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New Events:

Ward 5 Update for May/June 2024

Hi Everyone:

1) Installation of traffic light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
Finally! The long-awaited traffic light was installed on June 4rth!

2) Ward 5 Spring Clean Up:
Thanks to everyone who completed the clean-up on Rt, 202 Westfield Road from Westfield line to the top of Apremont. This is a dangerous area with a lot of traffic and this clean-up is greatly appreciated!

3) Ballot Questions for November 5th 2024:
  A. CPA ballot question to change the CPA surtax to 1% from 1.5% will be on the ballot on November 5th. in the Finance Committee once again. If you vote YES, the rate will become 1%. With the costs of everything increasing and home values increasing over 10%, this is one opportunity to have a say on what you are paying in the tax surcharge.

  B. A binding question to change Treasurer from elected position to appointed position will be a special ballot question on November 5th. If you vote yes, the position will be appointed instead of elected.

4) Orders filed in response to citizen concerns:
  • 64. Vacon- ORDER: that the law department issue a compliance letter to JB Hunt company regarding the need to comply with the truck restriction hours on Homestead Avenue.
  • 65. Vacon- ORDER: That lights be added to the STOP sign (and a larger stop sign be placed) at the Keyes & County Rd. intersection to increase visibility. There have been accidents at the Keyes/County and (Whiteloaf/Southampton) intersection.
  • 66. Vacon- ORDER: Please clear the obstructed traffic signs on County Rd (intersection sign) and Westfield Rd (going toward Holyoke). They are overgrown by tree branches and constituents are requesting they be cut back.
  • 67. Vacon- ORDER: that temporary speed humps be place on Apremont Highway near Dupuis to help slow traffic. Constituents have requested traffic calming in the area.
  • 68. Vacon- ORDER: please cut back brush on Lower Westfield Rd next to the union building. This is a constituent request. Sent from my iPhone 69. Vacon- The City of Holyoke amend Zoning Ordinance section 4.3(A)(8) to require a special permit prior to granting permission for this use in all residential districts in the City of Holyoke and no longer allow the use as of right; the special permit is to be issued by the City Council or the Planning Board only after a public hearing.
  • 82. Vacon- ORDER: trim the low branches on two city trees across from #88 Meadowbrook Rd. The low branches are hitting vehicles and causing drivers to move into the wrong lane.
For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page
Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

Recent Events:

CITIZEN'S FORUM

Meet with Linda at Dino's Pizza, Homestead Ave.
Monday, May 20, 2024
5:00 p.m.

Topics:
  1. City Council Updates-Budget-Treasurer question
  2. Traffic Light at Apremont & Westfield Rd
  3. CPA ballot question
  4. PVTA meeting 5/22/24
  5. Questions, concerns & comments
  6. Other issues as requested - please email me so I can provide accurate information.
VIEW/PRINT Forum Minutes [PDF]

Holyoke to offer "how-to" presentation On obtaining Certificate of Inspection

HOLYOKE - The City's Building Department on Thursday,May 23, at 6 p.m. will give a presentation on the steps required to obtain a Certificate of Inspection. The presentation - a short tutorial followed by Q&A - will be held at Holyoke Media on Suffolk Street.

Though open to the public, the one-hour session is designed for owners, property managers, and landlords of all multi-unit buildings with 3 or more units.

Over the past several months, the Holyoke Building Department has sent out over 500 letters to property owners who do not possess a current Certificate of Inspection, as required in the state building code. Most recently, letters have gone out to hundreds of owners of 3-family buildings. For most of these owners, that notification was the first they had heard of such a requirement.

The code stipulates that it is up to the property owner to apply for and obtain this certificate. The letter advises that there is a fine for non-compliance. The letters were sent as a courtesy to the property owners to remind them of the requirement. The May 23 presentation is intended to guide as many property owners as possible of the necessary steps to come into compliance and avoid penalties.

Information: Holyoke Building Department, 413-322-5600.

Past Events:

Ward 5 Update for April 2024

Ward 5 Update for April 2024

Hi Everyone:

1) Installation of traffic light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
As of this writing, I have no further update and we continue to wait for the installation of the mast arm for this traffic light. It is due before the end of June 2024.

2) Ward 5 Spring Clean Up:
One Holyoke helped out by placing Rt, 202 Westfield Road from Westfield line to the top of Apremont on their project list for a cleanup. The Sheriff Dept. may have been asked to assist as this is a very dangerous area with the two lanes and high speeds of traffic. I am happy to report that the clean- up happened this month and it has made a huge difference and been noticed by many!

3) CPA Surtax Petition for Ballot Question on November 5, 2024: Public meeting May 7th at 7PM
A petition signed by more than 130 registered voters calling for the reduction of the CPA surtax to 1% from 1.5% to be placed on the November ballot was received at the last City Council meeting. The meeting called for and required in our City Charter is scheduled for May 7th at 7PM. This matter has been before the City Council for two years and it requires seven votes at City Council to move it on to the ballot. Mayor Garcia has indicated he will not veto the ballot question this time when/if the City Council passes it.

Because the CPA was originally placed on the ballot by the City Council, the City Council must approve of the ballot question in order for citizens to vote on this tax issue. 7 City Councilors have blocked the voters' ability to vote on this tax surcharge. If you believe city councilors should support your right to vote on this tax, please call the following Councilors, below, who have voted No on your ability to have this question on the ballot so far:

  • Tessa Murphy-Romboletti 519-0564
  • Jenny Rivera 539-3377
  • Kocayne Givner 650-2979
  • Juan Anderson-Burgos 561-561-5454
  • Meg Magrath Smith 535-7500
  • Israel Rivera 552-9350
Please let them know you want the ballot question to be voted on this November 5th.
Patti Devine recently sent an email indicating she will now vote to put the reduction of CPA to 1% from 1.5% on the ballot

On May 7th you can attend in person or on zoom if you wish to speak at this public meeting regarding your right to vote on the CPA surtax.

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page

Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

Ward 5 Update for March/April 2024

Hi Everyone: I hope you are doing well!

1) Installation of traffic light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
As of this writing, we continue to wait for the installation of the mast arm for this traffic light. It is due before the end of June 2024.
The contractor is having a new mast arm manufactured that will fit on the already constructed base.

2) Ward 5 Spring Clean Up:
In late April, One Holyoke has placed Rt, 202 Westfield Road from Westfield line to the top of Apremont on their project list for a cleanup. The Sheriff Dept. may be asked to assist as this is a very dangerous area with the two lanes and high speeds of traffic.

