Please support the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s COVID-19 coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities. If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate.

Thank you for your support of the Gazette.

Michael Moses, Publisher

Party trashes Mill River Recreation Area

  • Amherst Town Hall

Staff Writer
Published: 4/20/2016 1:57:52 AM

AMHERST — A daylong permitted party at Mill River Recreation Area on Sunday left it inaccessible for other people, created significant noise for nearby residents and ended with piles of trash and other debris abandoned on site.

“I am beyond appalled at what happened Sunday,” said Nancy Sardeson, of 115 State St., who formally filed a complaint about the sanctioned party with the Select Board on Tuesday.

Observing that she has been through Blarney Blowouts and Hobart Hoedowns in the past, Sardeson said this event was more intense for her neighborhood.

“I have never heard a party that loud all day long,” Sardeson said. “The Hoedown doesn’t even compare to what this was.”

While she called police twice, responses did not shut down the party until 8 p.m., and by then there was garbage, hundreds of beer bottles and bags of marijuana and tables and chairs strewn about at the site that has ball fields, basketball courts, walking trails, as well as pools open during the summer.

“Clearly the decision-makers of this community fell asleep on Sunday,” Sardeson said.

Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek said he and four employees of the Department of Public Works spent nearly five hours, beginning at 7:30 a.m., cleaning the recreation area on Patriots’ Day. The DPW workers will be paid overtime, Ziomek said.

The town’s Leisure Services and Supplemental Education department issued a permit for use of the pavilion, but did not anticipate that the gathering would grow in size, Ziomek said.

“They had no idea 500 to 1,000 would come,” he said.

Police logs show that officers made their first response to the Montague Road site at 3:38 p..m. Sunday, when traffic was blocking the entrance. At 7:04 p.m., a warning was issued to the DJ playing loud music, and the final response was at 7:58 p.m., when the DJ shut off the music and announced the party was over.

While the Select Board did not immediately respond to Sardeson, in a written report it received from Peter Hechenbleikner, the town’s interim town manager, he described the party as one that “overwhelmed the size of the park,” and added that it caused damage, that illegal parking hindered emergency response and there was illegal use of alcohol on site.

“This event points out the need to have a comprehensive permitting system for all public property, and to share information and approval for these permits among all stakeholders,” Hechenbleikner wrote.

Hechenbleikner said in his report that he would find out who was responsible for the party and ask them to reimburse the town for the costs of cleanup and any repairs.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy