Little Red Schoolhouse: Worth $500,000 to move?
Just as a concrete example of how some activists think Community Preservation Act money raised each year by a tax surcharge on all residential property (except tax-exempts of course) free money to be plundered on a personal whim, I give you last night's CPA pubic meeting:
Carol Gray now admits the moving of Amherst College owned Little Red Schoolhouse would cost in the $325,000 to $375,000 range and at the moment she has not raised a single penny towards that (relying instead on CPA historical preservation funds) and currently has no site secured for the relocated building to call home.
Amherst College Facilities Director Jim Brassord was in attendance and pegged the actual amount -- based on quotes from a contractor who already moved two College owned buildings -- as being "North of $500,000." Ouch!
Carol Gray left, Jim Brassord back row in white shirt
I left the meeting near 9:00 PM after Ms. Gray gave her presentation, as she was the 3rd and last item on the agenda.
But Vince O'Connor, who chimed in freely during the three presentations, then commandeered the meeting and gave close to a half-hour pitch to squander $300,000 in CPA funds to rebuild the (supposedly historic) Mill Street Bridge.
Posted agenda for last night's CPA meeting (note Mr. O'Connor's crusade is not mentioned)
Mill Street Bridge closed 3 years ago due to safety concerns
Not to mention the state is planning to rebuild the Mill Street Bridge next year with STATE MONEY.
Mr. O'Connor brought a warrant article to Amherst Town Meeting last spring to reopen the bridge but it failed handily. A vote to "refer back to committee" is Town Meeting's nice way of saying "go away."
Vince O'Connor bridge scheme unanimously rejected by Public Works Committee in April
Back in 2007 the town spent $287,000 in CPA money to preserve the view of the historic Kimball House on North East Street, even though it is (still) owned by Roger Cherewatti, who then built the most expensive house in Amherst immediately behind it.
Which kind of takes away from the view.
If the CPA Committee approves funding either Ms. Gray or Mr. O'Connor tilting at windmills, taxpayer should figure out how to recall appointed members of the committee.