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Around Amherst: Restaurant week begins



Staff Writer
Thursday, March 09, 2017

AMHERST — With many college students away for spring break, the Amherst Business Improvement District is holding its second restaurant week starting Monday.

Ann Tweedy, marketing and communications director for the Amherst Business Improvement District, said in an email that at least 10 restaurants are participating in the event, which will feature fixed prices, either $15 or $30, for three-course meals

The restaurants participating include newcomers Himalayan Friend's Corner, Balance Amherst and Top Kabab, and others such as Osteria Vespa, Judie's, Johnny's Tavern, The Lumber Yard, Chez Albert, Pasta e Basta and Bertucci's.

Tweedy said that dining landscape in downtown Amherst is changing with more international cuisine, trained chefs and locally sourced and organic ingredients used.

"We feel this is a point-of-pride for downtown Amherst and reflects the growing international community at the colleges and university," Tweedy said.

Local Historic District hearing

A new Local Historic District centered on Sunset and Lincoln avenues will be the subject of a public hearing at Town Room at Town Hall March 16 at 6:30 p.m.

The proposed district, the second following the Dickinson Local Historic District created in 2012, has been endorsed by the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the town's Planning Board and Historical Commission.

The boundaries of the district were recently scaled back, removing some properties along North Pleasant Street adjacent to  Kendrick Park property. Even though these contain historic buildings, they are also in a commercial area of downtown.

At a Planning Board meeting last month, Steven Bloom, chairman of the study committee, said having a new district is essential to prevent the nibbling away of the neighborhood’s look and feel by developers.

But Sarah la Cour, executive director of the Amherst BID, expressed worry that the new district encompasses too many properties.

Planning Board members asked if there would be consistent guidelines to maintain a style when exterior renovations and additions occur on the 200 properties on Sunset and Lincoln avenues, as well as McClellan, North Prospect and Fearing streets. But Bloom said most similar districts don't have design standards

Thomas Ehrgood, who chairs the current oversight committee, said members are focused on avoiding negative change, rather than ensuring strict integrity when allowing exterior changes to buildings, or installing signs.

The study committee was formed in 2014 after the 2012 demolition of an early 20th century barn on Lincoln Avenue affiliated with poet Robert Frost.

Cool town

Amherst recently earned recognition from Expedia's Viewfinder travel blog on a list of "21 super cool" communities in the country.

The editors ranked Amherst 10th, scoring the town on a point system that included factors such as number of museums and art galleries, how young the population is and the number of farmers markets.

"With three colleges in town, the population of Amherst swings toward the young and bright. Indie movie theatres, relaxed cafes, and edgy art galleries are peppered throughout town, where you can mingle with locals (43 percent of whom are ages 20-34) and pick up some tips of the town."

The ranking also cites the town’s low crime rate, the Emily Dickinson Museum and Judie's restaurant and High Horse bar and restaurant as 

Topping the list were Austin, Texas, Madison, Wisconsin and Arlington, Virginia.

Historic windows tour

Grace Episcopal Church historian Ken Samonds will lead a tour of the historic stained-glass windows at the Boltwood Ave Sunday at 12:15 p.m.

The works of William Gibson, known as the “the Father of American painted glass,” include the memorial windows on the north and south sides of the building, the St. Michael’s window and the Chancel window.

It is believed by Samonds that the Grace windows are the largest collection of Gibson-created windows that still exist.

The tour is part of the continuing sesquicentennial celebration at the church.

Hedge work

The Public Shade Tree Committee is holding a clean-up of the hedge along University Drive near Big Y Supermarket Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Volunteers are welcome to drop by to assist with the project.

The clean-up is part of monthly work days that will include tree plantings, beginning at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Amity Street April 8. 

Meetings

MONDAY: Dickinson Local Historic District Committee, 3 p.m., Planning Department library, Town Hall; Select Board, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

TUESDAY: Buildings and Facilities Committee, 1 p.m., Goodwin Room, Jones Library; Amherst School Committee, 6 p.m., high school library.

WEDNESDAY: Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall; La Paz Centro Sister City Committee, 7:30 p.m., Lower Meeting Room, Bangs Community Center.