HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Despite reaching its liquor license limit, Governor Patrick granted Holyoke 13 new liquor licenses to attract new restaurants to the city. It’s in an effort to boost business, and revitalize downtown, something residents say is much needed.
“Looking past city hall you look down you see a closed down warehouse, or if you look up, you’ll see buildings that aren’t being used for anything,” said Marie Luna, of Holyoke.
Any restaurants interested in the license will pay a one time fee of $10,000. The city plans to use that money for more economic development projects. Both city officials and residents hope new restaurants create more jobs in Holyoke.
“There’s always a lot of people looking for work and it could keep a lot of kids out of trouble, the ones coming out of high school or college,” said Jessica Hillard, of Holyoke.
City Planning and Economic Development director Marcos Marrero told 22News they hope to boost nightlife by having restaurants commit to staying open later. That raises a red flag for one resident, who didn’t want to be identified.
“It’s going to create more violence, you know opening late night, for what? We don’t need that. We just need more streets safe in the city,” she said.
The city said these new licenses will not impact the value existing liquor licenses, because they can be neither sold nor transferred. The Redevelopment Authority is now working with the License Board to create a business model for future restaurants.