The Evergreens in October
While Town Meeting was somewhat unanimous in agreeing The Evergreens and First Congregational Church are priceless images that bring majesty (and foot traffic) to our Main Street Dickinson Historic District, there was still plenty of discussion about $390,000 in Community Preservation Act tax money for fire suppression systems.
Town Meeting approved $390K for First Congregation Church & The Evergreens
The separation of church and state concerned some with the $200K request from the First Congregation Church, and even more were concerned that The Evergreens is owned by Amherst College, our #1 landowner who sits on a $2 billion endowment.
But supporters pointed out the College is matching the $190K request for The Evergreens and they contribute 15% of the annual operation costs to the Dickinson Museum complex.
Carol Gray in her usual acerbic way reminded Town Meeting that Amherst College was about to demolish the Little Red Schoolhouse to make way for a $200 million Science Center.
Little Red Schoolhouse facing west (Stone dorm in immediate background)
Carol Gray locked and loaded
I voted "yes" simply because I worry that a No vote would have significantly delayed the installation of the sophisticated fire mitigation system, and I know all too well the devastating damage fire can unleash.
And it only takes minutes for the beast to grow unstoppable.
I did however abstain from the individual vote on First Congregational Church because I didn't want to mess too much (by voting no) with God.
Town Hall had sprinkler system installed as part of $4 million renovation 20 years ago
Perhaps Town Meeting was a tad more civil last night (Carol Gray notwithstanding) because we started with cute kids from the Middle School presenting their warrant article to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Amherst Regional Middle Schoolers present to Town Meeting
As the town curmudgeon I usually vote "no" to these, but I figured there was no harm in showing empathy for wrongs committed a long, long time ago. Besides, one of the petitioners is my daughter's BFF.
The article is only "advisory" so it has no real power to influence a Federal/State holiday, but it does send a symbolic message that Amherst is sensitive to the slaughter of innocent people.
The motion passed almost unanimously, to the great delight of spectators in the back of the room -- something not often seen or heard in sedate Town Meeting.
Yes, this is the same legislative body that voted down -- by two thirds vote no less -- my 2007 advisory article requesting the downtown commemorative flags fly every 9/11 for as long as the Republic stands to remember the innocents slaughtered on that unforgettable day.
Maybe I should have had my daughter make the presentation.