3) Possible Ballot Question topics for November 2024:
  A. CPA ballot question to change the CPA surtax to 1% from 1.5% is in the Finance Committee once again. It is expected to be taken up in April. It requires seven votes at City Council to move it on to the ballot. Last year it was approved and the Mayor vetoed it. Mayor Garcia has indicated he will allow it on the ballot this year when/if the City Council passes it. Because the CPA was originally placed on the ballot by the City Council, the City Council must approve of the ballot question in order for citizens to vote on this tax issue. 7 City Councilors continue to block the voters ability to vote on this tax surcharge.

  B. To change Treasurer from elected position to appointed position will be debated at the next City Council meeting on April 2nd. A point of discussion is who will have the appointing authority. A stated goal is to merge the Treasurer position with City Collector, currently appointed by the City Council, so it makes sense to make the Treasurer appointment by the City Council. Others argue that the Mayor should appoint the Treasurer. City Council has already delegated day to day supervision and coordination of financial departments to the Mayor and our Charter indicates the Mayor is the top Financial executive for our city. I support the change from an elected to appointed Treasurer due to a long history of unresolved issues with that office. I support the appointment to be made by the City Council to ensure a balance of power between the executive and legislative branches of our local government.

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page
Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

CITIZEN'S FORUM

Dino's, Homestead Ave.
Monday, February 12, 2024
5:30 p.m.

Topics:
  1. City Council Updates
  2. Pending projects in Ward 5
  3. Questions, concerns & comments
  4. Other issues as requested-please email me so I can provide accurate information.
VIEW/PRINT Forum Minutes [PDF]

Ward 5 Update for January 2024

Hi Everyone: I hope 2024 is going OK for you so far.

1) Installation of traffic light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
The contractor is now having a new mast arm manufactured that will fit on the already constructed base. This change will result in a delay for completion of the installation possibly as late as the end of June. It has been reported to me that this will not result in any additional cost to the city.

2) Gloutak Park:
Constituents have asked about upgrades to the playscape at Gloutak Park and I reached out to our Parks and Rec Director. The park has been evaluated and some painting of the pillars and benches will be completed in the spring, but the play scape has been found to be safe and sound for use at this time, so is not eligible for a full replacement. There will be consideration of possible additions to the playscape.

3) Ward 5 Clean Up:
A big thank you to Ryan Allen, Karen Spear, Andrea, & John! Concerns had been brought to me about litter and trash in certain areas including Lower Westfield Road from CVS and the Plumbers building to Devonshire and the bus stop. On Saturday January 6th, before the snowstorm, our team of 5 spent a couple of hours and filled quite a few trash bags! Before and after pics are on Facebook at the Holyoke Ward 5 community forum page and my Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor fb page. DPW provided bags and One Holyoke provided grabbers.

4) Ward 5 Spring Clean Up:
Stay tuned for the spring! In April, One Holyoke has placed Rt, 202 Westfield Road from Westfield line to the top of Apremont on their project list for a cleanup. The Sheriff Dept. may be asked to assist as this is a very dangerous area with the two lanes and high speeds of traffic.

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page
Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

Ward 5 Update for December 2023

Hi Everyone: I hope you enjoyed your holidays and wish you a Happy New Year!

1) Tax Rate Hearing:
As a result of the hearing the tax rates were set at $18.95 per $1,000 for homeowners and $40.26 for commercial and industrial. This will result in a tax bill increase of $228 for the average home owner with property valued at $246,060.

2) Sewer Rate:
At this time the sewer rate remains at $7.50

3) Installation of traffic light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
I understand the contractor is seeking an extension of the contract completion date past 12/31/23 due to the need to make corrections for the installation of the mast arm that holds the lights.

4) Recycling Information:
Please see info at:
See info here

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page
Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077


Second Ward 5 Update for November 2023

Hello Everyone:

1) Installation of Traffic Light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
The electrical connection has been completed, however there is a delay for the installation of the mast arm due to an issue with the footing that the contractor is working to correct. I will send an update when I know an estimated completion date.

2) Ward 5 Safety Projects:
  A. A request has been made for engineering to evaluate for the need for a traffic light in the Tokeneke Whiting Farms Road area.   B. Repairs continue on Homestead Ave. More collapsing catch basins are being repaired.

3) Sewer Rate:
My position is that we should pay for city wide services such as street sweeping through the general city budget and I continue to support the lowest rate needed to keep the fund balanced. Veolia has provided one cost estimate for the street sweeping that is provided city wide. This will be discussed in the Finance Committee on Monday December 4th.

4) Tax rate hearing:
The hearing to review city values and the amount needed to pay for the budget took place on November 28, 2023. As of now, the average residential tax bill, if the tax rate remains the same would increase by approximately $180.00 because over 1M was cut from the proposed supplemental budget. If more spending is added, this will increase further.

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

Ward 5 Update for November 2023

Hello Everyone:

Thank you, VOTERS, for giving me a solid win on election day! I will continue to provide constituent service to the best of my ability to ALL residents of Ward 5. Thank you for the opportunity to serve!

1) Installation of Traffic Light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
Looking forward to the installation of the mast arm for the traffic light at the top of Apremont Hwy at Westfield Road. Please be very careful in the area while construction continues.

2) Ward 5 Safety Projects:
Traffic calming and evaluation for traffic light at Tokeneke and Whiting Farms Rd:
Our engineer determined that Whiting Farms Road and Cherry Street were two of the top three areas needing traffic calming interventions. There was to be a citywide plan developed, but the engineer has recently accepted a new position. Once a new engineer is hired, I will follow up to see what can be done in these areas.

3) Sewer Rate:
We understand that Veolia is working to determine the street sweeping costs to back out of the rate increase because it is a city-wide service. My position is that we should pay for city wide services such as street sweeping through the general city budget and I continue to support the lowest rate needed to keep the fund balanced. Hopefully we will have more information so that we can vote on the rate.

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

Second Ward 5 Update for October 2023

Hi Everyone: Election Day is November 7th. Please vote!

1) Installation of Traffic Light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
Installation of the traffic light at the top of Apremont Hwy at Westfield Road is happening now. Please be very careful in the area while construction is occurring. Traffic routing is changing daily as different portions of the project are completed.

2) Crosswalk at Mc Mahon School: COMPLETED!
Thanks to many voices helping me to follow up on the crosswalk that City Council had approved, a new crosswalk was recently painted at McMahon School at Kane and Knollwood. This greatly improves the safety for our students and parents and our dedicated crossing guard!

