRESS Department elsewhere.

▪  Youth Empowerment: Surveys have been distributed with plans for in-person follow up. ARPA funds have been set aside to support this work which will include additional outreach and an assessment of possible sites.

o Information Technology (I.T.): The Town’s I.T. Director was invited to join the State Cyber Resilient Massachusetts Working Group. resilient-massachusetts/cyber-resilient-massachusetts-working-group

Public Safety

•   Community Responders for Equity, Safety, and Service:

o Staffing: Ms. Camille Theriaque was appointed as the new CRESS Director and will begin her position on April 8th. See the profile above.

o Initiatives:

▪  At the request of the Middle/High School principal, community responders have been supporting the Amherst-Pelham Regional Middle School students and staff by being present during school lunch periods.

▪   Community responders and the CRESS Department continue to develop relationships with the Town’s Veterans during the Veterans’ Breakfasts held on the first and third Friday of the month at the Bangs Community Center. It is very informal, and all are welcome.

▪   The CRESS Department began work with the Harvard University Fellow assigned to the Town of Amherst. This work will focus on dispatch protocols and department policies and procedures. The work will be informed by the larger consortium of communities doing similar work throughout the country that have been invited to participate by Harvard University. Harvard Government Performance Lab (GPL) Fellow is conducting one on one meetings regarding dispatch with members of the Dispatch Department and others.

▪  Training:

•   As part of the major grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Department is conducting a two-day racial equity training for CRESS. Space will be available for some members of the public to attend. The exact dates and location are to be determined.

•   Community Responders received training on Mindfulness from Shalini Bahl Milne and Anti-Racism from Angelica Castro.

•   Police Department:

o  Staffing: Like police departments across the state, staffing has been a challenge.

We have been successful in maintaining our staffing with ongoing staff turnover, training, etc.

▪  Four officers graduated from the Police Academy. They are currently in

Field Training.

▪  Three additional offers of employment are in process.

o RISE: The Police Department has partnered with the CRESS and Recreation Departments to participate in RISE, a national nonprofit that collaborates with Under Armor and the NBA to educate the youth in Amherst through sports to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice, and improve race relations. This is a 10 week program, 2 hours per week, which currently has ten members and is growing. The program began on March 23rd.

•   Fire Department:

o Academy: Three new members of the Department will begin their Academy training in April.

Community Services

Public Health:
•   COVID 19: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the guidance for COVID-19 and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has now officially adopted the new guidance, along with some additional recommendations. Essentially COVID is now being treated like any other respiratory illness and the five day isolation period is no longer a requirement. If a person has been fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medications) for at least 24 hours and their symptoms are improving – meaning that they no longer feel ill and any remaining symptoms such as cough or runny nose are very mild or infrequent, they may resume their daily activities. It is recommended to use caution for five days and wear a mask, practice social distancing etc. The MDPH guidelines can be found here: Staying home to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.

•   National Public Health Week: The event will be recognized from April 1st  to April 7th  2024. This year’s theme is “Protecting, Connecting and Thriving – We Are All Public Health” Each day of the week will have a theme to recognize and celebrate the value and impact of public health and to offer suggestions on how the community can engage in public-health promoting activities. More information will be posted on the Public Health Department website starting on April 1st.

•   Opioid Settlement: The opioid settlement fund survey is still open!  We want to hear from more Amherst residents about how they have been affected by the opioid crisis and how they think the funds should be spent.  The survey can be accessed at this link.

•   Kindness Campaign: The Public Health and Recreation Department-sponsored Kindness Campaign continues through the end of April. The campaign aims to inspire individuals of all ages to embrace acts of kindness, big and small, and make a positive impact on the lives of others. More information can be found at: good-for-your-mind

•   Office Hours – Public Health Nurse: The Town’s public health nurse will begin offering drop-in nursing hours at the Senior Center in April. She will be setting up in the Bubble Room on the second Wednesday of each month from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and will offer confidential nursing services including blood pressure checks, support with managing chronic conditions and self-management of medications.

