Around Amherst: First standalone restroom coming to Kendrick Park

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WEB ONLY 

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 07-05-2024 7:37 PM

AMHERST — Downtown Amherst’s first standalone restroom could soon be installed at Kendrick Park, close to a playground that opened in August 2021 as a way to activate the 3.3-acre common at the north end of downtown.

The Planning Board recently approved the site plans and special permit, with conditions and findings, for placement of the Portland Loo, a prefabricated restroom that will be put onto a concrete slab. The restroom is part of $1.8 million in infrastructure improvements supported through American Rescue Plan Act money.

Bob Pereint, the town’s special capital projects coordinator, said the single unit, unisex bathroom will be adjacent to and about 10 feet from a new sidewalk at the park.

“It seemed to be an ideal location for a restroom,” Pereint said. The restroom will serve the park and the families that use the playground, as well as others who come to the site, and those visiting nearby businesses that have activities into the evening.

The Portland Loo will be identical to one in Greenfield near its skate park, and the city of Cambridge has several, Pereint said. The Design Review Board previously examined the project.

Public safety officials were also informed. While the restroom is fully private, passersby can tell if multiple people are inside or if someone has fallen and needs medical attention.

Planning Board member Jesse Mager said the restroom is being placed in an open area, rather than tucked into vegetation and trees, and board member Fred Hartwell wondered if it should be closer to the play area. “It’s quite a walk from the active playground to where this is positioned,” Hartwell said.

But all members supported it. “This is what good design looks like. I’m very positive about this,” member Bruce Coldham said.

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“It seems like there’s a need and this is a product well designed for that need,” said member Johanna Neumann.

Kendrick Park was created after 11 homes on the site, between East Pleasant, North Pleasant and Triangle streets, were relocated or demolished through 2007. It’s has been most familiar to the public as the site of the annual Boy Scouts Christmas tree sale.

Book sale coming

The League of Women Voters of Amherst is preparing for its annual book sale, which will be held July 26-28 and Aug. 3-4.

Before the sale can take place, the league will be collecting books at the Fort River School gym at 70 South East St. from Friday through July 15. Volunteers will be there from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

Volunteers are also being sought to sort and organize the books during those times. Those who volunteer will be encouraged to take home one free book for every stint.

200th anniversary at South Congregational Church

Following Independence Day events on the Fiddler’s Common and the reading of Fredrick Douglass’ “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” on Friday, the South Congregational Church is celebrating the rededication of its steeple and bell.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, the church community, neighbors and invited guests will participate in the rededication, followed by a picnic lunch. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting Chris Mortensen at office@amherstsouthchurch.org. The church meadow will be open for walking throughout the day.

Then, on Sunday, at 10 a.m. will be a reunion worship service led by Rev. Jim Latimer and the Revs. Fran Ruthven, Caroline Meyers and Vanessa Cardinale, followed by a 200th anniversary cake and a bicentennial group photograph.

Dalai Lama birthday

The Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts is celebrating the 89th birth anniversary of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, through a series of community service activities and cultural events in Amherst, Leverett, Hadley and Northampton.

The community service starts with lunches in Amherst on Friday from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the Amherst Survival Center, 138 Sunderland Road and Saturday at noon at Not Bread Alone, 165 Main St.; a dinner Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at Cathedral at Night on Main Street in Northampton; and a take-and-eat meal program July 14 in partnership with Most Holy Redeemer Church, 120 Russell St., Hadley.

Cultural celebrations on Saturday include a Sangsol prayer offering at the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett at 8:30 a.m., a noontime birthday celebration at Most Holy Redeemer Church, and concluding with an outdoor picnic at Mill River Recreation Area on Montague Road in Amherst at 3 p.m.

Jones Library knitting and crocheting

Knitters and those who crochet are invited to participate in a nine-week series of meetings at Jones Library through August to make hats for a cause.

Every Monday from 10 a.m. to noon through Aug. 26, knitted and crocheted hats will be made for babies and children who are in need, then distributed through a variety of organizations. The group is facilitated by Pam Ledoux.

Patterns and yarn will be available, though people should bring their own needles and hooks. Hats in sizes preemie through adult are welcome and people can drop finished hats at the reference desk at any time.

For more information, contact Janet Ryan, head of programming and outreach, at 259-3223.

Meetings

MONDAY: Jones Library trustees, 9 a.m,.

TUESDAY: Jones Library Personnel, Planning, and Policy Committee, 9 a.m.; Disability Access Advisory Committee, 11:30 a.m.; Public Shade Tree Committee, 5:30 p.m.; Community Resources Committee, 6:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: Conservation Commission, 7 p.m.

THURSDAY: Zoning Board of Appeals, 6 p.m.