Around Amherst: Holiday free parking is back

Staff Writer
Friday, November 24, 2017

AMHERST — Free parking returns to downtown Amherst for the holiday season beginning Saturday.

At the request of the Amherst Business Improvement District, the Select Board recently approved free parking at all meters and in all lots on Saturdays through Dec. 23.

BID Executive Director Sarah la Cour said the free parking ensures people can shop, dine and go to the Amherst Cinema, as well as attend other events, without worrying about getting tickets for expired meters.

The free parking begins as the BID launches several holiday events, including the holiday window decorating contest, with businesses invited to put displays in their windows.

Last year Zanna on North Pleasant Street created winter wonderland, featuring a portrait of Emily Dickinson and her famed white dress, that earned it the top prize.

A number of businesses are expected to compete and will have their windows decorated prior to Dec. 1, when voting on the BID’s website begins.

The winner will get an advertisement placed in the Gazette.

New commissioner

David W. Williams of Rolling Ridge Road has been named to the Amherst Housing Authority’s commission in a joint decision by the remaining four commissioners and the Select Board.

In a 7-1 vote, Williams, was selected over Barbara Steinmetz, a resident an Ann Whalen Apartments and member of its tenants association, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Peter Jessop, who left the board Sept. 1.

Williams, a retired educator, will have the position until the March 27 election, when he can choose to run for reelection. Williams is also a member of the board of directors for A Better Chance, Amherst, and chairman of the board of deacons for the Alden Baptist Church in Springfield.

Williams told the Select Board during a public interview earlier this month that affordable housing needs to be a focus, as well as ensuring opportunity for all to access housing.

“I believe I have the skills and maybe understanding of some of the major issues we’re confronted with as a country and society, not only in Amherst, with affordable housing,” Williams said.

End of Life Options

Though Town Meeting recently endorsed the End of Life Options Act that is making its way through the state Legislature. support wasn’t universal at the final session.

Peter Vickery, a Precinct 2 member, said not allowing taking of life is a “valuable taboo” in society and should be preserved, while Frank Gatti of Precinct 8 said he worries about the ethics involved.

But others spoke in favor of the resolution, including Patricia DeAngelis of Precinct 6, who said she saw three friends go through with terminal illnesses and that they should have had the right to choose how they wished to die.

John Coull of Precinct 2 agreed that people in pain should have more say over how they live out their final days. “A little control over that seems a small thing to ask,” Coull said.

Millstone display

A millstone was recently placed on the entrance island at Mill River Recreation Area.

Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek said the millstone was found at his parents’ long-time home on Montague Road and was given to the town.

He noted that the North Amherst area once had several mills powered by the Mill River.

Dickinson heirloom apple

An apple tree at the Homestead at the Emily Dickinson Museum is again producing fruit, with the apples that are picked from it bearing a new name.

The fruit will now be known as the Dickinson Sweeting apple variety.

Orchardist Francis Martin nurtured the older apple tree back to health over the past year.

The name was selected following three polls, including ones done by email, Twitter, and in person on Nov. 2. With 143 votes, Dickinson Sweeting narrowly beat out Sweet Emily Dickinson, with 140 votes, and Amherst Sweet, with 109 votes.


MONDAY: Jones Library Budget Committee, 11 a.m., Goodwin Room, Jones Library; Amherst Housing Authority, 4:30 p.m., fifth floor lounge, 33 Kellogg Ave.; Complete Streets/Traffic Calming Subcommittee, 4:30 p.m., conference room, Department of Public Works; Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Policy Subcommittee, 6 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall; Historical Commission, 7 p.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall

TUESDAY: Amherst Cultural Council, 4 p.m., Amherst Room, Jones Library; Design Review Board, 7 p.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall.

THURSDAY: Amherst Cultural Council, 4 p.m., Amherst Room, Jones Library; Zoning Board of Appeals, 6 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

SATURDAY: Four Towns Meeting, 9 a.m., middle school library.