AMHERST – An ongoing debate over a sign -- which has been both an historical marker and a recent point of contention -- reached a turning point this week.
In a meeting with “Save Our Sign” activists Joan Rosenbusch and Matt Nahorn, Amherst Mayor David Taylor said that he would not return the “Amherst Sandstone Capital of the World” sign to its longstanding place in front of City Hall.
“There’s a beautiful view of City Hall without the obstruction (of the sign),’’ Taylor said. “There are two signs in front of City Hall about Amherst being the sandstone capital of the world now.”
Taylor said he would be happy to have the sign moved to another locale in the city.
The sign, which was taken down to make way for road construction in January 2012, stood at the corner of Milan Avenue and Main Street since 1915, according to Rosenbusch, a genealogist who researches the history of Amherst.
When the sign was taken down initially, Rosenbusch said, she understood that it was necessary to do because of the construction. However, when a year went by and the sign wasn’t returned, she got worried.
“We really thought it was going to be a simple thing,” she said.
Rosenbusch and other members of the community began attending Council meetings, talking to the mayor and holding vigils while waiting to hear a final decision about whether the sign would be put back.
“We didn’t want to cause any trouble,” Rosenbusch said.
However, when no word came, Rosenbusch and Nahorn met with the Taylor on Monday who told them that he would be open to moving the sign but would not put it back in front of City Hall.
That wasn’t what they wanted to hear.
“It means a lot to a lot of people,” Rosenbusch said. “Would the Statue of Liberty look the same if it were in Manhattan?”
Following the mayor’s decision, Rosenbusch and other members of “Save Our Sign,” will continue to talk to supporters and protest the decision to keep the sign from City Hall. However, Rosenbusch is concerned that Taylor won’t change his mind.
“I think he’s made a decision he’s not going to back down on,” she said.