SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Rock 102’s annual Mayflower Marathon is moving across I-91 this year to a new location at MGM Springfield. The announcement was made Thursday morning during the station’s Bax, Steve, and Dave show.
The event, which collects donations for the Open Pantry, was held for more than 20 years in the parking lot of the Basketball Hall of Fame, but the Hall said it could no longer accommodate the event due to “anticipated increased parking needs.”
On the show Thursday morning, host Mike Baxendale explained that a lot of considerations had to be made in order to choose a new location for the event. Baxendale said that they needed to consider what was best for the Open Pantry and the community as a whole. They also had to choose a location that would have adequate electricity, Internet service, and capacity for traffic.
The Mayflower Marathon will be set-up in front of the parking garage, and donors will be able to access the event via East Columbus Avenue.
Last month, State Representative Carlos González met with John Dolvea, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and representatives from Colebrook Realty, Open Pantry, and Rock 102 to determine the future location of the Mayflower Marathon.
In a statement to 22News, Doleva 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, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame
Doleva cites 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.
State Representative Carlos Gonzalez said, “the main goal has always been to raise funds for those in our community who are most in need. Sometimes family members have differences of opinion while maintaining the same purpose. Our commitment to supporting each other and our community endures any difference of opinion, and I am excited that this important fundraiser will continue to serve the people of Springfield and western Massachusetts.”
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.”
The Rock 102 Mornings show spent 52 hours broadcasting from the Basketball Hall of Fame which raised more than $127,000 in food and funds for the Open Pantry in 2021. 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.