SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Basketball Hall of Fame will no longer host the Mayflower Marathon in it’s parking lot after 28 years.
For more than two decades every November, the Mayflower Marathon has taken place in that parking lot but this year, organizers are on the hunt for a new location after the Basketball Hall of Fame said it could no longer accommodate the event due to “anticipated increased parking needs.” Rock 102’s Mayflower Marathon is a huge community-driven event that raises money for the Springfield-based Open Pantry.
In a statement to 22News, John Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball of Fame, said they have been pleased to offer the space at no charge for more than 20 years. To explain the change, the decision states:
“As a ‘landlord,’ the Hall of Fame’s first obligation is to make certain that our tenants needs, including adequate and convenient parking, are met. The growth in our tenant base and the very positive organic growth of existing tenants has made this change necessary.”John Doleva
Doleva sites this business growth as a positive for the city of Springfield but there has been a lot of backlash to the decision, which was first discussed nine months ago.
Rock 102 radio host Mike Baxendale told 22News, “I’m not sure I understand the real justification for it, because the Hall of Fame only has one new tenant right now and plenty of parking, including a garage below the Hall of Fame that is underutilized.”
That new tenant, The Place 2 Be, recently took to Facebook stating, “We did not express any concern about this event to the Hall of Fame, its management, or anyone else.”
Officials from the Basketball Hall of Fame specifically stated to 22News that The Place 2 Be is not the reason for this action and that this was a business decision made at the property management level to protect all tenants.
While this space is no longer available, organizers of the Mayflower Marathon state that they are exploring all their options and have gotten many generous offers to host the event. Organizers say they are firmly committed to the Mayflower Marathon and hope that despite the change in location, this year raises the most for the Open Pantry to date.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and State Representative Carlos Gonzalez have also made appeals to the Basketball Hall of Fame to reconsider this decision. Representative Gonzalez had a meeting Wednesday afternoon with the Basketball Hall of Fame about the subject.
“As the Representative of the people, I want to thank all parties in advance for being willing to engage in a conversation to negotiate and find a solution that benefits all parties. Building consensus opens doors and I’m excited for the opportunity for us to set a good example here,” said State Representative Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said all parties have agreed to reengage in conversation to find a solution. A meeting will take place on or before August 10.