Marge Amster, who has served Brookline as the Commercial Areas Coordinator since 1999, just announced she will elect early retirement. Also a resident of Brookline for over twenty years, Amster’s last day as Coordinator will be Friday, October 21.
Acting as a liaison and communication facilitator between Brookline’s governmental and commercial organizations, her efforts are credited with the emergence of the Coolidge Corner Merchants Association and the resurgence of the Chamber of Commerce. Her work has been instrumental in facilitating events such as First Light and BrooklineHub.com’s Youth Awards, as well as fostering community involvement in creating a workable parking permit policy for the town.
While there have been on-going rumblings by some members of the Town Advisory Committee about the Commercial Areas Coordinator position over the years, Ms Amster is very gracious about the impact of political agendas upon her decision. She cites her long-time interest in promoting mathematics competency, particularly for girls, as a significant factor in her decision to leave the Department of Economic Development. In the mid-90’s she ran a competitive math league for 5th & 6th grade students. The team saw great success, even winning a trophy for the town, and Ms Amster was able to see student’s attitudes about math and their abilities change significantly as a result of the experience. The enthusiasm she witnessed at meets, for example, was in sharp contrast to many people she had met over the years who held the belief they were “not good” at math. This perception, Amster feels, “actually has a life-changing effect – for instance people decide they could never be doctors or engineers or scientists because they can’t do the math. ” For some time, she has wanted to do something it.
Last spring, an opportunity to do just that presented itself. Ms Amster was introduced to two Cambridge nonprofits involved in similar issues, and the meetings resulted in an opportunity to address math competency. While the specifics of her new role are still formulating, Ms Amster is enthusiastic about taking this next step and looking forward to the challenge.
The same reaction to Ms Amster’s departure is echoed fairly consistantly thorughout the business community. Dana Brigham, owner of Brookline Booksmith commented, “this will be such a huge loss to all of us, but what a fabulous change for [Amster]”. While Sheri Gurock, owner of Magic Beans feels this is “very sad news for the business community in Brookline, ” she is very appreciative of the extra mile Ms Amster has always gone over the years.
While the prospects for Ms Amster are very exciting, there are few areas in the town that will not feel her absence keenly. Her enthusiasm and dedication has on more than one occassion forged connections between goverment agencies and the community that would otherwise not have existed. Brookline, as a whole, has benefited greatly from Ms Amster’s work.
~ Catie Hayes, Editor