AFD on scene Mullins Center
Just as "party houses" should not disrupt the tranquility of a neighborhood so taxpayers have to deal with the mitigation mess, neither should UMass allow the Mullins Center to host concerts that swamp our emergency medical services.
Take last night for instance: AFD and four other surrounding towns had to provide ambulance transport for 19 patrons of the Tiesto concert directly from the Mullins Center to Cooley Dickinson Hospital and two more from UMPD jail to CDH.
Yes, none of them were UMass students. But the Mullins Center is owned by the UMass Building Authority, sits on UMass land, cost taxpayers $50 million to build (with six digit annual operation losses), and pays no property taxes to either Hadley or Amherst.
Back in 2000 the Hadley assessor tried to partially tax the facility arguing that Ogden Entertainment was a private company and rock concerts had nothing to do with higher education.
The Appelate Tax Board found against the town of Hadley saying Ogden was an independent contractor "merely providing contractual management services". Since certain type of concerts -- techno for one -- seem to produce a high number of ETOH (alcohol overdose) calls, Mullins Center does pay for one ambulance to stage on site.
But after the last fiasco, also a Thursday night, Chief Nelson talked them into contracting for two ambulance crews on standby. Last night required five.
Dancing Peeps. Dehydration and alcohol make for a lousy mix.
When mere entertainment taxes our vital services so heavily, it's time to get serious about solutions: Maybe the Mullins Center needs to start dancing to a different beat.
UMass will be so proud