HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - Wal-Mart wants to build a Supercenter in Holyoke near the mall.
22News discovered why the Mayor is not supporting this move.
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse denied casinos a chance to come to his city. Now Mayor Morse is opposed to stop Wal-Mart moving in.
Holyoke Gas and Electric owns the land Wal-Mart wants to build on on Whiting Farms Road. Mayor Morse can't stop it, but he doesn't want Big Y to walk away from a project or hurt other businesses.
"As Mayor it doesn't make sense to trade Big Y for Wal-Mart. Big Y has publically said they may not come to Holyoke if Wal-Mart is here. I think Wal-Mart has an unfair advantage and I think we have to protect the residents and businesses that have had a presence in Holyoke for decades", says Mayor Morse.
Wal-Mart spokesman Bill Wertz sent 22News this statement:
"We believe our new Supercenter in Holyoke will have broad community support. It means 300 new jobs and new affordable shopping options to the community. Even Mayor Morse was quoted just last month saying that whether Wal-Mart or someone else builds on the site, ‘ It's important to remember that it's a vacant piece of land that's zoned commercial. It's an opportunity for Holyoke to get jobs and tax revenue.'
The city of Holyoke considered traffic and residential impact three years ago when it re-zoned the property commercial. However, we intend to work with the community to resolve any issues or questions about our project that may arise. In fact, we plan an open house from 6-8 p.m. on August 12 at Holyoke Community College to give interested residents an opportunity to learn more about our plans. Our new store will include a full line of groceries, including fresh produce, frozen foods, meat and dairy products, along with a wide range of general merchandise. There are Wal-Mart's in 47 Massachusetts communities, from Avon to West Boylston, and the positive impact we have had in those communities is easy to see."
Mayor Morse said he is focused the cities innovation district. He also said he would like to develop the land that Wal-Mart is looking at, but with a different partner.