Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gateway: out of the gate, off and running

The Amherst Redevelopment Authority had a most productive meeting, including a brief 10 minute Executive Session to discuss property acquisition, that started this evening at 5:00 (instead of the usual 7:00) and wrapped up at 6:30.

ACP Visioning and Planning, awarded the four-month consulting contract only two weeks ago at our March 1st meeting (one of four bidders for the $30,000 contract), already demonstrates one reason they were chosen: A team will be in town all day this Friday for a series of work sessions with town planning staff, including a walking tour of the proposed main corridor (although an exact footprint is still to be determined) and formulating a list of stakeholders to include in the ultra-public process about to unfold.

The ARA is treating the walking tour of the possible impact area as a "site visit," which is a public meeting--so the general public may tag along--but no policy discussions or public comments will take place.

The old "Frat Row" at the main Gateway to UMass, 1.86 acres of prime real estate, is currently the only swath of land that is certain to be included in the final plan. UMass will donate the keystone piece to the ARA after state legislature approval. Senator Stan Rosenberg, one of the state's more powerful politicians, resides in Amherst and graduated from UMass/Amherst, our flagship institution of higher education.

In 2007 Alpha Tau Gamma, Inc. sold the property to UMass for $2.5 million and as part of the deal donated $500,000 the Stockbridge School of Agriculture endowment plus covered the $300,000 demolition/clean up costs. Since they were a private entity, in their final year of existence as infamous party houses they paid Amherst $60,000 in property taxes.

Since the Gateway Project will also be privately owned-and-operated, it could easily generate over a million dollars in annual tax revenues for our cash-strapped municipal coffers. Giddyup!


Dale said...

A million here, a million there soon enough we won't even have to consider overrides. Our schools will get the funding they need, Fire and Police will have the staffing to keep us safe, and the DPW can fix the pot holes LOL!Sounds good to me!

corruption watch said...

Amherst will fuck this up

Bach the great said...

amazing that this is one of the most exciting issues to occur in Amherst and no one comments about it. I guess if the trolls can't get their claws into corrupt school officials or idiotic self serving lincolners, they don't give a shit.

the ex-resident

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, the old "good news doesn't sell" or "If it bleeds it leads" routine.

Anonymous said...

I miss Carol.

When she comes home, she'll shut this thing down. There ain't no plan to expand the tax base that she can't scuttle with a little help from her "small is beautiful", quo-lovin' friends in Town Meeting.

LarryK4 said...

Oh I'm sure she will attend the public hearings down the road via skype on Mother Mary's laptop.

Anonymous said...

Sadly I gotta agree with Corruption Watch...some aggrieved constituency will come along and throw sand in the gears. It's what makes Amherst Amherst.

Anonymous said...

I heard the salamanders are getting ready to picket.

Anonymous said...

larry hates the urodeles, sadly.