•   Recreation:

o Recreation and Open Space Survey:  The survey closes April 5th. The answers to this survey will help the Recreation and Conservation Departments to better maintain the Town’s open spaces, recreation facilities, and protected lands. The Planning Department will use your feedback to update the Town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan, so the Town can receive grant funding to improve open space and recreation areas.

▪   Click here to take the online survey!

o Senior Services:

▪  Business as Usual: A typical month at the Senior Center includes 560 check-ins at the Senior Centers, with an average attendance of 26 people per day. There were 80 rides on the Silver Shuttle, with over 50% being for medical transport. The Department served over 700 people across our various programs (in person and virtual). 55 volunteers logged nearly 150 hours at the Senior Center. 148 social service consultations with the Town’s Social Service Coordinator. Numbers at Senior Services continue to hold steady, with a slight increase in service over previous months. We are hoping to see this trend continue into the spring as we develop new programs and services, with an eye towards caregiver support. Our program highlight in January was ‘Puppies and Pizza.’ The Senior Center collaborated with Officer Bill Laramee from the Amherst Police Department to host comfort dogs from Montague and Greenfield police departments. Participants were able to play, pet, and relax with the dogs while enjoying a pizza lunch. One participant, Lee Williams, said he loved seeing Auggie and interacting with all the dogs. It was great to see the dogs play and wrestle one another. It will certainly become a mainstay program and as Lee says, “if you love puppies and pizza, come join us!”

▪  Open House: The Open House has been canceled due to the Bangs Community

Center elevator being out of commission.

▪   Newsletter: The new March-April newsletter from the Department of Senior Services – which includes a listing of all of the dozens of workshops and meetings being offered by the Department –  Amherst Senior Spirit, is now available:

o Veterans Services:

▪  Veterans Community Breakfast for All. Please make an effort to stop by for a cup of coffee.  Sponsored by the CRESS Department and organized by its Veterans Outreach Worker Gene Herman. The breakfasts are held on the first and third Fridays of the month from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. in the Bangs Community Center. Veterans, Spouses, Caregivers, Amherst Community Members.  (There are 387 veterans living in Town!

Conservation and Development
o Planning:

▪  Downtown Design Standards: Planning staff are in the process of scheduling stakeholder meetings to provide input to the consultants, Dodson & Flinker, on what people would like to see (or not see) downtown.  We hope to start the stakeholder meetings in early April.

▪  CDBG: The CDBG grant application was submitted to the state on March 25th.  The capital project that has been included in the application is a multi-use path and roadway improvements along North Pleasant Street, from the University up to Pine Street.  The grant application also includes money for social services. This work is being reviewed by the Town Council.

▪   Open Space and Recreation Plan: The Planning Department is working on an update of the Open Space and Recreation Plan (mentioned above).  Everyone is invited to take a survey, giving us input on what they think about Amherst’s open space and recreation lands.

o Sustainability:

▪  Dashboard: The Town announced the release of its community dashboard focused on sustainability. The dashboard is a one-stop opportunity to access information on what has been done, what is being done, and what we plan to do in regard to sustainability and climate action. It also features recommendations on what residents can do and how to become involved in addressing climate change. The website is located at:

o Housing:

▪  Belchertown Road/East Street: Wayfinders has submitted its Project Eligibility Letter for the Comprehensive Permit on Belchertown Road and at the East Street School. There will now be a presentation, discussion, and opportunity to offer comments regarding the Project Eligibility Application submitted to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities for preliminary review of their proposed development including approximately 78 mixed income apartments at 31 South East Street and 70 Belchertown Road. Application documents available by clicking the link below:

▪  Housing Trust Strategic Planning Effort: A consultant from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership outlined the plan for the Trust in setting goals and strategies for next few years and went over the timeline for that process. One goal is to figure out what the Trust should focus on as a priority. The consultant and Town staff will review former Trust efforts and will share with the Trust as part of the planning process.

