SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – With the Eastfield Mall set to close in July, there is one group that’s especially going to miss it, mall walkers.
There’s actually a walkers club at the Eastfield Mall, and with the building set to shut down, they want to know where they can take their next step. A Thursday morning at the Eastfield mall can sometimes be quieter than the library, except for the sound of footsteps.
Jim Ellithorpe has been walking in the Eastfield Mall for 52 years, every single day, and that’s why finding out the mall would close in July, was tough to hear, “Better than sitting on the couch being a couch potato,” Ellithorpe says.
Springfield City Councilor and Elders Affairs Committee Chair Victor Davila , hosted a meeting with the walkers. He’s hoping they can keep the tradition going, “We’re going to be making some phone calls to some other suggestions of properties where we can temporarily house the walking club.”
In the decades, this club has overcome a lot, including a couple of years ago, when they had to survive COVID. Bill Boulanger walks five to six miles most days of the week, and while he understands that the world needs to move forward, he’s going to miss the connections he’s made through this club, “I was walking outside, I wasn’t walking enough. I missed my friends here.”
Boulanger adding, “I need to know that I’m wanted, and that I have somebody that I can talk to other than my family at home. I enjoy talking to my wife and my family but I enjoy talking to other people and strangers also.”
In the mean time the mall walkers are thinking about meeting at the Dunkin Donuts down the road, and walking at Hillcrest cemetery to keep the tradition going.