APRIL 28, 29 & 30, A Community Visioning Exercise - On the evenings (6:00-9:00 p.m.) of April 28, 29 and 30 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), the Amherst Redevelopment Authority and ACP Visioning & Planning Ltd. will hold a community visioning exercise for the Gateway Corridor project. All meetings will be held at the Large Activity Room of the Bangs Community Center in downtown Amherst.
The Gateway Corridor project is a joint initiative of the Town of Amherst, the Amherst Redevelopment Authority (ARA), and the University of Massachusetts. The Gateway project proposes the redevelopment of an approximately 1,800 foot stretch of North Pleasant Street. The preliminary concept would extend the northern end of Amherst’s downtown business center to meet the UMass campus, connecting the two with a mixed-use corridor that includes housing, diverse commercial development, lodging, parking, and extensive roadway and streetscape improvements.
Before Amherst can embark on the redevelopment of an area, however, the community needs to decide how much area the corridor will include, what kinds of uses the corridor should contain, what it should look like, and how it should work. Through the efforts and funding of the Amherst Redevelopment Authority, the Town has obtained the services of a consulting team led by ACP Visioning & Planning, Ltd., the same firm which worked with the community on development of the Amherst Master Plan.
The community visioning exercise will proceed as follows:
Thursday, April 28
6-9 p.m. - Public Visioning Workshop – The public workshop will take place in the evening and will consist of: a public presentation, interactive work at tables in small groups, and presentations of results by participants.
Friday, April 29
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – The Consulting Team and Town staff will work to organize the results of the Public Visioning Workshop.
6-9 p.m. - Open House – The Open House will be an ongoing participatory event scheduled for the evening. There will be ‘pin-up’ presentations at several different locations within the meeting space, and participants will interact with the team as they review the information presented at each location.
Saturday, April 30
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – The Consulting Team and Town staff will further refine the public vision based on responses at the Open House.
6-9 p.m. – Public Meeting – This meeting will take place in an assembly format. The Consulting Team will present the results in terms of a draft community vision for the Gateway Corridor project, and will solicit community feedback.
Final Vision & Next Steps - Following the conclusion of the visioning exercise, in May and early June the Consulting Team will work with Town staff to further refine the Vision and develop Action Steps to take the project forward. These will be submitted to the ARA and the Town for internal review and comment. Following receipt of comments and further refinement, in June the Consulting Team will present a Final Vision and Action Steps to the community at a joint public session of the Redevelopment Authority, Planning Board and other Town boards and committees.
Following completion of the community visioning part of the project, the Town and ARA will pursue implementation of the Action Steps, which are likely to include further study of the area and the development of new zoning which would allow the community’s vision for the corridor to come into being.
The Gateway Corridor project seeks to implement important aspects of the Amherst Master Plan by emphasizing infill, redevelopment, and compact mixed use development which takes advantage of existing services within or near Amherst’s centers.
For more information, such as upcoming ARA meetings, maps and other information, please go to the Amherst Redevelopment Authority webpage.