Amherst announces major capital program

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST  Amherst is going to be a very busy place over the next five years after the town released an ambitious $20-million capital plan as part of its budget.

The plan is just that and no decisions have been made on what projects will go ahead in which years, but it gives the town and taxpayers a snapshot of whats going to be a busy construction period.

Weve done a complete inventory of all our capital assets including every street, every water line, every building and every piece of equipment. With sewer and water lines and streets, weve developed a criteria that when it gets to a certain condition that we should talk about replacing it, town manager Greg Herrett said.

This is the first time the town has completed an extensive capital plan. The town only approved the first year of the plan when it brought down its budget earlier this week.

Herrett said the capital plan puts these potential projects on the radar screen for the future and allows the town to do its planning with them in mind.

Planning ahead is not only good practice, the town manager said its also something thats required by the new gas tax agreement in which federal gas tax revenues will be used to support infrastructure projects at the municipal level.

Theres a requirement with the gas tax agreement by year three or four to provide a capital improvement plan, Herrett said. Part of the plan is a longer term capital needs list.

The capital budget approved for this year includes $1.79 million for the second phase of the stadium renovations. Other projects include the paving of Rogers Avenue and Abbott Street and completing the curb on Oceanview Drive. The town also plans to complete the sidewalk on Robert Angus Drive from the Dairy Queen to South Albion Street.

Next years proposed capital budget includes a number of major paving projects including South Albion Street along with the third and final phase of the stadium project.

Construction of an $8-million sewage treatment plant highlights the third year of the capital plan while a new police station, valued at $3 million, is the biggest item in the fourth year of the plan. The fifth, and final, year includes a new rescue pumper truck for the fire department, valued at $450,000.

Geographic location: South Albion Street, Rogers Avenue, Abbott Street

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