3) Ward 5 Safety Projects:
  A. Overgrown brush and trees impacting intersections and roadways:
As you are sending me locations needing attention, I am reaching out to DPW to have the area cut back. Please let me know of areas that have not been cleared.

  B. Raised Crosswalks:
I will continue to follow up with Carl Rossi at DPW to determine the status of raised crosswalks at Homestead and Clayton, and Kane and Knollwood. I will keep you updated when more information is available.

  C. Traffic calming and evaluation for traffic light at Tokeneke and Whiting Farms Rd:
Our engineer determined that Whiting Farms Road and Cherry Street were two of the top three areas needing traffic calming interventions. There was to be a citywide plan developed, but the engineer has recently accepted a new position. Once a new engineer is hired, I will follow up to see what can be done in these areas.

4) Sewer Rate:
We understand that Veolia is working to determine the street sweeping costs to back out of the rate increase because it is a city-wide service. My position is that we should pay for city wide services such as street sweeping through the general city budget and I continue to support the lowest rate needed to keep the fund balanced. Hopefully we will have more information so that we can vote on the rate.

5) New trash bins:
If you need a smaller trash bin, please call DPW. They will take your name and address. It is my understanding they will switch the bins out later this year.

6) Citizens Forum:
A meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 30th at 5:30PM at Dino's on Homestead Ave. Tony/Dino's is collecting food for the city-food drive to benefit Providence Ministries and other meal programs. Please bring a non-perishable food item to help if you can.

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

Ward 5 Update for October 2023

Hi Everyone: It continues to be busy now that we are in the fall season!

1) Ward 5 Safety Projects:
    A. Overgrown brush impacting intersections and roadways:
As you are sending me locations needing attention, I am reaching out to DPW to have the area cut back.

    B. Painting of lines and crosswalks:
Many lines and crosswalks have been painted in Ward 5.

    C. Raised Crosswalks:
I have followed up with Carl Rossi at DPW to determine the status of the crosswalks at Homestead, Kane and Clayton and the new one to be added to Kane and Knollwood. I will keep you updated when more information is available.

2) Sewer Rate:
I am seeking information on street sweeping costs to back out of the rate increase because it is a city-wide service. My position is that we should pay for city wide services such as street sweeping through the general city budget and I continue to support the lowest rate needed to keep the fund balanced. I am not convinced at this time that we need to go from $7.50 to $8.02 for the rate. Right now, the request for the street seeping costs is tabled in Finance Committee. Hopefully we will have more information before we vote on the final rate.

3) Installation of Traffic Light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
Installation of the traffic light at the top of Apremont Hwy at Westfield Road is happening now. Please be very careful in the area while construction is occurring.

4) New trash bins:
You should have a new trash bin by now. We are working on the city ordinance to revise it and build in some flexibility regarding availability of different sizes and number of trash bins. We are also reviewing the yard waste collection which should be continuing as before the implementation of the new trash bins.

5) Citizens Forum:
A meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 30th at 5:30PM at Dino's on Homestead Ave.
Tony/Dino's is collecting food for the city-food drive to benefit Providence Ministries and other meal programs. Please bring a non-perishable food item to help if you can.

6) Voting: Please remember to VOTE on November 7th!

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

CITIZEN'S FORUM

Dino's, Homestead Ave.
Monday, October 30, 2023
5:30 p.m.

Topics:
  1. City Council Updates
  2. School Update
  3. Pending projects in Ward 5
  4. Voting November 7th from 7AM-8PM
  5. Questions, concerns & comments
  6. Other issues as requested-please email me so I can provide accurate information.
VIEW/PRINT Forum Minutes [PDF]

Ward 1-7 October Forum Question, Answers


Ward 5 Second Update for September 2023

Hi Everyone: It continues to be busy now that we are in the fall season!

1) Ward 5 Safety Projects:
  A. Overgrown brush impacting intersections and roadways:
The brush truck returned to service earlier this month! When I followed up with our DPW Director, he indicated that he will continue to catch up with the overgrown brush.

  B. Painting of lines:
I have followed up with our DPW Director Carl Rossi regarding the remaining areas to be painted include Fire Station #6 "Do Not Block Box" on Homestead Ave. and the crosswalk on County Rd at #90.

  C. Speed feedback machines:
Thanks to Holyoke Police Department for the speed feedback machines on County Rd., Whiting Farms Road, Homestead Avenue and Southampton Road. Every reminder helps!

2) Sewer Rate:
Last night (8/22) DPW representatives presented a proposed revised budget for the sewer enterprise fund and recommended a new rate of $8.02. The proposed rate is tabled in City Council and will be taken up later in the month. I am seeking information on street sweeping costs to back out of the rate increase because it is a city-wide service. My position is that we should pay for city wide services such as street sweeping through the general city budget and I continue to support the lowest rate needed to keep the fund balanced. I am not convinced at this time that we need to go from $7.50 to $8.02 for the rate. Hopefully we will have more information before we vote on the final rate.

3) Installation of Traffic Light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
Installation of the traffic light at the top of Apremont Hwy at Westfield Road will begin on Wednesday September 27, 2023. Pine Ridge Technologies will install the traffic light and the contract indicates the installation is to be completed before year end 2023. You may have seen construction sign posted at the bottom of Apremont. They are posted for the traffic light installation and will be relocated to the top area before construction begins on Wednesday.

4) New trash bins:
You should have a new trash bin by now. No plastic bags of trash will be picked up if they are left on the street. If you have questions or concerns please call, email or text.

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org
Thank You,

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

Ward 5 Update for September 2023

Hi Everyone: It continues to be busy as we approach the end of summer!

1) Ward 5 Safety Projects:
  A. Overgrown brush impacting intersections and roadways:
The brush truck returned to service today! I saw our DPW guys cutting overgrowth on Southampton Road today (Sept. 7th). Our DPW Director hopes to have manpower available to address the overgrown areas next week.

  B. Painting of lines:
Remaining areas to be painted include Fire Station #6 "Do Not Block Box" on Homestead Ave., and crosswalks on County Rd, at #90, Cranberry, Bayberry & Sequoia (at County). The road markings at the top of Apremont Highway. DPW is aware of these areas.

  C. Speed feedback machines:
Thanks to Holyoke Police Department for the speed feedback machines on Whiting Farms Road, Homestead Avenue and Southampton Road. Every reminder helps to make us a little bit safer.

