Consultant to aid Amherst businesses hit by pandemic

  • A view of Main Street in downtown Amherst on Saturday afternoon, March 14, 2020. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 3/3/2021 12:31:42 PM

AMHERST — Downtown businesses that continue to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to benefit from a consultant hired through a state grant.

The town and Amherst Business Improvement District recently partnered to obtain a $60,000 Local Rapid Recovery Program grant from the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative that will be used to hire CivicMoxie, LLC, a women-owned planning and urban design company based in Brookline and Woodstock, Vermont.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said in a statement Tuesday that the funding comes through the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

“We are pleased to partner with our business community, and specifically, the BID, to strategize on ways to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a vital and robust business environment,” Bockelman said.

BID Executive Director Gabrielle Gould said in a statement that the business community will be sharing ideas with CivicMoxie for how to make a short-term recovery from the pandemic and outline projects that will enhance commercial activity in the longer term.

“They are an innovative on-the-ground consulting firm whose focus on vibrancy, arts, culture and the business community to engage and invigorate downtown areas is remarkable,” Gould said.

CivicMoxie’s projects have included “Waterfront Bridgeport” in Connecticut, “Envision Concord” in Massachusetts and “Creative Portland” in Maine.

This ongoing consulting work begins about a month before downtown Amherst sees the restoration of outdoor dining areas and the reinstallation of Jersey barriers along the streets to provide protected places for people to eat.

Gould said the BID is already working with Department of Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring and Building Commissioner Rob Morra on the setting up these spaces that were used last summer and fall.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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