Citizens for Holyoke is a grassroots organization that will advance policies which enhance community well being and prosperity, while opposing policies and influences that negatively impact Holyoke’s future.
Holyoke, Massachusetts is a city with a proud history of prosperity that includes a 100-year period during which the great wealth generated here was wisely invested in the community. Holyoke provided employment for tens of thousands of workers, thereby, providing opportunities for generations of Holyokers, including wave after wave of immigrants, to learn, aspire and thrive. Holyoke’s wealth provided for fine public and private buildings, beautiful public spaces, wonderful neighborhoods, arts & theater and some of the finest public schools in the country. Much of this legacy in terms of our energy infrastructure, our natural resources and world class housing stock, remains intact.
As a legacy city Holyoke struggles with the consequences of the loss of its industry and inability to identify and nurture new engines of economic development and prosperity. The city has moved from one of the wealthiest communities in the country to the poorest community in Massachusetts. Holyoke faces considerable headwinds as it aspires to become a city with a robust growing tax base, stable neighborhoods, good schools and safe streets.
It is at this moment that we recognize Holyoke’s nascent potential as a result of proximity to major urban centers, energy infrastructure, natural resource base and existing buildings suitable for urban agriculture. It should also be noted that to date our city government has acted with reasonable prudence with regard to debt obligations, while effectively seeking external investment to improve quality of life, such as residential redevelopments, the Canal Walk, the refurbishment and expansion of the Holyoke library and Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC).
Given our relative progress it might appear that our situation is sustainable. However that view is fundamentally incorrect as we are now at a point where basic services are in disrepair, major sources of tax revenue are being called into questions and initiatives to expand our debt obligations are not being thoroughly vetted. The most immediate issue at hand is the impact of the opioid crisis in terms of both strains put on city services, public safety and the impact to our tax base. It is for this reason that we have commenced the No On Yale campaign to raise the visibility of this issue and the broader related issues facing Holyoke.