HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – There’s hope to convert the now-closed Mount Tom Power Plant for a new use. Holyoke residents found out Wednesday night they have some obstacles to overcome.
It’s been nearly 5 months since the Mount Tom coal-fired power plant shut down for good. Wednesday night, nearly 100 Holyoke residents gathered at the Senior Center to brainstorm new ideas for the facility.
“We can make this a viable business again on the tax rolls. In addition we hope it can be done in a way that’s environmentally responsible,” said Josh Knox of Holyoke.
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center just launched a new study of the site.
‘”Right now what the consultants have really been working on is a deep dive into the current site conditions. So, what’s there, what regulation issues might present themselves, conservation issues,” said Matt Kakley of MassCEC.
There are some issues with the site one being that railroad tracks run right through the property. There’s also coal ash on the property which is an environmental concern, rare species that are required to be protected, not to mention, the site is prone to flooding. That means the property required special permits for any construction. Still, some residents are just happy the coal plant is closed.
“I think Holyoke is going to be healthier. Easthampton is going to be healthier. Just in terms of the long-term planning for our community we want to see clean green communities and less pollution,” said Kim Finch, an Asthmatic resident.
The site is privately owned. Residents are hopeful it can become a clean energy facility, using either wind or solar power. There are two more public meetings before any decisions can be put into motion.