Amherst to rehab historic Town Hall doors

  • The Amherst Town Hall’s front doors will be refurbished soon. John Phelan/via Wikimedia

Staff Writer
Published: 9/26/2019 10:30:53 AM

AMHERST — Less than 25 years ago, Amherst Town Hall underwent a $3.2 million renovation project that overhauled the building’s interior, repointed the exterior brick and added a street-level handicapped accessible doorway on Main Street.

Despite all the work on the 1889 building that began in 1997, one element of the Richardson-style Town Hall that didn’t change was the arched main entrance on Boltwood Walk, which continues to feature granite steps leading to large, heavy double doors.

With deterioration to these doors and their surrounding framing evident from a recent inspection, Amherst is about to embark on a project to rehabilitate what appears to be the original entrance to the building. Town Manager Paul Bockelman said this week that the front doors and the structure around it will both be removed in the coming months for the rehabilitation project.

Although the town has no cost estimates yet, Bockelman anticipates the town has enough money set aside for the project, which must go out to bid. 

During the work, Bockelman said, people will be able to continue using the doorway, which will mean installing temporary ADA-compliant doors with a plywood surround.

When the work is finished, the original entrance will look much the same as it has, with the same doors. Bockelman said the weight of the doors are a concern for some visitors.

“One complaint we hear is that the doors are heavy,” Bockelman said.

But the renovation will mean improved door hardware, he said, and likely a button people can push that will provide an electric assist to open the doors.

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

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