WHY PRESERVATION MATTERS

"In addition, saving historic places and reusing them must be a cornerstone of environmental sustainability. Nearly half of all greenhouse gases are produced in the construction, demolition, and operation of commercial and residential buildings. We need to find ways that the preservation movement can join the conservation movement to achieve more sustainable communities. For the preservation movement to fully embrace its role in the fight against global warming, we must jettison some of our concern with aesthetics. We must change what we mean by "value" in old places. We need to save and reuse even "ugly" old buildings because demolishing and replacing them contributes to the problem of climate change." Excerpt from "Why Preservation Matters", by Max Page, Yale University Press, 2016

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WHY CHOOSE RENOVATION VS DEMOLITION FOR JONES LIBRARY?

History and Identity

An architect-designed Renovation that would not require demolishing 40% of the Jones Library building for the sake of an unnecessary expansion is important for preserving both the continuity of Amherst's collective memory and our civic identity as a town. Our literary past unfolded in a specific place at specific times, and much of it unfolded or is recorded within the walls of the Jones Library. The Demolition-Expansion would alter many of the historic rooms in the Library, losing our connection with the events that make Amherst unique from other small New England towns. According to Tom Mayes, a 2013 Rome Prize winner in Historic Preservation for the American Academy, "Old places are perhaps the most evocative and powerful tools for us to tell and understand history." Read more at: Why Old Places Matter

The historic significance of the Jones Library in its own right was recognized in 1975, by its inclusion on the Inventory of Historic and Archaeological Assets of the Commonwealth. 

In 1991, the Jones Library's national significance was documented by its inclusion on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places as part of the historic Amherst Central Business District. (This link connects to a page with links to copies of Registration Forms: for the Jones Library use the button; for the Amherst Central Business District use the  button). This District consists of 22 historic buildings on Amity, North and South Pleasant and Main Streets, plus the historic Amherst Common. Additions, deletions, and other proposed changes to the exterior architecture of the Jones Library need to be addressed within the context of its relationship within the whole of Amherst's Central Business District. 

In 2009, The Jones Library was designated a National Literary Landmark, recognizing Robert Frost's role in Amherst's literary heritage and national importance. A bronze plaque signifying its designation as a National Literay Landmark is located at the Library's main entrance. (http://www.ala.org/united/products_services/literarylandmarks/landmarksbyyear/2009/joneslibrary).

  

Environmental Impact

The most obvious environmental impact of the Demolition-Expansion would be the destruction of the mature trees and shrubs that provide important habitat in the Kinsey Memorial Garden. This unnecessary loss of the Garden's mature tree canopy goes against the central tenet of conservation, which values preserving green space to address climate change. The loss of the diverse plantings and mature trees in the Kinsey Memorial Garden and the RARE CONTEMPLATIVE SPACE it provides in downtown Amherst, along with the Garden's role in our social fabric, would come at a very high price that would not be compensated for by the proposed terraced plantings backing up to the CVS parking lot that would take its place. The loss to the Town would go well beyond dollars.

Of equal, if not greater importance, would be the impact of the demolition itself that is counter to preserving old buildings as a central tenet of environmental SUSTAINABILITY. As the above quote from Max Page highlights, preservation plays a crucial role in fighting climate change, while demolition contributes to our environmental plight. The Trustees' Demolition-Expansion calls for demolishing 40% of the Jones Library including all of the 1990s addition. This unnecessary demolition would create 1,660+ TONS or 207+ dumpster loads of demolition debris. Demolishing the well-built brick 1993 Addition, less than 25 years old and just paid off in 2010, goes against the honored New England tradition and environmentally GREEN practice of reusing and repurposing.  SOL took this message (see photo below) to Amherst's Sustainability Festival on April 22, 2017. 

 

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Save Our Library Banner at Amherst's Sustainability Festival

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The Un-Green Demolition/Expansion Plan

Overall, the Demoltion-Expansion treats both historic preservation and sustainable design as afterthoughts It provides no 21st century green energy solutions such as solar panels, LEED certification, and no alternative methods for heating and cooling a larger building. Fundamentally, this plan contradicts Amherst's status as a Green Community. 

                                                    

              NO Solar Panels in The Plan                  NO LEED Certification in The Plan

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