NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Northampton is a destination for tourists because of its specialty shops and an accessible downtown. But it just got a little harder to find a place to sit and enjoy the sights outside.
Last week, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz ordered six benches to be removed from Main Street.
The mayor's office has been receiving complaints from businesses, visitors and residents about people sitting on public benches begging for money and not allowing others to sit.
"My heart goes out to those people. I've been there. I feel for people that do, but I do feel as though it's not the right place. It's a hindrance to business owners, it's a hindrance to people who have an agenda downtown," said Kalifa Martinez of Northampton.
There are 16 public benches along Main Street and the city unbolted and took away six of them; those located near high traffic areas like Thornes Marketplace and Haymarket Cafe.
The benches were moved behind the municipal garage. Northampton resident Brian Jensen, a combat veteran, told 22News that, for him, it's more than just a place to sit.
"The first one was missing in front of the Haymarket Cafe. My routine was to get a coffee sit there, gather my mind, becoming mindful and proceed to draw," said Jensen on Tuesday.
Mayor Narkewicz said they kept the benches near the bus stops and city hall. He says they will evaluate what kind of impact removing them has before putting them back.