2) Sewer Rate:
Last night (8/22) DPW representatives presented a proposed revised budget for the sewer enterprise fund and recommended a new rate of $8.02. The proposed rate is tabled in City Council and will be taken up later in the month. I am seeking information on street sweeping costs to back out of the rate increase because it is a city-wide service. My position is that we should pay for city wide services such as street sweeping through the general city budget and I continue to support the lowest rate needed to keep the fund balanced. I am not convinced at this time that we need to go from $7.50 to $8.02 for the rate. Hopefully we will have more information before we vote on the rate.

3) Light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
Finally! According to our city engineer installation of the long-awaited light will begin at the end of September! Pine Ridge Technologies will install the traffic light. However, our engineer has indicated that the contract with Pine Ridge requires the installation to occur by December 31, 2023.

4) Comcast Public Hearing to renew license:
Mayor Joshua A. Garcia, as cable television licensing authority, will hold a public cable license renewal hearing at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 14, 2023, at Holyoke Media, 1 Court Plaza, Holyoke, as part of the City's license renewal proceedings pertaining to Comcast.

Holyoke's Comcast cable license expires on March 11, 2024. To review existing contract, click here.

Federal law requires a public hearing to ascertain the community's cable-related needs and interests as part of the license renewal process. Public comment is invited regarding Comcast's past performance.

Interested persons may attend and directly participate in person or they may access the hearing remotely via www.zoom.us Meeting ID: 881 3755 3176 Passcode: 393722 or by call in at 1-929-205-6099 with same Meeting ID and Passcode.

The hearing can be observed without remote participation for viewing only on Comcast Channel 15 in Holyoke.

For further information and copies of renewal records, or to offer testimony regarding Comcast's past performance, please contact Stephen Fay at the Holyoke Mayor's Office, City Hall, 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040. Email: [email protected], telephone: 413-561-1600.

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

Second Ward 5 Update for August 2023

Hi Everyone: It continues to be a busy summer!

1) Ballot Question to reduce CPA rate: Meeting date and location
A required meeting following the presentation of a certified petition by 60+ citizens calling for the ballot question approved by the City Council to appear on the ballot in November has been set for Wednesday August 30th at 6:30pm in City Council chambers during the Finance Committee meeting. This is a public meeting open to citizens.

2) Ward 5 Safety Projects:
    A. Painting of lines:
Remaining areas to be painted include Fire Station #6 "Do Not Block Box" on Homestead Ave., and crosswalks on County Rd, at #90, Cranberry, Bayberry & Sequoia (at County). The road markings at the top of Apremont Highway. Please let me know if there are any others that need painting. DPW is aware of these areas.

    B. Overgrown brush impacting intersections and roadways:
I have followed up on a number of calls, urging DPW to take some action to cut back areas that are creating a safety issue. In light of an equipment repair that has been delayed, I have requested that key areas be addressed by cutting back the worst areas with other DPW equipment until the brush cutter is returned to service.

    C. Homestead Avenue:
On Wednesday August 2nd, I participated on a zoom call with our head of DPW, city engineer and Mass DOT reps and Rep. Duffy regarding Homestead Avenue and truck traffic. The truck traffic and road conditions along with safety and noise concerns were discussed.

As a follow up to this meeting Mass DOT is currently conducting a traffic count on Homestead Ave.

3) Sewer Rate:
Last night (8/22) DPW representatives presented a proposed revised budget for the sewer enterprise fund and recommended a new rate of $8.02. Our mayor has stated an increased rate is needed to balance the sewer fund that needs to be self-supporting. It has been noted that there are some services within the contract that cover the entire city while there are approximately 600 homes that cannot obtain sewer services here. My position is that we should pay for city wide services such as street sweeping through the general city budget and I continue to support the lowest rate needed to keep the fund balanced. I am not convinced at this time that we need to go from $7.50 to $8.02 for the rate. Finance Committee will review this further on August 30th and I will attend to seek a better understanding of our ability to break out services that are citywide in the revised budget that our mayor will present later in the year.

4) Light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
Pine Ridge Technologies will install the traffic light. They have not provided an installation date to our city engineer as of today 8/23. However, our engineer has indicated that the contract with Pine Ridge requires the installation to occur by December 31, 2023. I continue to seek a more specific date for the installation.

5) Comcast Public Hearing to renew license:
Mayor Joshua A. Garcia, as cable television licensing authority, will hold a public cable license renewal hearing at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 14, 2023, at Holyoke Media, 1 Court Plaza, Holyoke, as part of the City's license renewal proceedings pertaining to Comcast.

Holyoke's Comcast cable license expires on March 11, 2024. To review existing contract, click here.

Federal law requires a public hearing to ascertain the community's cable-related needs and interests as part of the license renewal process. Public comment is invited regarding Comcast's past performance.

Interested persons may attend and directly participate in person or they may access the hearing remotely via www.zoom.us Meeting ID: 881 3755 3176 Passcode: 393722 or by call in at 1-929-205-6099 with same Meeting ID and Passcode.

The hearing can be observed without remote participation for viewing only on Comcast Channel 15 in Holyoke.

For further information and copies of renewal records, or to offer testimony regarding Comcast's past performance, please contact Stephen Fay at the Holyoke Mayor's Office, City Hall, 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke, Massachusetts 01040. Email: [email protected], telephone: 413-561-1600.

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
< Linda Vacon
210-6077

Ward 5 Update August 2023

Hi Everyone: It has been a busy summer so far!

1) Ward 5 Safety Projects:
    A) We have seen many crosswalks and safety lines painted in the last few weeks following the purchase of our new line painter! Thank you DPW employees! Remaining areas to be painted include Fire Station #6 "Do Not Block Box" on Homestead Ave., and crosswalks on County Rd, at #90, Cranberry, Bayberry & Sequoia (at County).
Please let me know if there are any others that need painting.

    B) There are now 50 "Please Slow Down" signs throughout Ward 5. If you or someone you know would like one, there are two left.

    C) Our Police Department placed the speed feedback sign on Whiting Farms Road, noted as one of the top three areas needing traffic calming by our Engineer. A new feedback sign has been added to Cherry Street (another one of the top three areas).

    D) Homestead Avenue: I assisted neighbors with a petition that was signed by more than 50 residents in the Homestead Avenue area seeking road improvements. This petition was submitted to the city council on June 6th. Status:
Per our engineer, the top portion of Homestead Avenue (HCC end) from Westfield Road to Cherry Street will be repaved in 2024.

The adjustment of several structures on the portion of Homestead Ave. from Westfield Road to Lower Westfield Road is on the list of priorities for Veolia (the company that repairs sewers and catch basins) for this fiscal year. Repaving of this portion of Homestead will occur in the future as the road surface was cracksealed this year to extend the life of the road.

