Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Steering A New Course

The Town Gown Steering Committee met this afternoon, appropriately enough, in the "Amherst Room" on the tenth floor of the Campus Center, bringing together 22 committee members that reads like a "who's who" of heavy hitters.

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy

And to top it off Chancellor Subbaswamy and Town Manager John Musante attended the inaugural meeting.  Although the Chancellor left early with the parting comment, "May the Red Sox win, and may our students celebrate peacefully."

Co Chairs David Ziomek and Nancy Buffone (center)

The committee is charged with developing a Request For Proposals to hire a consultant (for $60,000 or less) who can create a blueprint for mutually beneficial action steps each partner can undertake to deal with growth and change.

Problems that need to be addressed include the creation of more (taxable) student housing, economic development and the quelling of rowdy student party houses in residential neighborhoods.

8 Qualifications for Town/Gown Consultant

The Committee will issue the RFP by December 1, review the proposals and interview finalist through January, and award the contract by February 1.  Over the following three months the Committee will continue to meet and hold public forums with a completion date of May 1st for a new joint Master Plan.

This Steering Committee follows in the wake (with many of the same members) of the successful Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods Working Group that crafted a precedent setting Town Meeting approved (by super majority) "Rental Registration and  Permit Bylaw" that goes into effect January 1st. 


Tom McBride said...

At least the university and town are talking. And nobody can say that issues and disagreements won't continually arise, but there's no magic bullet. The university is really large. I don't know if anybody noticed that. And that's not going to change. If somebody doesn't like the way things are, writing to Beacon Hill isn't a bad start, whether it will help or not, because that's where it all starts.

Anonymous said...

Was Dennis Swinford at this kickoff? He developed the UMA Master Plan, which touches on many of these town/gown issues.

Larry Kelley said...

Yes, and Jonathan Tucker his counterpart on the town side.

Anonymous said...

Funny this committee reminds me of those groups of DPW workers you see in every town. 4 guys standing around and 1 working. Only in this case it is 22 people sitting on a committee telling a consultant to do the work. You would think with the collective brain power and educational levels that the committee itself might be able to figure something out.

I guess it is as I have been told, people high up in Amherst gov or politics don't like to make decisions. They like some consultant to tell them what to do. That way if it all goes bad you have the consultant to point the finger at.

Wish them all the luck in the world but I don't see anything useful coming out of this group for some time.

Anonymous said...

Bright blue shoes really; seems a bit much?