Amherst Media eyes spring groundbreaking for new home 

  • An illustration of Amherst Media’s planned headquarters on Main Street in Amherst.  Amherst Media

Staff Writer
Published: 1/9/2019 2:57:24 PM

AMHERST — More than a year after beginning a capital campaign, Amherst Media could break ground on a new $1.5 million production facility and technology center on Main Street this spring, according to Jim Lescault, the nonprofit’s executive director. 

Plans to build on the .56-acre site, in front of the Henry Hills House at the corner of Gray Street, have been delayed because of what Amherst Media claims are illegal encroachments from abutting properties that include plantings, a shed, a wall and fence, a driveway, as well as water drainage. 

Lescault said the permitting process for construction cannot happen until the encroachments are addressed, which looks likely to happen after town officials in November issued a work permit for rerouting an underground pipe and drainage system.

“Now with the permit in place, we are actively pursuing the required building permits in hopes of starting construction when the weather allows,” Lescault said.

The plans for the new building, developed by Great Country Timber Frames of Ellington, Connecticut, show a building that takes on the appearance of a barn and is designed to fit into the look of homes in the Dickinson Local Historic District.

Demetria Shabazz, president of the board of directors, said that Amherst Media brings people together, on top of its broadcasts of governmental meetings and other events in town.

“No other site in this community provides a locus for community gatherings and a hub for information, education and civic engagement at little to no cost,” Shabazz said,

The new location, which will mean a move from Amherst Media’s long-time site at 246 College St., will bring organization closer to town center, and to students at the middle and high school, as well as college interns planning to get experience in the field of communications.

Lescault said more information about the capital campaign is available at amherstmedia.org.

“Considering how many community events we cover and help to amplify with our broadcasts, our fundraising goals are comparatively modest,” Shabazz said, observing that other nonprofits, like the Amherst Survival Center and Hitchcock Center for the Environment, had to bring in significantly more money before their new buildings were built.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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