Michael Diamond: Town needs to finish Amethyst Brook bridge 

Published: 01-04-2023 11:33 AM

The rebuilding of the main bridge at Amethyst Brook has been stalled for many months. The main bridge, leading to all paths, was destroyed during an epic storm in 2017, during which trees and 500-pound ice boulders were swept down stream, crushing the bridge and leaving a scene akin to the ice age. Resources are available for the rebuild. At best, administration and oversight by the Conservation Committee and Amherst town government is lackluster. Make no mistake, Amethyst Brook is a shrine, living testament to the power and beauty of nature, easily accessed everyday by all of God’s creatures; children, adults, families, dogs, babies, seniors, those with special needs, runners, bikers, hikers ... The enjoyment of this sparkling community refuge has been enhanced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And no, the deer, black bears, bobcats coyotes, raccoons, owls, hawks, ravens, chipmunks, voles and squirrels do not wear masks or get vaccinated. The money for a new bridge was donated by a generous person and frequent user two years ago to honor a family member.

Last spring the new bridge’s 75-foot stanchions were delivered by tractor to the field, with community gardens, next to the brook. The remnants of the old shattered bridge were removed. The area around the near bank was cleared and then leveled. All on-site work was accomplished in a week. And then nothing for months. Rumors swirled. The design was not rugged enough. The person responsible for seeing through construction felt the bridge was unnecessary.

Town hall had other priorities. No known communication has been posted to users.

We wait for a bridge that accesses one of the most beautiful parts of this stunning conservation area; one that is flat, wide, surrounded by pines, maple and oak, perfect for kids play, dog play, and walking. It is surrounded on three sides by running water and a falls. Stationed 200 yards from the parking area, this peaceful space is free of roots, rocks and other obstacles and therefore supports people with movement handicaps. It accesses all main trails, including the Frost, and significantly, it regulates the traffic flow so that people and dogs can easily navigate around each other. The project needs to be finished. The town manager needs to do his job if others are not.

Michael Diamond



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