Mary L. Wentworth: Endorses Wilder for Amherst Redevelopment Authority

Last modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
To the editor;

I urge Amherst residents to vote for Paige Wilder, a candidate for the Amherst Redevelopment Authority. Many residents know little about this agency and its powers. Few are aware, for instance, of the agreement signed in 2010 by John Musante, our town manager, John Coull, Amherst Redevelopment Authority chair at the time, and Robert Holub, former University of Massachusetts chancellor. Among other things, this agreement gave the ARA a central role in the plans to develop for-profit student housing in Amherst.

Created in the 1960s to address so-called urban blight, the ARA has been invested with extraordinary powers. Once an area meets the qualifications of “blight” the ARA can take over and basically do anything it wants with the property. If Town Meeting chooses not to provide funding, the ARA can raise the money through borrowing or through bonds.

In my opinion, none of the members of the present authority have the background or experience to wield this kind of power for the betterment of our town.

As an ARA member, Paige would keep us informed about what the ARA is doing. Please give her your vote on March 25.

Mary L. Wentworth