▪  Ball Lane aka Amherst Community Homes:

▪    The ZBA held its second public hearing session on the Amherst Community Homes project, a 30-unit affordable home-ownership development proposed by Valley Community Development Corporation for the former Matuszko Trucking site in North Amherst.  The Comprehensive Permit for the Amherst Community Homes project (Valley CDC) for 30 units of affordable homeowner housing was approved by the ZBA on March 14th.

▪  VFW Site: The Town awarded the bid to demolish the building on the site. We anticipate offering the site as a layout area for the Jones Library construction project.

Public Works
•   Street Sweeping: The Department has begun sweeping the main routes and hills that receive the most material during the winter months.  After completing these areas, the DPW will begin sweeping the various sections of town. If all goes well this will start on April 1st.

•   Below are the areas that will be swept and the order they will be done in.

o Central – West includes: Amity Street, Lincoln Ave., and all streets in between the boundary of Massachusetts Ave and Northampton Rd. (Allen, Beston, Blue Hills Rd., Cosby, Cowls Lane, Dana Pl., Dana St., Elm, Fearing, Gaylord, Hallock, Kendrick, McClellan, McClure, Nutting Ave, Paige, Phillips, North & South Prospect, and Sunset.), Butterfield Terrace, Greenleaves

o East includes: Chestnut, High, Canton Ave., Churchill, Clifton Ave., Cottage, Dickinson, Eames Ave., East St. Common, Gray, Grove, Harvard Ave., North Whitney, Hills Rd., Red Gate Lane, Kellogg Ave., Lessey, South Whitney, Spring, Taylor, Mt. Pleasant,

Pleasant Court, Pokeberry Ridge, Salem, Seelye, Shumway, Smith, Strong St, Maplewood development, Triangle, Windridge Terrace, North East St from Main to Strong, Hedgerow, Arbor Way and Wildwood Lane, all of Echo Hill, all of Amherst Woods, Route 9 from Amherst Center to Belchertown town line, Logtown Rd., Hall Dr., Pelham Rd. and all side streets (Jenks, Ward, Thayer, Bayberry Lane), Old Belchertown Rd., Old Farms Rd., Station Rd., Cortland Dr., Iduna Lane, Stanley Street & Misty Meadows, Valley View Circle, and South East Street Rte 9 to South Amherst Common.

o South includes:  All streets proceeding from Northampton Rd. (south), Bay Rd, Baker, Blakefield, Canterbury Lane, Carriage Rd., Columbia Dr., Country Corners Rd, East Hadley Rd., Elf Hill, Farmington Rd., Glendale Rd., Harris Mt., Hillcrest,  Hitchcock, Hulst Rd., Jeffery Lane, Longmeadow Dr., Memorial Drive, Middle St., Mill Lane, Mount Holyoke Dr., Orchard Dr.,  Pomeroy Lane and developments off  Pomeroy Lane, Pondview Dr., Potwine Lane, Rambling Road, Shays St., South East Street from Common to Bay Road, South Pleasant St. to Snell Street, Stagecoach Road, West Bay Rd., West Pomeroy Lane, Woodside, Walnut and Rte 116 (Snell to Glendale).

o North includes: All streets proceeding from North Pleasant Street (north of the UMass Campus), East Pleasant St. (north of Strong St.), Berkshire Terrace, Blackberry Lane, Bridge St., Cherry Lane, Cowls Rd., East Leverett Rd., Fairfield St., Farview Way, Fisher, Flat Hills Rd., Grantwood Dr., Harlow Dr., Harris, Henry St., Hitching Post, Hobart Lane, Leverett Rd., Lilac Lane, Market Hill Rd., Meadow St., Moorland, Old Montague Rd.,

Old Town Road, North East St. (north from Strong St.), Pine St., Plumtree, Puffer Circle, Pulpit Hill Rd., Rolling Ridge, Rosemary, Russellville Road, Sand Hill Rd., Sheerman Lane, State St., Summer Street, Sunderland Rd., Shutesbury Rd., Valley Lane and Van Meter.

