The Town of Amherst’s 250th Anniversary Committee has concluded its celebration year with a surplus and has voted to return the full $25,000 appropriated by the town. In addition, the committee will donate $20,000 to Jones Library’s Special Collections, contribute $1,500 to the University of Massachusetts Amherst Minuteman Marching Band’s building fund and allocate $12,500 for commemorative stone benches to be placed on the Amherst Town Common.
“We’re very pleased to be returning the amount appropriated by the town for the 250th celebration, especially given the full calendar of events and the many commemorative activities held throughout the year,” said Barry Roberts, chair of the 250th Anniversary Celebration Committee. “We appreciated the town’s support of our activities, and we are thrilled that we can return the money in full.”
“There was great support and enthusiasm for supporting both the Jones Library’s Special Collections and the Minuteman Marching Band,” commented Carol Johnson, a member of the 250th Anniversary Committee. “Every subcommittee made use of Special Collections in one form or another during the year to help with their programming or events, and the band did a fantastic job performing during our parade. We wanted to say thank you to these two truly deserving organizations.” Of the benches, Roberts added: “The stone benches will be a permanent commemoration of the 250th that everyone can enjoy, and that seemed appropriate.”
“We are surprised and delighted to receive this donation from the Town’s 250th Anniversary Committee,” said Bonnie Isman, Jones’ library director. “There’s so much work to be done processing and preserving historical materials and scanning resources for online access. The Library staff and Trustees are very grateful for the committee’s support—the committee really deserves a standing ovation for their work.”
Much of the budget surplus comes from a rain insurance policy purchased to cover the 250th Celebration parade on Sept. 27. The policy stipulated that if more than one-tenth of an inch of precipitation fell that day, the committee would be reimbursed $30,000. An independent meteorologist determined that it rained 0.15 inches Sept. 27, even though none of it fell during the parade itself.
The remainder of the surplus comes from sponsorships by businesses, contributions from the public, sales of banners displayed through the town, and other fundraising activities organized by the committee. “Special thanks should go to our lead sponsor, PeoplesBank,” said Roberts.
Commemorative merchandise bearing the 250th Anniversary Celebration’s copyrighted logo—“Amherst, MA: Where only the ‘h’ is silent” also contributed to the surplus. The 250th Anniversary Celebration Committee has turned over ownership of that copyright to the Town of Amherst; the town will receive a portion of future sales of items bearing the logo.
The 21-member 250th Anniversary Celebration Committee recommended to Amherst’s Select Board a year-long program of celebrations to mark the town’s birthday, and implemented many recommendations made by community and committee members. To ensure the broadest possible inclusion of ideas in the planning process, Committee membership was extended to representatives from the Historical Commission, Leisure Services and Supplemental Education Commission, Town/Commercial Relations Committee, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, Amherst Historical Society, Council on Aging, Amherst School Committee, Farm Committee, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst College and Hampshire College, Five Colleges, Inc. and members at-large.