HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - The YMCA in Holyoke has proposed tearing down an old historic building to give their members more places to park but some people in the neighborhood aren't happy with the plan.
Some people like the history the building holds while others worry about how a parking lot would impact the neighborhood.
This home appears old and dilapidated but according to Holyoke Historical Commission the Farr family, who used to live here many years ago, played a huge role in the city's history.
"The impact of this family and operation was huge on the future and current Holyoke," said Vitek Kruta, an Historical Commissioner.
Now, the Holyoke YMCA, which owns the property, wants to tear down the house to provide more parking for their members.
Something many in the community take issue with, and have started a petition drive.
"I think it would make the neighborhood more automotive friendly which is not what we're looking for here. I think buildings like this one contribute to a walkable friendly feeling to the neighborhood," said Holyoke's Stephen Bosco.
Leaders at the YMCA declined an on-camera interview, however they did say this isn't a done deal yet and they are considering all proposals that come into them.
The YMCA told 22News in a statement that they currently don't have enough spaces for their 45 hundred members, and this would be a safe location.
The city's historical commission put a 6 month demolition delay on the project. They're hoping to convince the YMCA to sell the property or somehow preserve the building.
"The historic buildings are the fabric of the city and tearing down this particular building would create a huge gap in that fabric," Kruta added.
The demolition delay expires in December.
Below is a statement from Kathy Viens, the CEO, Greater Holyoke YMCA:
"The Greater Holyoke YMCA is proud to call downtown Holyoke home and has for over 127 years. As the Greater Holyoke YMCA continues to grow and thrive, meeting our community's current and future health and wellness needs continues to be our primary focus. With this growth, our members are constantly expressing their frustration at the need for more, safe off-street parking. Our current number of parking spaces is not enough to serve our 4,500 members during peak hours.
Over 25%-one in four people-in the Greater Holyoke community struggles with unhealthy weight and the accompanying health issues such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our mission-based organization supports and welcomes all. We've evaluated many options to address the need for parking so people can improve their overall health. This solution is ideal as it is adjacent to our facility across a not too busy street and within eyesight of our main entrance. This is especially important for aging adults and families with young children.
The Y looks forward to continuing our conversations with the Historic Commission."