Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saving Miss Emily

 Sun going down on Emily Dickinson

I'm not a lawyer of course, but I do understand English.

And the wording -- especially "perpetual" -- of the legal easement between Carriage Shops owners/Trustees, the late Dick Johnson and Jerry Gates, and the town clearly indicates in plain English that the wall used to paint the historic mural was guaranteed to remain standing and undisturbed ... forever.

Sure, back ten years ago the owners obviously never thought they would sell the entire complex lock, stock and mural.  But a local developer friend of mine told me 30 years ago, "When you own property everything is for sale ... if the price is right."

 Carriage Shops main building from above (Mural on back wall facing West Cemetery)

But when million of dollars are on the table, it's hard not  to be convinced otherwise.  Problem is the town does not stand to gain an immediate windfall, and they do have a legally binding document that should cause major design considerations, or torpedo the lucrative deal.

"The trustees shall not undertake nor permit any activity which will alter or deface the appearance of the mural."  Like, maybe, a wrecking ball for instance?




From the vantage point of her placement high on the wall, Miss Emily looks out over her final resting place and that of her entire family.  In a town brimming with history, West Cemetery is our most hallowed ground.

So too is the mural. 


 
Miss Emily (and Lavinia)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Larry, have you moved up to drone photography?
Nice pictures, you're not planning on arming that thing are you?

Anonymous said...

The mural is a wonderful piece of work and I hope they find a way to either keep it as it is or preserve it. Maybe they can hire a team of Lego experts to take it aprat and rebuild it.

Only shame is the location, many visitors to town have no idea it is even there.

Larry Kelley said...

Yes. And no.

I don't need no stinkin' weapons.

Anonymous said...

Williams Trumps Amherst?

Dr. Ed said...

This is where things start to get really interesting...

Larry Kelley said...

Amherst small town politics is always interesting.

Deborah Tymkowiche said...

Save the mural! It is wonderful...

Dr. Ed said...

No Larry, *really* interesting.

On the level of what would be needed to sell off Cherry Hill for houselots....

Did the town manager have the authority to encoumber the town (in perpetuity) -- and if so, NO ONE can void that, not even via Emminent Domain because he waived that right and hence the town did...

Larry Kelley said...

Looks to me like it was the Chair of the Historical Commission who signed off on this in behalf of the town.

Dr. Ed said...

Was the chair authorized to do so?

If so -- very interesting...

Anonymous said...

Oh please, a wall painted so it faces a cemetery and no one sees it. It's no Mona Lisa. Tear it down and move on.

Dr. Ed said...

A wall that the duly-authorized agent of the Town agreed to leave standing "in perpetuity." A wall that faces a cemetery that was recently improved with a significant amount of public money and which (I presume) is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The only thing missing is a Bald Eagle nest on the roof -- the Town has a mess here because a lot of third parties (starting with the person who painted the mural) would have grounds to sue seeking "specific enforcement" of the "in perpetuity" clause.

Remember the fuss about putting solar panels on the old dump? This is quite a bit more specific than that -- this is an actual easement not unlike, say, the easement that the Town has for sewer lines, including the one that dumps into the Connecticut River.

Except it isn't written like a regular easement -- I don't think the Town can abandon it.

Like I said -- messy...

Dr. Ed said...

People donated to fund that mural -- they'd all have a claim for damages and not just for the amount they donated because they could argue it was an "investment in the community" and that they want the mural preserved, not their money back.

The Teachers' Union donated -- ...

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure only the Select Board can accept/give easements
So 1 signature from someone on the historic commission doesn't commit the town to anything

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed 8:03
Whatever happened to the mess at the old dump with the solar panels, anyway? I moved her last year and heard that the town had signed a deed in the '80's promising it would not develop anything atop the landfill for 99 years, then a few hundred families bought homes there, and twenty years in, the town decided it could ignore the deed.

Good liberal 'eminent domain'? I think they had a bald eagle nest (or some other bird) out there on the landfill too!

Dear god, are we really that fked up??? said...

I say we do

absolutely nothing.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/31/us-usa-obama-foreignpolicy-idUSKBN0GV0TJ20140831


Ponziville's president

if there ever was one.



-Squeaky Squeaks



p.s. Morons.

Anonymous said...

Inside word is that the buyers have hired the original artist to recreate the mural on the new building.