The Holyoke YMCA is pressing ahead with plans to demolish an adjacent historical building to make way for a member parking lot, after recently rejecting a $55,000 offer from a developer to purchase and restore the mansion.
Holyoke residents and the city preservation board have been fighting back to save the Farr Mansion. Olivia Mausel is the Chairwoman of the Holyoke Historical Commission. Mausel says “We have a case where they think they can call the shots and they just don’t want to engage in any other option for this property.”
Mausel says the Farr mansion, the former home of one of Holyoke’s first industrialists, is an important part of the city’s historical legacy. According to a local campaign to save the Farr mansion, local property owners have offered up parking in their own secure lots, less than a block from the entrance to the YMCA. Mausel says the Y wasn’t interested. YMCA officials say members don’t feel safe walking around the neighborhood.
Kathy Viens, the Executive Director of the Holyoke YMCA, told New England Public Radio in an email “the Y believes that the health and physical and mental well-being of our community members is the most important need of our members and guests, more valuable than a physical structure.” She re-iterated that “anyone interested in moving the structure at 399 Appleton should contact us, but the property is not for sale.”
This story was written and reported by David Chang.