HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department is running out of time to decide where to relocate 182 inmates from its Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center, who have to move to make room for construction of the MGM Springfield Casino.
Tuesday night at the Holyoke City Council meeting, it was proposed that a now-vacant nursing home may be a good fit, but it’s not the only option that’s been explored.
Low-risk inmates recovering from addiction need a new place to recover, and the city of Holyoke is considering offering the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke, a nursing home that went bankrupt and is vacant.
The Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center in Springfield has been struggling to find a new location for its inmates. Its Howard Street location is within the MGM Casino footprint in the South End. MGM bought the space the state leased on Howard Street for the correctional facility in December.
They were supposed to out by March 31, and MGM extended their eviction deadline to May 1.
The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department receives about $1.2 million per year for lease costs for the program, and some residents in the city of Holyoke say it could be mutually beneficial financially for both.
Holyoke City Council President Kevin Jourdain told 22News, “I understand that they’ve been approved for a large amount of rent allowance by the state, and this might be a good possible partnership between the city and them.”
Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos has suggested the Econolodge on Burnett Road in his city to temporarily house the program’s 182 inmates recovering from addiction, but it means 17 homeless families will need to move out.
Sheriff Ashe has been talking with Kos and Econolodge, but no decision’s been finalized.
The City Council voted unanimously to move the proposal forward to Mayor Alex Morse.