Letters to the Editor – April 21, 2016

Trustees have legal, ethical responsibility to public

To the Editor:

The Amherst Land Trust, as a 501(c)3 corporation, owes an honest response to recent defamatory emails and letters to the editor about the Joshua’s Park project. We owe this not only to our accusers, but to our members, supporters, donors and the general public for whose benefit the trust exists.

Every one of us has had our integrity impugned by the recent attack. This is in spite of the fact that no trustee of the land trust is compensated, and every member has volunteered countless hours and contributed significant cash gifts to make the park possible. Most of us, like most members of the public, know the disappointment of losing a beloved open space to a subdivision or a shopping center. That’s why the trust exists. That’s also why the law provides a process that controls and regulates development. In the Joshua’s Park project, on Courthouse Road in Amherst, we followed this process meticulously – in fact, with extra care, since several trustees also sit on the Amherst Planning and Zoning boards, and wanted to be sure that the integrity of the permitting process was above reproach. In designing Joshua’s Park, we undertook something extraordinary – to preserve not woods and trails but an historic farm, to create a recreational space to benefit the full spectrum of the citizenry. We put together a plan that fulfilled the best interests of Amherst residents, the wishes of the selling landowners and the vision of major donors. We are now bound to efficiently spend the money of the more than 425 individuals and organizations who have contributed funds, materials and labor for the project. As trustees, that is our legal and ethical responsibility.

We cannot in good conscience spend a penny of the donations intended for the development of the park to mollify an aggrieved abutter – who in other circumstances would be facing a new house instead of a park. We invite anyone who cares about the project to learn the facts at JoshuasPark.org or to contact the President, Sally Wilkins. Thank you for your continued support.

Sally Wilkins, Chair Amherst Land Trust Addie Hutchison, Vice Chair Bill Birchard, Secretary George Bower, Randy Chapman, Suk Harvey, Jim Hendrix, Ron Houle, Gordon Leedy, Jamie Ramsay, Wes Robertson

Thank you for help, support of 2016 NRWA auction

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Nashua River Watershed Association and the Auction 2016 Committee, we would like to thank everyone whose support made NRWA Auction 2016 a success. We appreciate the broad and enthusiastic response from the hundreds of individuals and businesses throughout the watershed who participated in donating items or services, bid in our online auction or attended the auction gala. The success of this event was made possible by each and every one of you. The proceeds from the auction will support the NRWA’s work to protect water and land and to provide environmental education programs in our 32 watershed communities.

Your involvement has made it clear that you understand the need to protect the natural resources of our watershed now and in the future. Thank you again!

Judy Larter and Mary Dacquino Auction 2016 co-chairs and NRWA Directors