On Wednesday August 2nd, I participated on a zoom call with our head of DPW, city engineer and Mass DOT reps and Rep. Duffy regarding Homestead Avenue and truck traffic. The truck traffic and road conditions along with safety and noise concerns were discussed. The idea of a toll-free section from Westfield to West Springfield was raised. The Mass DOT reps stated the toll issue was one outside of their authority. They shared the limited statistics they had available and those do not indicate an increase in truck traffic. They did offer that there is some financial assistance available for road improvements that we might be able to access. I provided the perspective that once we enforce the truck prohibition at night on lower Homestead Ave, the traffic on the north portion would increase. The safety issues of many workers (soldiers home construction) crossing Homestead Ave over the next many months will be an additional concern in the area. All agreed to try to come up with other ideas that could improve the situation for residents of Wards 5 and 3.

    E. Catch basins needing repair on Ernest Ave were sent to DPW to coordinate with Veolia for repair, along with the ones on Homestead Avenue.

2) Sewer Rate:
A rate of $8.58 or $7.87 (from $7.50) has been proposed by DPW and there will be an Ordinance Committee meeting on August 22nd to discuss the rate further. Our mayor has stated an increased rate is needed to balance the sewer fund that needs to be self-supporting. My position is that we should support the lowest rate needed to keep the fund balanced.

3) Light at Apremont Hwy and Rt. 202:
Pine Ridge Technologies will install the traffic light. They have not provided an installation date to our city engineer as of today 8/4.

4) New trash bins:
Look for a mailing from DPQ this month (August). New bins will be delivered in September. One per residence will be provided. Recycling (dual stream) will be enforced again as it was never supposed to be discontinued.

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

Meet and Greet with Linda, July 17th

5:30 p.m., Dino's Pizza - See details here [PDF]

Ward 5 Update July 2023

Hi Everyone: Happy Summer!

1) Budget:
The City Council made some cuts ($151,500 as reported by the Clerk) to the budget presented by Mayor Garcia. The budget represents a 4.7% increase to the tax levy, but our Mayor anticipates there will be increased revenues to help to reduce the tax burden.

2) Ward 5 Safety Projects:
  A) Due to many and repeated concerns about drivers traveling at high speeds, I purchased some "Please Slow Down" signs (bold black print on yellow) and offered them throughout Ward 5. Over the past few weeks 40 visible signs are now located in high speed and cut through areas. If you or someone you know would like one, please reach out to me. I have a few remaining to be distributed
    B) Our Police Department placed the speed feedback sigh on Whiting Farms Road, note as on of the top three areas needing traffic calming by our Engineer.
    C) DPW trimmed the tree that was blocking the new sign for the crosswalk on Homestead Ave. clearing that area to improve safety.
    D) A new line painter was recently approved for DPW by the City Council as we have had many requests for line painting to improve safety. We look forward to getting these road lines and crosswalks painted as part of our safety initiative.
    E) Dead tree removal is happening. Please let me know if there are any to be added to the list.

3) Sewer Rate:
A rate of $8.58 or $7.87 (from $7.50) has been proposed by DPW and there will be an Ordinance Committee meeting on August 22nd to discuss the rate further. Our Mayor has stated an increased rate is needed to balance the sewer fund that needs to be self-supporting. My position is that we should support the lowest rate needed to keep the fund balanced.

4) Light at Apremont Hwy and Rt 202:
Pine Ridge Technologies will install the traffic light. The schedule will be provided at a meeting the week of July 10th.

5) Road micro surfacing:
Some areas received this road pavement preservation treatment (not re-paving). Our engineer provided some information about this which I have copied a portion of here:

...the surface will reflect the inconsistencies through the top. The cape seal is used for preservation to fill in cracks, provide a flexible intermediate layer, and to provide a thin surface layer. All layers are intended to protect the roadway from moisture intrusion and UV rays, and to help to create a bit of a smoother surface. Pavement patching was done to particularly deteriorated areas before the treatment, but puddling may still occur in areas it did prior to treatments... During the first few weeks the micro surface may appear unfinished and it is noted the color will continue to change. Aggregate may loosen and separate from the layer. This is all typical and to be expected. The continuous rolling of vehicles over the surface helps to continue to smooth the surface. The process will be monitored and inspected within a few months...

6) Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital:
Construction of the new hospital (at the site of the long-closed former Geriatric Authority) is to be completed this summer and the first patients are scheduled to arrive on August 15th.

7) Election Season:
Our local election for City Council and Treasurer will take place on November 7th this year. Please save the date to vote! I am holding a "Meet and Greet" at Dino's on Monday July 17th from 5:30 to 7:30PM

For more information on local issues and articles please visit my Facebook page Linda Vacon Ward 5 City Councilor or website at lindavacon.org

Thank You,
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
210-6077

Ward 5 Update June 2023

1) Apremont Highway traffic light:
The Traffic Signal Installation Project at the intersection of Westfield Road (Route 202) and Apremont Highway bids were received on May 31, with the MassDOT prequalified bidder, Pine Ridge Technologies, Inc. out of North Reading, MA, winning the bid at $328,722. The project is expected to begin in July, but a schedule will be submitted from the contractor once the final contract is executed. General project updates will be posted on the City Engineering website as the project moves into construction. https://www.holyoke.org/dpw-city-engineer/

2) Chip seal tentative schedule, Ward 5:
Cape Seal Project:
Chip seal (Phase 1) TENTATIVELY scheduled for Tuesday, June 13, 2023 and/or Wednesday June 14, 2023 and microsurface (Phase 2) scheduled for for Tuesday, June 20, 2023 and Wednesday June 21, 2023: Acorn Road, Cypress Road, Fir Lane, Hemlock Drive, Sequoia Drive, Coronet Road, Holly Meadow Road, Maginnis Avenue, Meggison Lane, and Sun Valley Road. Cape Seal Notice To Residents

For the chip seal - residents shouldn't drive on the emulsion (oil looking liquid), however, the chip is put down very soon after the emulsion and once the chip is down and rolled residents can drive on it. There will be 2 police officers used for chip seal.

For the microsurface - Residents are asked to plan accordingly for the day to avoid travel the area as much as possible. The contractor will try to use leave one lane open for traffic. The dry time is typically use 30 to 60 minutes. Residents shouldn't drive on the wet surface until directed to do so. The contractor will have police (2-3 officers) aiding in traffic control as well as the contractor's crews to helping direct people in and out of their driveways if needed.

