Holyoke city council votes to sell former Lynch Middle School - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Holyoke city council votes to sell former Lynch Middle School

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

The John J. Lynch Middle School in Holyoke closed it's doors back in 2008.

Two years later, the school department voted to turn control of the building over to the city.

Since then it has sat empty on the corner of Dwight Street and Northampton Street.

On Tuesday night, the future of the school was in the hands of the city council.

They dabbled back and forth on two options for it.

"One is to return it back to the school department and the other to accept the proposal to have it be a business venue," Councilor Jossie Valentin said.  

In a 9-6 vote, the council decided to sell the property to Miami-based developer, Frontier Development.

Leaving some residents like Linda Larivee upset.

"I think this is a bad deal," Larivee said.

She believes the city would have benefited more by keeping the Lynch School open.

"It's a good school it's only 60 years old so why take it down for something like AutoZone or Dollar Tree?" she continued.

And she's not alone.

Sixteen business owners from the downtown district signed a petition asking the council not to sell the building.

They said they fear a new retail complex on the other side of the city could take away their customers.

"We're very concerned the city is not paying enough attention to the people downtown and are going to invest in another mini-mall on Northampton Street," business owner Kristen Bachler said.  

But officials said the $750,000 sale offer and projected tax revenue will help regenerate some much needed funds that the entire city can benefit from.

"We're at a position where we're at a loss at financial gains in the city and this can been seen as a resolution for something like that," Valentin said.  

"I want to move this forward I think it's an opportunity for taxes and jobs at a school site that hasn't been utilized in five years," Mayor Alex Morse said.

Specifics as to what would fill the space once the school is knocked down have not been released.

However, Frontier Development has proposed a 25,000 sq. ft. shopping plaza with roughly three or more tenants.

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