UMass Amherst, Town of Amherst Name Finalists for Town-Gown Consultant Contract

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Town of Amherst today announced three finalists for a consulting contract to help develop a joint plan for the town and the university to partner on issues such as housing and economic development.

The finalists have been invited to appear for separate interviews before the full committee at a public meeting on March 4 in the Amherst Room, 10th floor, UMass Campus Center.

The finalists, chosen from five consultants who responded to a request for proposals, are: czb of Alexandria, Va.; Fourth Economy Consulting of Pittsburgh, and U3 Advisors of Philadelphia in partnership with Corneil Collaborative and The Cecil Group.

The selected consultant will assist the town-gown steering committee, which was created in October to oversee development of a plan to address issues affecting the campus and the broader community. The panel will review areas where the town and university master plans coincide, where they may be in conflict and where opportunities may have been missed. They will also look at best practices in other college communities around the country.

The interview meeting is expected to run from 4 to 8 p.m., with each interview to last 50 minutes and be followed by a 10-minute break. The first will be czb at 4, followed by U3 at 5 and Fourth Economy at 6. The interviews are open to the public. While no spoken public comment will be allowed at that time, written comments may be submitted to the committee via email to buffone@admin.umass.edu or ziomekd@amherstma.gov.

During the week of March 10, the committee will hold a follow-up meeting, which will include 30 minutes for public comment. The committee is expected to complete its discussion at that meeting and recommend one of the finalists for the contract. The date has not been set.

The committee recommendation will be sent to Amherst Town Manager John Musante and UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy for final approval.

The value of the contract is not to exceed $60,000.

Town-gown committee co-chair Nancy Buffone, UMass Amherst executive director of external relations and university events, said, “We are very pleased with the high quality of the proposals and are looking forward to the interviews. This continuing collaboration between the university and the town is key to our mutual success and our quality of life.”

Co-chair David Ziomek, Amherst assistant town manager and director of conservation and development, said, “These are quality proposals, and I am confident that the committee will select the firm most qualified to guide our work on housing and economic development issues in Amherst."

In addition to Buffone and Ziomek, members of the panel include Enku Gelaye, interim vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life; Niels la Cour, senior physical planner, campus planning; Steve Schreiber, professor of art, architecture and art history; Andy Churchill, senior research fellow, College of Education; Rolf Karlstrom, professor and chair of the biology department and campus neighbor; Amilcar Shabazz, faculty advisor to the chancellor for diversity and excellence; Savannah Van Leuvan-Smith, undergraduate student; Willis Chen, undergraduate student; John Horvath, UMass police chief; Stephanie O’Keeffe, chair, Amherst Select Board; David Webber, chair, Amherst Planning Board; Greg Stutsman, Amherst Planning Board; Scott Livingstone, Amherst police chief; Tony Maroulis, former executive director, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce; John Kuhn, Kuhn Riddle Architects; Ken Rosenthal, neighbor; and Phil Jackson, neighbor.

Ex officio members include John Kennedy, vice chancellor for university relations; Dennis Swinford, director of campus planning; Jonathan Tucker, director, Amherst Planning Department; and Sandy Pooler, Amherst finance director.

Additional information about the work of the Town Gown Steering Committee and the proposals from the three consultants are available online at www.umass.edu/town-gown.