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Planned 'sensory center' at new Amherst playground has a name

A planned feature of the new playground in Amherst's Billy Wilson Park will be a nod to the park's original name, and put to rest an old controversy.

The Town Board on Monday agreed to name the "sensory center" after Margaret Bernath and Louise Kindel. The center is described as an area geared toward kids on the autism spectrum and may include a water feature, musical instruments and quiet refuge from noise when it is built in 2019.

Former Councilman Bill Kindel was the prime mover in transforming the old municipal dump into a park in 1989 and he named the park in memory of his mother, Margaret, and paternal grandmother, Louise.

A fuss erupted in 2013 when a suggestion was made to change the name to Hopkins Road Park to better identify the park's location. Officials settled on renaming the park after Army Staff Sgt. William R. “Billy” Wilson III, an Amherst native killed in Afghanistan.

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