HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Holyoke City Council voted Monday night to allow Miami-based Frontier Development to buy Lynch Middle School for 750-thousand dollars. Some residents weren’t happy.
“The Lynch school is only 60 years old and it’s in good shape. I think it should stay as a school,” said Linda Larivee of Holyoke.
School Superintendant Sergio Paez originally opposed the retail development, but now says he can build a universal pre-k program and a bilingual Spanish emergence program without Lynch Middle School.
So now the council is creating a development plan.
“The overall vision is to create something that’s similar to the Thorne’s Market Place. More boutique type shops as opposed to box store development,” said Rebecca Lisi of the Holyoke City Council.
Now that Lynch Middle school is definitely going to become a retail space, a lot of business owners in downtown Holyoke say, they’re a little concerned. 16 business owners delivered letters of protest.
“A lot of business owners are really afraid that if retailers go in, that they will lose business because it’s a new store, it’s uptown, let’s just go there,” said Kristen Bachler, the owner of White Rose Book Store in Holyoke.
They also fear since the new development will be right off 91, cars will hop off to shop there, and then just hop right back on the highway.
Dwight Street, which is the exit off 91 to go to this proposed development is pretty much the corridor to go to downtown, so if we compliment this development with what’s happening downtown, it’ll only help downtown,” said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.
While downtown business fear a loss of customers, they still hope the project will bring in money for the city, and for their shops as well.
The city now has to formalize the deal with Frontier Development.