3) Homestead Avenue:
This road has been the subject of many resident complaints for over three years, with road conditions continuing to degrade with sunken man hole covers and other roadway issues. Although I have filed repeated requests to have the road issues addressed, they remain unresolved. Recently, I assisted neighbors and they have submitted a petition with 50 signatures to the Mayor and City Council seeking to finally have these longstanding problems corrected. Hopefully improvements will occur soon as this road is one of the most heavily traveled truck route in our city!

4) Public Safety-traffic:
Recently at the City Council meeting, it was recognized through a review by our City Engineer that two roadways in Ward 5 are in the top three needing traffic calming measures. They are Whiting Farms Road and Cherry Street near Dale Street. Further study and recommendations will be made for improvements to improve safety in these neighborhoods.

5) School Bond:
The bond to build a new school as the public school system moves from K-8 to a middle school system including grades 6-8 was approved by the city council. This is the result of a rework of the unaffordable plan for two schools which was defeated by a large percentage of voters. The Peck School, no longer eligible for state funding for upgrades, will be replaced by one using a more cost-effective design model approved by the state. New energy updates along with the closure of at least one school will result in lower operating costs once the school is completed.

Please call 413-210-6077 with questions or check out my website for other city updates at www.lindavacon.org
Or contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions at [email protected]
Your Ward 5 City Councilor,
Linda Vacon

Ward 5 Update May 2023

Hello Everyone: Hope you are doing well. Please share this update. Thanks!

1) DPW Update, Blueberry Hill:
I assisted with and filed petitions signed by residents of Lynn Ann Drive and Richard Eger Drive in April so they can be officially accepted as city streets. Once they are accepted, long needed road surface work for Blueberry Hill area can be completed because the neighborhood will be eligible for Chapter 90 funding. There are a number of steps that need to take place before the streets are accepted, but back in the early 60's the paperwork was partially done, but not approved by the "Board of Aldermen" as they were known then. Hopefully we can get this done soon.
Please use this link for info on Cape Seal

2) Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
As of April 10th, Mayor Garcia indicated construction of the traffic light will occur this summer/fall.
According to engineer Kris Baker (4/7) the bid for the construction project for the installation of the traffic light should be in by May 31st.

3) Upland Road:
Due to staff shortages, the temporary speed humps that were to be installed in the spring 2023 are delayed. DPW is seeking an alternate crew to install them as part of the crosswalk project later in the year.

4) Road re-paving and pot hole repair:
Philip Drive was repaved and pot holes throughout the ward have been filled in April.
Please call DPW if you see areas of need for repairs.

5) McMahon School Crosswalk:
As of April 10th, Mayor Garcia provided an update that the crosswalk will be installed later this summer/fall on Kane Road (McMahon School & Homestead Avenue.

6) Regional update:
In 2026 the Barnes Regional Airport will be receiving a new fleet of 18 F-35A aircraft. This is a significant development for Westfield and the region as the 104th Fighter Wing is charged with the protection of New England and New York.

Please call 413-210-6077 with questions or check out my website for other city updates at www.lindavacon.org
Or contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions at [email protected]
Your Ward 5 City Councilor,
Linda Vacon

Ward 5 Update March/April 2023

Hello All: I hope you are doing well! Please see the attached update.

1) DPW Update:
Road improvement update for Blueberry Hill area:
According to DPW, it was originally planned to Cape Seal this entire neighborhood this year, but it was discovered that two streets in the area (Lynn Ann Drive and a portion of Richard Eger) have not been accepted by the city as an accepted roadway and do not qualify for funding. I am seeking the next steps from our City Engineer to correct this so the road surface improvements can be done for the entire neighborhood.
Please use this link for info on Cape Seal

Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
According to engineer Kris Baker (4/7) the bid for the construction project for the installation of the traffic light should be in by May 31st. Once a contractor is chosen a more specific date will be determined.

Upland Road: The temporary speed humps are to be installed in the spring 2023 per our City Engineer. I do not have an exact date yet.

2) Crosswalks and road markings-update:
I filed an order at City Council which was adopted and sent to DPW. It is my understanding that they are now working on pot holes and will work on painting after that as staffing allows.

3) McMahon School and traffic flow:
The requested crosswalk has been recommended by our City Engineer and approved by the City Council so that next steps to install it can take place. Our Mayor and DPW will need to find funding to complete the project. This is an important safety need as there are continued reports of unsafe drivers in the area of McMahon School.

4) Veterans tax work off program:
If you are a property owner and a veteran you can apply for the tax work off program until April 30th. For more information call the Veterans' Office, Jesus Pereira, Director at 322-5630 or email [email protected] or go to my website and scroll down until you see the title "Veterans Tax Work off Program" which includes the link to the city website and the form.

5) CPA Tax surcharge:
Voters will have an opportunity to change the CPA tax rate to 1% rather than the current 1.5% rate currently charged this November. A ballot question will appear on the ballot for our local elections. A "yes" vote will change the rate to 1%. A "no" vote will keep it at 1.5%

Please call 413-210-6077 with questions or check out my website for other city updates at www.lindavacon.org
Please contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions at [email protected]

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
533-6498 or 210-6077

Important Notice from the Holyoke Water Works

From Matt Smith, Source of Supply and Treatment Superintendent:
Hello everyone, just wanted to give your office a heads up, the Holyoke Water Works is in the process of changing over to the McLean reservoir to undertake scheduled maintenance on its 42" transmission main. This is scheduled annually, and what this means is residents on city water may notice a change in taste, temperature, and odor for a short period of time (about a week). The water quality standards remain the same, actually the water chemistry of McLean Reservoir is actually better than our primary source. Unfortunately, its aesthetic characteristics of taste and odor are unappealing to some people. We have put a notification on facebook as well and I would appreciate it if we can get all the city pages to share. Feel free to call me (Matt) if you have any questions or concerns at 413-532-6778.

Ward 5 Update February 2023

Hello Ward 5 Neighbors:
Here is the February update. I hope you have enjoyed the recent mild days!

1) DPW Update:
Road improvement schedule for spring of 2023:
Resurfacing: Philip Drive and Southampton Rd (Easthampton Rd to 1600' westward (this is ward 7, but many ward 5 residents have reached out to me about this portion of Southampton Road).
Cape Seal: Acorn, Cypress, Fir, Hemlock, Sequoia, Coronet, Dupuis, Holly Meadow, Maginnis, Meggison, and Sun Valley Road.