•   Please do not leave large windrows or piles of sand along edge of road.  Sweeper cannot pick up these piles.  This material may be brought to the landfill on Route 9 – Belchertown Road and deposited at no charge.

•   Sweeping operation will continue until the mid- to end of June.   For additional information, please call the Amherst Department of Public Works at (413)259-3050 X-0.

o Roadwork:

▪  The State is looking to resurface approximately 3.2 miles of Route 116 in

Amherst, beginning at the intersection of Route 116 and Route 9 in Hadley, extending to the intersection of Route 116 and Meadow Street. Work includes milling and resurfacing, rebuilding, and cleaning of drainage structures, upgrades to guardrail and shoulder repairs.

▪   Staff are requesting permanent changes to the public way at four locations in Town: West Street, Belchertown Road, University Drive and Amity Street, and Heatherstone Road. The TSO Committee has begun consideration of these requests.

▪  The $2.75 million worth of paving for the following roads should start up in the

coming weeks once the asphalt plants reopen for the season. We anticipate the roads will be paved by the end of June, 2024.

•   Bellview Circle – Rolling Ridge Road to end (may be delayed due to work on water lines that needs to be done)

•   Cottage Street – Chestnut Street to Morrow Lane

•   Edgehill Place – Logtown Road to End

•   Farmington Road– Applewood Lane to Pondview Drive

•   Heatherstone Road – Pelham Road to Aubinwood Road

•   Market Hill Road – Flat Hills Road to Shutesbury Townline

•   North Hadley Road – Lincoln Avene to Sunset Avenue

•   North Pleasant Street – McClellan Street to Triangle Street

•   Oak Knoll Street– Heatherstone Road to End

•   Old Farm Road – Pinegrove to Crossbrook Avenue

•   Salem Street – Main Street to end

•   Stony Hill Road –(eyebrow) 83 Stony Hill Road to End

•   Thistle Lane – Stony Hill Road to End

•   Woodside Avenue – Northampton Road (Route 9) to Hitchcock Road


•   Short-Term Event Uses of Town Commons (Section 1a of the Town Council Policy): None

•   Short-Term Parking Requests (Section 2a of the Town Council Policy): None

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

o Cushman Scott Children’s Center – May 4, 2024 – 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon – Temporary closing of Henry Street between Market Hill Road and Pine Street

o Western Mass 10 Road Race – November 3, 2024 – 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. – Temporary closings of North Pleasant, South Pleasant, Main, and Dickinson Streets

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

Jones Library:  Volunteers with the Friends of the Jones Libraries have added additional tours of the building, including areas not currently open to the public. Tours are scheduled for the following dates and times:

o Saturday, March 30 at 2 p.m.

o Saturday, April 6 at 11 a.m.

o Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m.

o Wednesday, April 10 at 10


o Saturday, April 13 at 10 a.m.

o Tours will begin by the main stairwell on the first floor and last approximately one hour.

Registration is not required.

•   DPW Building/Fire Building:

o The Town appropriated $100,000 to make emergency repairs to the existing DPW building to address some of the numerous issues that plague that structure. Facilities staff have examined the building and determined the highest priorities for utilizing these funds to make repairs. We will continue to assess the condition of the structure and the work conditions for the employees. Work on the roof identified last year will be done in the coming months.

o Staff continue to explore multiple options for a new site for the DPW.

