HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Last Thursday morning, Holyoke residents left their homes after the old Essex House Hotel partially collapsed on High Street. Tuesday night, they finally heard some answers in the City Council meeting.
8 of the 9 families have been staying at a nearby hotel, and 22News now knows they could be there for the next 3-5 weeks. Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse said it’s time to stop playing the blame game, and help the people of Holyoke.
“They don’t care who did what. They just want to make sure they can get back into their homes. Jose just wants to make sure he gets back into his business. We want to make sure we can open back high street. So for us, it’s about how we move forward,” Mayor Morse said.
The Essex House Hotel stands 8 stories high. Over the next 3-5 weeks, contractors will be working to tear down the top 3 floors. After that, residents can move back in. Until then, the Holyoke Board of Health will be paying for their hotel stay.
Business owners were also at the City Council meeting and spoke with 22News about what this new timeline means for them. M.D. Beauty Salon owner Maria Ferrer relocated her business back in April, fearing the old hotel could come crashing down.
Ferrer said it’s been a struggle ever since. “Definitely, you have some loss in the business because the customer can lose track of where you are and it’s kind of tough for any business that had to relocate.”
Right now, High Street is still closed between Essex and Appleton streets. Mayor Morse said he’s looking to secure emergency funding from the state and federal government.