The Jones Library
The Jones Library Building & Facilities Committee this morning voted unanimously to request the Board of Trustees at their June 4th meeting adopt the town owned Civil War tablets and install them in the library as part of the upcoming renovation/expansion project.
Amherst Town Meeting approved $65,000 in Community Preservation Act money in 2009 to have the six large marble tablets professionally cleaned, lettering restored and then crated for safe storage and transport.
Originally the town wished to display them in Town Hall but found the flooring was not strong enough to support the weight of the tablets; and building climate controlled weather proof cases for outside would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Assistant Town Manager Dave Ziomek attended the meeting this morning confirming the town was "still very committed to putting them on display, and using the Jones Library makes all the sense in the world."
He went on to say a simple Memo of Understanding could be drawn up maintaining town ownership of the tablets but giving the Jones Library "permanent loan."
The funding for installation could come from the state renovation grant, which would cover half the cost, or if that is not an allowable expense the town would apply for Community Preservation Act money.
The Jones Library is now in active discussion with the Strong House aka Amherst History Museum next door for purchase of land to facilitate their proposed expansion. But this commitment to display the Civil War tablets is NOT dependent on that deal coming to fruition.
Stirring news for this Memorial Day weekend.
"Sacred Dead" tablet with names of all 57 Amherst residents who gave their "last measure of devotion."