$60,000 town/gown consultant contract up for grabs
Hear ye, hear ye: The joint UMass town of Amherst Request For Proposals, a consultant contract worth $60,000, has just hit the Internet.
The large Town Gown Steering (super) Committee -- made up of heavy hitters from both UMass and the town, hashed out the legal contract over four meetings.
The cost of the consultant is also shared 50/50 by the two superpowers, although the University handled all the final edits and legal issues that go along with issuing a 15 page public document.
The main focus for the consultant will be double edged problems, probably endemic to "college towns": housing and economic development.
Two recent town sponsored housing studies have concluded the lack of student housing drives up prices making it difficult for middle income families -- and impossible for low income families -- to find shelter.
Plus Amherst has an overwhelmingly skewed tax base, as the housing market represents 90% of the total tax base and the commercial sector a pitiful 10%.
With the recent loss of 204 affordable units at Rolling Green Apartment complex the town has now fallen below the magic 10% threshold for Subsidized Housing Inventory and could be (within the next year) subject to a Chapter 40B mega development.