Since the University Town of Amherst Collaborative (UTAC) launched in late October, its three subcommittees - Housing, Economic Development, and Culture, Arts & Living - have been meeting regularly with members getting up to speed on past initiatives which may inform their work, as well as identifying opportunities for town-gown collaboration. Below is short update on each of the subcommittees:
Housing: Co-chaired by Dawn Bond, Director of Student Services, Residential Life, UMass Amherst and John Kuhn, Principal,Kuhn Riddle Architects, the Housing Subcommittee has been deeply engaged in foundation work and getting its members fully up-to-speed. The first four meetings have been a survey course in local planning documents, as the group has revisited the U3 Advisors' UMass/Town of Amherst Housing and Economic Development Plan, explored the Amherst Housing Production Plan, UMass Amherst Master Plan, and a review of the Gateway Corridor Plan.
Economic Development: Getting an understanding of the Amherst Zoning Bylaw and learning about UMass Amherst Research projects have been agenda items for the Economic Development subcommittee. The group is creating a list of economic development themes and opportunities and potential town-gown collaboration. The group is co-chaired by Jim Capistran, Executive Director, UMass Amherst Innovation Institute , and Eric Nakajima, Executive Director, Massachusetts Broadband Institute.
Culture, Arts & Living - The subcommittee has developed a town-gown cultural asset inventory and its own wish list of Culture, Arts & Living themes and opportunities for town-gown collaboration. Recently, the subcommittee, co-chaired by Shawn Farley, Marketing Director at the UMass Fine Arts Center and Carol Ross, Media and Climate Relations Specialist, Amherst Together, has begun exploring the feasibility of applying for a grant from the ArtPlace America National Creative Placemaking Fund. The committee plans to bring its proposal before the UTAC Steering Committee at the end of the month.
The Steering Committee next meets on February 29 at 5 pm in Amherst Town Hall. The meeting is open to the public.