As North End residents continue to fight against the Western Mass Correctional Alcohol Center from moving into their neighborhood, Western Mass News went to Holyoke today and spoke exclusively to residents who live near the facility where the center is operating temporarily.
There were a lot of initial concerns about the correctional alcohol center moving into the former geriatric authority building in Holyoke, but on Tuesday, residents report there haven’t been any problems, but they’re still living cautiously.
“We were a bit shocked when we first heard because we had no inkling that that’s how they were going to use the facility,” Michael Clark, who lives across the street from the building, said of the center moving in to the vacant location. “What happens if somebody gets out? How do you notify the community? Do you notify the community?”
These questions are similar to the fears North End residents have about the possibility of the center moving into their neighborhood.
“Those are our homes,” they shouted at a meeting on Monday. “We feel we were violated.”
The center moved to Holyoke after it was forced to leave its South End location to make room for MGM Springfield.
“I think if people were to come and see what it looks like here, it might help them,” Ray Drewnowski, who lives nearby the Holyoke location, said. “Crime hasn’t gone up, people are living their lives.”
There was some confusion on Monday as to whether or not a lease has been signed for the Wason Avenue property.
Rich McCarthy, spokesman for Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe, told Western Mass news the developer had not signed a lease, but rather a site selection.
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