Please use this link for info on Cape Seal

Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
According to engineer Kris Baker (2/15) the bid for the construction project for the installation of the traffic light is to go out in the next several weeks. Once a contractor is chosen a more specific date will be determined.

Upland Road: the temporary speed humps are to be installed in the spring 2023 per our City Engineer.

2) Crosswalks and road markings-update:
Our new DPW Director has been updated on the need for crosswalk and road markings (some requested for 3 years) throughout Ward 5.

3) McMahon School and traffic flow:
I received a request for a crosswalk to be installed at Knollwood and Kane due to safety concerns expressed by the crossing guard, school employees and the School Committee member. Our City Engineer has recently completed a review of this area and a report will be issued soon.

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
C: 210-6077
[email protected]
www.lindavacon.org

Ward 5 Update November/December 2022

Hello Everyone: I hope you are doing well and staying healthy!

1) Tax Rates:
A meeting will be held on Monday December 12, 2022 a 5:30PM. Although the tax levy has grown at a smaller rate, due to a lowered appraisal of the mall and very small new growth ($400.00) last year, most of our "growth" is in the form of increased values of our homes (average value $17,000) and businesses (average value excluding mall $8,000). As a result, we will all experience an increase in our tax bills. I will be supporting a lower tax rate for home owners due to the significant increase in those values when compared to other values, along with the combined increases in sewer, water, gas and electric rates as well as food prices that exceed the ability of those on fixed incomes or with an average income to keep up with inflation.

2) DPW Update:
Mayor Garcia has appointed Carl Rossi as our new Director of DPW after a long search. He brings many years of municipal experience to the position and we welcome him to Holyoke!

3) Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
According to engineer Kris Baker the full installation of the traffic light is planned for the spring of 2023.

4) Line painting on Apremont and crosswalks: City Council Action-update
Thankfully DPW and our Auditor resolved contract issues and the yellow and white road line were painted as of November 4th before the first snow! I appreciate the effort put forth to correct this safety issue. 5) Camera to monitor truck traffic on lower Homestead between 8PM and 6AM
We are waiting for our legal department to determine if a camera can be placed at the 202/Homestead intersection in order to monitor the truck traffic during prohibited hours.

6) McMahon School and traffic flow:
I received a request for a crosswalk to be installed at Knollwood and Kane due to safety concerns expressed by the crossing guard, school employees and the School Committee member.
The order I filed was sent to the Public Safety Committee and our City Engineer. The area will be evaluated for a crosswalk.

7) HG&E Update:
Holyoke Gas and Electric has received support for the 5th tank to be added a Mueller Road. A flyer with more details is posted on my website at [email protected]. When completed (anticipated 2024-2025), this project will allow HG&E to lift the gas moratorium.

8) Upland Road:
According to engineer Kris Baker the temporary speed humps will be installed in the spring 2023.

A Citizen"s Forum was held on October 16, 2022. Please visit my website for the minutes.
Please check out my website for other city updates. www.lindavacon.org
Please contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions at [email protected]

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
533-6498 or 210-6077

Ward 5 Update October 2022

1) Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
It is anticipated that the arm mast foundation for the light will be completed in October. Full installation is anticipated to happen in the spring of 2023.

2) Line painting on Apremont and crosswalks. City Council Action:
DPW staff painted the crosslines for the closed lane on Rt. 202 and are awaiting answers to pricing questions to complete the other lines. This item is tabled in City Council to ensure that the project is completed. Just today-October 6th I received an email indicating the pricing question is resolved and the lines should be painted in 2-3 weeks.

3) Camera to monitor truck traffic on lower Homestead between 8PM and 6AM:
We are waiting for our legal department to determine if a camera can be placed at the 202/Homestead intersection in order to monitor the truck traffic during prohibited hours.

Of note, Target had proposed to build a very large distribution center on 45 acres of land in Westfield near the Holyoke line. I provided information at the public hearing in Westfield about the traffic issues & concerns and the additional light that will be added on Rt 202 here in Holyoke. Just this week I learned that a high level of opposition in the Westfield neighborhood, including concerns about the aquifer led to a decision by Target representatives to withdraw the request for a special permit at this time.

4) McMahon School and traffic flow:
I received a request for a crosswalk to be installed at Knollwood and Kane due to safety concerns expressed by the crossing guard, school employees and the School Committee member.
The order I filed was sent to the Public Safety Committee and our City Engineer. The area will be evaluated for a crosswalk.

5) HG&E Update:
Holyoke Gas and Electric has received support for the 5th tank to be added a Mueller Road from Mayor Garcia. I have received no concerns regarding the installation following outreach in the neighborhood by HG&E staff. The process to add the tank will take 2-3 years to complete. A flyer with more details is posted on my website at [email protected]. This project will allow HG&E to lift the gas moratorium.

6) Ward 5 Citizens Forum:
I am happy to announce that I will be resuming in person meetings here in Ward 5! The next meeting will be held on Sunday October 16th at 1PM at Dino's on Homestead Ave. I hope to see you there. Feel free to bring a neighbor if they would like to attend!

Please contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions! Please check out my website for other city updates.
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
C: 210-6077
[email protected]
www.lindavacon.org

CITIZEN'S FORUM

Dino's, Homestead Ave.
Sunday, October 16, 2022
1:00 p.m.
for Pizza, Updates, Q & A, & casual conversation
Topics:
  1. Update from Mayor Garcia
  2. Update on Middle Schools and question: Do you want Donahue to be elementary (through grade 5) or a middle school (grades 6-8)?
  3. Time for updates, questions, concerns & comments
  4. Other issues as requested-please email me so I can provide accurate information.
VIEW/PRINT Forum Minutes [PDF]

Ward 5 Update September 2022

Hi Everyone:

1) Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
It is anticipated that the arm mast foundation for the light will be completed in October. Full installation is anticipated to happen in the spring of 2023.

2) Line painting on Apremont and crosswalks. City Council Action:
Due to accidents and fatalities on Rt 202, your City Council voted to have the lines painted ASAP. This item is tabled in City Council to ensure that the project is completed. DPW representatives have been invited to provide an update.

3) Camera to monitor truck traffic on lower Homestead between 8PM and 6AM:
Last fall I requested that a camera be installed so that we can monitor the traffic restriction compliance on Homestead Avenue after 8pm. There have been many complaints for more than 10 years and there is the possibility of more truck traffic in the area. The committee requested our law department staff to review the request to determine if the placement of a camera at the intersection as 202 approaches Homestead Avenue is legal for purposes of monitoring compliance with the ordinance.

