At this evening's cordial meeting the Amherst Redevelopment Authority confirmed the upcoming public outreach orchestrated by American Communities Partnership designed to bring in opinions from ALL the stakeholders--not just those with backyards abutting ground zero.
Planning Director Jonathan Tucker declared anyone who shows interest in the Gateway Project is a stakeholder and will eventually be heard. If they can't make the intimate small group (up to ten people) meetings on April 12, 13 and 14, they can send "public comments" via mail or email to the planning department who will then forward to the consultant.
But ARA grande dame Peggy Roberts pointed out, they should be thinking of what would be overtly acceptable not just for now, but for the next fifty years.
While those initial three days of stakeholder interviews are by invite only and are not open, public meetings, the information gleamed will help set the agenda for the three-day charrette at the end of the month: April 28, 29 and 30th.
These meetings are wide open with the first one an all day affair--the design visioning workshop. On day two the consultants and town staff try to synthesize the input from day one and start to draft a vision, and on day three try to sharpen the vision focus.
At a joint meeting of the ARA and Planning Board sometime in mid-June the final draft from the consultants will be unveiled and in the last two weeks of their contract the consultants will be available for any final tweaks.
With the visioning process completed and a "desired outcome" targeted, the next vital phase consists of the action steps required to actually get us there. And in Amherst, the hardest part is overcoming the usual response: "you can't get there from here."