Open letter to the Trustees of Cemetery Fields in Amherst

To the Editor:

I would like to publicly thank the Trustees of Cemetery Fields for their integrity in trying to do the right thing with regard to the present controversy.

I am sure they have felt the attacks are personal when people have demanded a portion of Cemetery Fields be left as playing fields and they have been asked to step down. There are many of us silent ones who never write letters to the editor, but deeply appreciate the thankless jobs they and others do to make Amherst a better place. Their many years of service to the community have been exemplary.

My husband and I have been residents of Amherst for 39 years and have consistently supported and voted for playing fields in our town. Our four children grew up enjoying the fields to play in and my husband coached girls soccer and softball teams, so we understand the need. It is not a matter of which is more important: playing fields or cemeteries.

Let’s follow the law! I am appalled that some people simplify the issue to a simple choice of preference. Of course, we want playing fields. But it is my understanding that the Trustees of Cemetery Fields are required to follow the law and the intent of the gift from the owners. To do otherwise would be expensive to the town and the easy way out.

I appreciate their efforts to educate the public of the financial implications if we go the legal route to try to overturn the 1999 Superior Court ruling that the fields must revert to their intended usage in September 2014. Why subject the taxpayers to endless years of legal costs when the outcome is almost certainly to rule in favor of honoring a court ruling and a legal obligation?

For those who voted against the Merrimack Road purchase for playing fields a couple of years back and are now attacking the Cemetery Trustees just trying to do their job – shame on you!