•   Elementary School Building Committee:

o The new school will replace two schools – Wildwood and Fort River Elementary Schools – with one new elementary school on the Fort River site. The new school will be kindergarten through fifth grade. The three-story school will have a capacity of 575 students, with five classrooms per grade. It will be a Net Zero energy building using ground source heat pumps and photovoltaic panels to supply 100% of the energy for the building. The site will include space for outdoor learning and play, with creative, accessible playground equipment. The project will also restore community playing fields, provide basketball courts, trails, rain gardens and more for residents of all ages. The school building is designed to enable after-hours use, including a cafeteria with a stage for performances.  The new school will be built to the south of the existing Fort River Elementary School on adjacent open land currently used as fields. The new three-story school will have a capacity of 575 students, with five classrooms for each of the six (K-5) grades. Importantly, the new school will be a Net Zero building utilizing ground source heat pumps and photovoltaic panels to supply 100% of the energy for the building. The site will include space for outdoor learning and play.

o Next Steps: A second bid package for the construction of the building itself will be issued in June. The schedule is to complete the new elementary school building prior to the beginning of the September 2026 school year. The final stage of the project will be the demolition of the existing Fort River Elementary School and final site work which is scheduled to be completed later in 2026.

▪   Prequalification of General Contractors and filed sub bidders Request for Qualifications is available online here: and click on the ‘Bid Listings’ tab at the top and then click on the ‘Solicitations’ radial button at the top of the list and then click on the RFQ name.

▪   Sub bid categories include: Masonry; Miscellaneous and Ornamental Iron; Waterproofing, Damp-proofing & Caulking; Roofing & Flashing; Metal

Windows; Glass & Glazing; Tile; Acoustical Tile; Resilient Floors; Painting; Elevators; Fire Protection Sprinkler System; Plumbing; HVAC; Electrical

o The project is funded by two sources:  the Massachusetts School Building Authority

(MSBA) and the Town of Amherst. Voters approved a debt exclusion override in April

2023. The MSBA partners with Massachusetts communities to support the design and construction of educationally appropriate, flexible, sustainable, and cost-effective public- school facilities.

o For more information, visit the School Building Project website here:


o Traffic: With the mobilization of Gagliarducci to work on the site, there will be significant changes to the circulation of vehicles entering and exiting the site. We are notifying parents/guardians, staff, and visitors that the current (southern) entrance to the site closest to Belchertown Road will become the construction entrance/exit and will be closed to school traffic.  All school traffic will utilize the northern entrance to the school closest to Main Street as the entrance/exit. The current (southern) entrance to the Fort River Elementary School will be closed to traffic as it becomes the construction entrance/exit.

All school traffic will utilize the northern entrance located closest to Main Street. More information on these traffic changes will be shared in the near future.


•   Centennial Water Treatment Facility: For more information, visit the website here:

•   North Common Restoration/Main Street Parking Lot:

o Work on the project has resumed.

o Caracas Construction will be extending the construction zone and fencing out onto

Main Street. The sidewalk on the south side of Main Street will be closed and the bus

stop will be relocated to 69 Main Street, east of Town Hall. Caracas will also begin removing sidewalk and installing conduit on Boltwood Avenue in front of Grace Church. Working hours will be from 7am to 5pm.

o The project is projected to be completed by June 30, 2024.

o For questions or additional information concerning this project contact the Amherst

Department of Public Works at 413-259-3050 or at

•   Hickory Ridge: The Assistant Town Manager will provide an update on the site and plans at the April 8th  Town Council meeting.


➢ April 8th  – Town Council meeting

➢ April 15th  – Patriots Day holiday

➢ April 20th  – Sustainability Fair

➢ May 6th  – Town Council meeting

➢ May 20th  – Town Council meeting

➢ May 27th  – Memorial Day holiday

➢ June 3rd  – Public Forum on the Capital Improvement Program

➢ June 3rd  – Town Council meeting

➢ June 17th  – Town Council meeting

➢ June 24th  – Town Council meeting

➢ July 2nd  – Independence Day fireworks (rain date July 8th)

➢ July 4th  – Independence Day holiday

➢ July 7th  – Town Council meeting

➢ August 5th  – Town Council meeting

➢ August 19th  – Town Council meeting

➢ September 2nd  – Labor Day holiday

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