Friday, December 18, 2015

A Third Of A Loaf?

 Historic North Common now home to the Merry Maple

Even though the state recently turned Amherst down for a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions & Renovations for Communities grant to rehabilitate historic North Common in the heart of our downtown, the project may not be dead.

In a letter to the Community Preservation Act Committee, Interim Town Manager Dave Ziomek proposed putting the $190,000 appropriated last year as (less than) matching funds to the PARC grant still be used for the project, with the balance of the funding coming over the next few years from CPA funds.

 Click to enlarge/read

The CPAC was receptive to the idea, but the consensus was it needed to go back to Town Meeting since their approval last year for the $190K appropriation was based on acquiring the PARC grant for the lion's share of the project costs.

Of course some members wondered if perhaps the Business Improvement District, with its $315,265 annual budget, could shoulder some of the funding.  

The CPA Committee currently has $1.7 million at their disposal, not including the $190,000 set aside last year for the North Common historic preservation project.  Proposed (13) projects for FY17 total $2,125,520.


Bernie Kubiak said...

I think fire suppression systems are too much of a stretch under the CPA, which is intended to promote repair and restoration of historic structures.
There is no inherent prohibition under the CPA for funding churches but funding any non-public building gives the town an interest in the structure, which could make life interesting. If memory serves, the proposed repair/restoration requires review and approval by Mass Historical and may fall under the Federal restoration guidelines as well.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! That common really needs work. It has so much potential.

Anonymous said...

Didn't seem to cause any problem for the Unitarians and their stained glass window (which, btw was part of larger renovations as well.) Of course, that's art not fire supression - but it did pay for a protective plastic shield over the front. And the town insisted it be lit at night from inside so we could all enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

These numbers seem really high. Why can't the town fix up this small part of the Common with $200K? This seems like more than enough. We seems to be on some kind of binge spending -- $500K for some traffic lights, $35K for a sign. Let's live within our means -- and turn back some money to the taxpayers for once. Back to Yankee frugality.

shtarker said...

Where some of the projects are viewed/used by a smallish group of residents, this one is our front door, in a way. It should be a point of pride and a symbol of how we care about our town. I do hope that the money is allocated. And.

I feel strongly that the public should have a chance to donate into this project. Change and dollars can be collected by shops/restaurants. (maybe buy a button?)

the UnCommon Amherst Fund.

Anonymous said...

"Back to Yankee frugality"

Yeah! George Washington and the Pilgrims didn't pay that much for traffic lights. What ever happened to having someone stand in the intersection with an oil lamp yelling "The Traffic is Coming!"?

Anonymous said...

There is going to be a sense of unreality setting in as the schools, the Jones, the DPW, and the Fire Department all wait their turn at the public trough, while there seems to be plenty of money in the CPA coffers.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

Not sure why the common is considered "historic." Not from Amherst so would appreciate a modicum of education. Thanks...