Monday, August 9, 2010

A template of possibilities

clockwise: Peg Roberts, Larry Shaffer, Aaron Hayden, John Coull, Jonathan Tucker

The Amherst Redevelopment Authority along with Town Manager Larry Shaffer and head planner Jonathan Tucker took a roadtrip on Friday as a fact finding mission for the proposed Gateway Project in partnership with Umass to develop the former "frat row" into a mixed use commercial development with high-end student housing, thus seamlessly connecting our downtown with the main campus.

Like Amherst MA, Hanover NH is dominated by one major higher educational institution: Dartmouth College. Although compared to Umass, their total student population of only 6,000 seems dowright intimate.

Interestingly Wikipedia describes Hanover as a "rural town." I found their downtown to be larger and more vibrant than Amherst town center. and I also noted a distinct lack of vacant storefronts and a lot of construction underway.

Hanover Town Hall cloaked under cover of ivy

But their Town Room was spacious and well cooled. Town Manager Julia Griffin far left.

Perhaps because of the involvement by Dartmouth College, who owns a large stockpile of commercial property and housing for students and staff--all of it on the taxrolls.

Yes, downtown Hanover even has a hardware store, situated in a building owned by the college (actually the entire block) where the rents are below market rate because they understand that a lively downtown requires a good mix of offerings.

Mixed use block (retail on ground, housing above) owned by Dartmouth College in town center
And they even have a hardware store!

And all of the soon to be proposed Gateway Project would be on the taxrolls.

The ARA meets this coming Wednesday night and we will discuss in open session what we learned on our one-day summer vacation.


Anonymous said...

Could not imagine having to spend the day with that crowd.

Anonymous said...

My family and I have visited Hanover, NH many times over the years. It is a beautiful, vibrant town that is inviting. From the time you cross that beautiful bridge, you just want to see more, spend more time there and visit longer. On the other hand, even as a resident of Amherst, MA, I go out of my way to shop and spend my money elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Amherst learn from the experience of another community?

Don't make me laugh.

Anonymous said...

"and spend my money elsewhere."

Then you will get more of the same because Amherst will be forced to cater only to students that do shop here.

Anonymous said...

If only Amherst would allow a Prozac super-store. Call it "Big P". Fly a huge American flag out front, upside down.

LarryK4 said...

Now, now. Don't go giving them any ideas.

Although...the Select Board has been off the hot seat recently due to the Library Trustees fiasco.

Anonymous said...

"Although...the Select Board has been off the hot seat recently due to the Library Trustees fiasco."

Not for long.

Anonymous said...

The part of Don Quixote is played by Larry Shaffer.

His trusty sidekick, Sancho Panza, is played by Jonathan Tucker.

There are no more impossible dreams than the one for future sanity on the topic of development in Amherst.