Around Amherst: Bockelman thoughtful about parking

Staff Writer
Thursday, August 31, 2017

AMHERST — During a recent Cuppa Joe with Paul, residents sat down at Kelly’s Restaurant on College Street to offer Town Manager Paul Bockelman thoughts about how parking is becoming more limited in downtown as more mixed-use buildings rise, the dangers posed by aging trees on North East Street and the need to replace a tattered American flag flying in front of a municipal building.

For Bockelman, the monthly meetings at coffee shops around town get him out of Town Hall into the community to take notes on what people are thinking.

“I find them useful and they’re fun,” Bockelman said.

Most residents, he said, say nice things and are happy to have a conversation.

“But they’re usually more purposeful,” Bockelman said. “People bring up all sorts of concerns.”

He said he can explain to them, in a one-on-one chat, his views and offer advice on how an issue can be addressed.

At Kelly’s, Bockelman was joined by Fire Chief Tim Nelson, after previous events in which he was accompanied by Planning Director Christine Brestrup, Department of Public Works Superindent Guilford Mooring, Assistant Town manager David Ziomek and Police Chief Scott Livingstone.

Afterward, Bockelman said he will speak to department heads about any problems, and also see firsthand, during walks and drives around town, the issues brought up.

While he said couldn’t immediately deal with the concerns related to parking or trees, he did promptly ask for a new American flag.

The next Cuppa Joe event will take place Sept. 15 at a location to be determined.

Electric cars

National Drive Electric Week, encouraging people to buy and use electric vehicles, will be celebrated in Amherst Sept. 9.

The Pioneer Valley Electric Automobile Association is presenting the event, starting at 11:30 a.m., at the Amherst Room in the Jones Library, 43 Amity St., with a screening of the documentary “The Revenge of the Electric Car.”

This will be followed at 2 p.m. with a display of electric vehicles outside the library. These will include Chevy Volts, Nissan LEAFs, Teslas and a Chevy Bolt, and owners will be available to speak to attendees about their experience with these cars.

Free meal on Labor Day

Amherst Community Connections will hold a free community lunch Sept. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Society Meetinghouse, 121 North Pleasant St.

The lunch is one of several holiday meals provided during the year when food is not available at the Amherst Survival Center or Not Bread Alone meal sites. The organization also offers meals on days when inclement weather forces Town Hall to close.

Amherst in England

Former Cushman resident Brian McCullough said in an email from his South Carolina home that he was recently watching a new British comedy show when a photograph of the Amherst Police Station was displayed as the backdrop for a scene.

The Mash Report is described as a topical news satire show similar to The Daily Show on Comedy Central and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO.

In the segment, a Northerner from the United Kingdom is accused of causing fright in London by saying hello to people. When this generic Northerner, Stephen Malley, comes on screen, the video shows him speaking in front of Amherst’s station at 111 Main St.

Tree planting

The Amherst Public Shade Tree Committee will hold a Second Saturday Tree Planting Sept. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon at Colonial Village.

Volunteers are welcome to assist with the planting at the 81 Belchertown Road apartment complex.

A yellow Department of Public Works truck will identify the site of the work.

LEED for UMass building

The renovation of the historic Old Chapel at the University of Massachusetts recently earned it Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Old Chapel, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015, underwent a $21 million renovation. The building now features a first floor used for student study, gallery exhibitions and community events, with the Great Hall on the top floor a place for performances, lectures, receptions and weddings.

Finegold Alexander Architects of Boston designed the restoration. The building is designed to exceed code energy performance by 21 percent and to reduce potable water use by 34 percent, according to UMass.

Other campus projects that were recently awarded certification include the Paige Laboratory Renovations, which earned LEED Silver, and the Integrative Learning Center, which also got LEED Gold.


WEDNESDAY: Downtown Parking Working Group, 10 a.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

THURSDAY: Council on Aging, 9 a.m. Room 101, Bangs Community Center.