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Petitioning Executive Director of the Holyoke YMCA Kathy Viens and 2 others

Don't demolish the historic Farr Mansion for parking

The prevailing wisdom in Holyoke, MA is that what is good for the YMCA is good for the surrounding community/neighborhood. In the case of the YMCA's plan for the historic Farr Mansion at 399 Appleton St, this couldn't be further from the truth.

The YMCA has purchased this building from a current YMCA board member with the sole purpose of demolishing it for additional parking. The building was the residence of Herbert Farr, founder of the Farr Alpaca Co., the largest employer Holyoke has ever known. Herbert Farr revolutionized the way workers were treated in the early 1900s. Tearing down this important piece of Holyoke’s industrial past, would be a detriment to Holyoke's future.

The YMCA plan is to create 25 parking spaces because of occasional parking issues, mostly during swim meets. There are alternatives to tearing down this building, but the Y has been unwilling to consider any other options. Local property owners have already offered up parking spots in their own existing, secure parking lots that are less than a block from the front entrance of the YMCA. There are also numerous nearby empty lots and non-historic properties that could be utilized for parking. Local developers have stepped forward offering to negotiate with the YMCA regarding a purchase of the building, but they have been unwilling to discuss the issue.

A key component of the Holyoke YMCA mission is social responsibility by "giving back and providing support to neighbors". The Y's plans would destroy one of the most historically significant buildings on the west side of downtown Holyoke. It would create another parking lot in an area that already has an excess of paved areas. It would lower property values in the surrounding blocks. It would create a non-tax generating property, thus robbing the City of much needed tax revenue. Help us urge the YMCA to maintain their mission and help strengthen the neighborhood, rather than parking on our history!

For more information on the history of the building please visit: www.savethefarrmansion.org

This petition was delivered to:
  • Executive Director of the Holyoke YMCA
    Kathy Viens
  • YMCA Financial Development & Communications Director
    Maggie Bergin
  • Vice President of the Board of Directors
    Barbara Baran


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