Overview On May 12, 2010, Amherst's Town Meeting approved the purchase of the Hawthorne Property located at 235 East Pleasant Street. The purchase was a culmination of months of work and research by the LSSE Commission, HP/FH Committee, and Town staff, which determined that it was feasible to use the property for recreational purposes and affordable housing-activities eligible for Community Preservation Act funding. Results of the Town Meeting action read:
"VOTED by a declared two-thirds to appropriate a sum of $500,000 from CPA Funds for the purposes of Open Space, Recreation, and/or Community Housing for the purchase of the Hawthorne property (Map 11B, Parcel 54), and, to meet this appropriation, authorize the Town Treasurer, with the approval of the Select Board, to borrow $500,000 pursuant to Chapter 44B, Section 11 of the General Laws or any other enabling authority, and issue bonds or notes of the Town therefore, including any and all costs incidental thereto; to authorize the Select Board, the Town Manager and/or other boards or officers to apply for and receive grants and/or other funds and to execute any and all instruments and agreements to effectuate said purchase; and, further, to authorize the Select Board to acquire said property by gift, purchase, or eminent domain and to accept and/or convey restrictions on said property, all in accordance with Chapter 44B and Chapter 184 of the General Laws. Action taken on 5/12/2010."
Hawthorne Meadow Public Process After purchasing the property for "open space, recreation, and/or affordable housing", the Town Manager requested that the LSSE Commission and the HP/FH Committee jointly hold public meetings to receive input from citizens regarding potential uses of the property as defined by the Town Meeting vote. The public process began in November 2010 with a site visit to the property when citizens toured the land and house. Shortly after the site visit, in December 2010, the LSSE Commission and the HP/FH Committee invited residents to attend a joint public meeting in the Bangs Community Center to hear their comments, suggestions, and questions. This meeting was also an opportunity for the public to hear from Town staff.
The process continues as citizens attend the regularly scheduled LSSE Commission meetings and the HP/FH Committee meetings, and will have the opportunity to attend jointly held public meetings in the spring of 2011. At the conclusion of this Hawthorne Meadow public process in June 2011, the LSSE Commission and the HP/FH Committee will provide the Town Manager with a set of recommendations including the conceptual use plan and program of the property. With guidance from these recommendations, the Town Manager (the Town Government Act confers jurisdiction of town-owned property to the Town Manager) will decide the final uses for the Hawthorne Meadow property.