Columnist Gabrielle Gould: Ordering a shot of gratitude

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

I started this writing with intense input on the proposed moratorium on building permits for large projects and the arguments against the Jones Library project, but I deleted that version for two reasons.

First, my office, the Chamber, and several people who have publicly opposed the moratorium and the “Save the Jones” groups have been attacked to the point where one commentator was forced to block a moratorium supporter on all platforms for threatening messages.

More importantly, though, is reason two. I realized my anger is not helping and therefore I switched to gratitude — something we all need more of.

We have made it to a new season and there is more than a little light at the end of this tunnel! I wanted to take a moment to extend some very deep-felt gratitude. If and when you are downtown, you will see that we have returned our outdoor streetside dining.

I need to shout out to several people who made this possible. Benjamin Breger in our Town Planning Department has been an invaluable ally for his work on procuring the stunning locally-made planters for our restaurants.

A big thanks to Guilford Mooring and his Department of Public Works crew for returning public art in the way of safety barriers for our diners, but also for returning them to their exact location from last fall.

Rob Morra deserves kudos for going way out of his way to locate and bring to Amherst 50 outdoor heaters, and Ralph for installing them on a windswept day as Ann and I laid giant “X” marks for where tables will be.

Andrews Greenhouse has filled our community — once again and with more coming — with flora! And to our downtown caretaker, Tyler Page, has kept the town clean. Seeing Tyler on the golf cart with the rakes and the blowers always makes me smile.

Downtown is open and ready for business, vaccines are coming online with speed and efficiency and we enter this spring season with great hope. On this note I need to thank Jennifer Reynolds, Emma Dragon and Mary Beth Ogulewicz for working tirelessly and allowing our essential small business workers to get vaccinated! I had the immense pleasure of helping 74 of our small business community workers get fully vaccinated. This brings “We are all in this together” to another level.

Our businesses are ready to welcome everyone back! To help entice you into downtown, the BID is offering a thousand reasons to keep supporting this spring! Until June 19, for every $20 you spend in downtown Amherst, will receive a green ticket. On July 20, the solstice, we will gather outside on the Common with live music, giant puppets for the kids, and horse-drawn carriage rides. At noon, we will call five winners: four will win $250 each and the fifth will walk away with $1,000.

So please come downtown because you are what we miss the most over this past year! Do so with patience and gratitude for we have all been through a lot. Wear your mask, breath deep and smile wide — we can see it in your eyes!

Gabrielle Gould is the executive director of the Amherst BID.