Panel to be named to plan historic district
North Amherst residents are trying to make their community the second area in town with a local historic district.
The Select Board recently voted to support a request from the Historical Commission to begin the process in which a study committee will be formed to determine the boundaries of the district and bring a proposal to Town Meeting.
Historical Commission Chairman Michael Hanke said historic districts can control how development takes place and preserve the historic fabric of a neighborhood. In North Amherst, this means maintaining a legacy associated with mills. “It was called the Dirty Hands district for a reason,” Hanke said.
The Select Board will appoint members of the committee. “There’s potential to garner participants from North Amherst,” Hanke said.
Select Board member Alisa Brewer expressed concern that the local historic district idea stems from neighborhood opposition to proposed zoning changes that have included use of form-based code.
“I worry that this is considered the be all and end all of something,” Brewer said.
Brewer noted that the Select Board is still seeking members for panel that will make decisions on appeals brought from the building commissioner related to any projects on properties within the Dickinson Local Historic District.
Amherst officials are backing an effort to construct a National Liberty Memorial that would honor black soldiers who participated in the American Revolutionary War.
The Select Board recently voted unanimously in favor of federal legislation that would build what is known as the National Liberty Memorial to African Americans of the Revolutionary War on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
Select Board member James Wald said there are at least two Amherst men who would be remembered there, Caesar Prutt and William Ewing. Estimates are that 5,000 to 10,000 slaves participated in the war effort, Wald said.
Musante’s road trip
Town Manager John Musante recently attended the International City/County Management Association conference in Phoenix, Az., and brought home information about what other college towns do to maintain a safe community, handle housing inspections and keep the cost of services down.
“The ability to network with some of the best professional city and town managers across the country is invaluable,” he said.
In particular, he participated in a college town consortium that could guide how Amherst deals with problems related to rental properties.
“Experiences from other college towns will be immediately useful to our Safe and Healthy Neighbors initiative,” Musante said.
The Amherst Survival Center is seeking assistance from the public in distributing Thanksgiving turkeys and food boxes to more than 350 area families starting Nov. 5.
With the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts reducing the number of frozen turkeys it provides, officials at the center are hoping more residents will donate turkeys and hams, as well as non-perishables or gift certificates that can be used at supermarkets.
“We are committed to making sure that everyone has a proper Thanksgiving this year,” said Program Director Tracey Levy.
The center is also looking for volunteers to help serve its annual Thanksgiving Meal Nov. 21 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Immanuel Lutheran Church on North Pleasant Street. More than 200 are expected for the meal that includes turkey, ham, vegetarian lasagna, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and pies.
To donate food for the Thanksgiving box program or to help with the meal, contact Levy at 549-3968, ext. 202 or at email@example.com.
Meanwhile, “Building for Neighbors in Need: A New Home” is the subject of a talk by Jan Eidelson, president of the Amherst Survival Board, at the Amherst Woman’s Club, 35 Trinagle St.
Eidelon will speak Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m. about the new building, anticipated to open in December. For more information, call 549-6865.
UMass men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg will be the featured speaker at the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast Nov. 7 at 7:15 a.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Route 9 in Hadley.
Breakfast is $12 for members and $15 for non-members.
Monday: Select Board, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.
Wednesday: Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.