4) McMahon School and traffic flow:
I spoke with the Principal and she let me know they changed to an early start (7:45am) and dismissal (2:30pm) this year. It is hoped this will alleviate some of the traffic back-ups. On September 19th, I took a ride by the school at 2:15 and again at 2:25. I did see cars lined up waiting, but they did not extend to Primrose. The buses filled the driveway area of the school.
This is one day, but it seems the issues that were reported to me have improved so far. Please let me know if there are continuing concerns.

5) HG&E Update:
Holyoke Gas and Electric is seeking to add an additional gas tank at their site in Ward 5. There are 4 tanks there now and the original plan called for 5 tanks. It was thought there would be pipe lines added to the area so the 5th tank was not installed. Due to the lack of pipelines and limited availability of gas, causing the current gas moratorium, HG&E is pursuing approval from the state for the 5th tank. A flyer with more details is posted on my website at [email protected].

Please contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions! Please check out my website for other city updates.
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
C: 210-6077
[email protected]
www.lindavacon.org

Ward 5 Update August 2022

Hi Everyone:

1) Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
Our new Engineer Kris Baker and Robert Weller provided an updated timeline. It is anticipated that the arm mast foundation for the light will be completed this fall. There are three light to be completed downtown that were delayed and the Apremont light will be completed once those projects are finished. I will keep you posted as I learn new information.

2) Line painting on Apremont and crosswalks:
Due to accidents and fatalities on Rt 202 I have tried to bring as much attention as possible to the safety issues on Rt 202 and other areas of Ward 5 and our city. I have followed up with Amy at DPW to get the lines painted as soon as possible.

3) Truck traffic on lower Homestead between 8PM and 6AM:
Due to ongoing issues with truck traffic after 8PM on Homestead Ave. southbound, I attended a public hearing in Westfield where they are considering a large distribution center for Target that would be located near the Rt 202 intersection in Westfield. I testified as to the traffic increase and made the planning board aware of the installation of the new traffic light on Apremont and Rt 202 and suggest that if approved, the company could pay the tolls for the truck drivers to use the Mass Pike which is roadway capable of handing the large trucks and the increased truck volume.

4) School year and traffic flow:
I greeted children and teachers on the first day of school at McMahon and Donahue schools as we returned to a normal school day! While at McMahon school I spoke with the Principal and she let me know they changed to an early start (7:45am) and dismissal this year. It is hoped this will alleviate some of the traffic back-up, It was very organized and no back ups were evident in the morning. We will see how the afternoon pick up works out with the new schedule. It was good to see a lot of happy faces as teachers greeted children when they arrived!

Please contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions! Please check out my website for other city updates.
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
C: 210-6077
[email protected]
www.lindavacon.org

Ward 5 Update July 2022

Hi Everyone:

1) Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
As of June 30th, no further update since May: the loop detectors for the light at the top of Apremont Highway were installed before the road was paved. Due to the departure of our former superintendent and ongoing recruiting for a new superintendent, it remains scheduled to be installed this year, but the timeline for the rest of the installation is not yet established. I will keep you posted as I learn new information.

2) Truck traffic on lower Homestead between 8PM and 6AM:
More signage has been added but this continues to be a complaint from residents. So far the idea of a camera at the intersection has not received a favorable response as tickets cannot be given based on the camera. It remains an enforcement issue. One constituent did report that an police officer did stop a truck during the restricted hours in the past few weeks. Increased enforcement is needed throughout our ward and city.

3) Speed Hump requests:
Two neighborhoods requested speed humps by completing the petition. Our engineer completed the evaluation that is required once the petitions are filed, the most recent being completed in June. Following his analysis, Upland Road was found to be eligible for the temporary speed humps to see if they will be effective. Our new engineer has indicated he cannot set an installation date at this time because DPW is severely short staffed. He will keep me updated. For the Bray Park Drive the analysis indicated there would be a marginal benefit to installing speed humps and they were not recommended at this time.

4) CPA tax vote:
Almost five years ago voters approved the CPA tax (55% in favor) in addition to property taxes for special public projects. The time of the initial authorization is ending, so there is an opportunity for voters to amend, end or continue the CPA tax at the current rate, if the City Council votes to place the questions that have been filed on the ballot. I believe each voter should be able to determine every 5 years if this is a good program to continue and if the rate is affordable for the tax payers so I support the ability of voters to have a say every five years. Because our ballot question was initially placed on the ballot by the City Council, the question must be placed in the same way by the City Council for the next vote.

5) New business proposed on Whiting Farms Road:
The Development and Government Relation Committee held a public hearing for a special permit for a car wash on Whiting Farms Rd adjacent to the Gary Rome car dealership. The application includes two automatic car wash bays and vaccums for those who use the car wash service. The area will be secured and only open when the car dealership is also open and a manager will be on site during all hours of operation. Concerns from the neighbors regarding buffers, security were addressed during the public hearing and made part of the recommendation to approve the special permit.

Please contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions!
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
C: 210-6077
[email protected]
www.lindavacon.org

Ward 5 Update May/June 2022

Hi Everyone:

1) Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
As of May 31st, the loop detectors for the light at the top of Apremont Highway were installed before the road was paved. Due to the departure of our former superintendent and ongoing recruiting for a new superintendent, it remains scheduled to be installed this year, but the timeline for the rest of the installation is not yet established. I will keep you posted as I learn new information.

2) Truck traffic on lower Homestead between 8PM and 6AM:
I have received a number of complaints about this persistent problem. The police department is aware and I have provided company names when they are available. I am seeking a camera to be able to identify the trucks so that follow up can be done. While it is not legal to issue automatic tickets, it could help with enforcement. I am waiting for the Public Safety Committee to take up this issue. The Chair of the committee has written that he will place it on the next agenda.

3) Street re-paving:
I am happy to report that Green Willow Dr., Village Rd, McClellan Dr, Ross Rd Apremont Hwy, & Rock Valley Rd that have been on the list for a long time were re-paved this year. I know many are waiting and are also on the list. DPW is doing three levels of road work.
One is paving, the other is microsurfacing and the third is cape seal. DPW makes the determination of the need and sets a schedule of streets to be done each year.

4) CPA tax vote:
Almost five years ago voters approved the CPA tax (55% in favor) in addition to property taxes for special public projects. The time of the initial authorization is ending, so there is an opportunity for voters to amend, end or continue the CPA tax at the current rate, if the City Council votes to place the questions that have been filed on the ballot. I believe each voter should be able to determine every 5 years if this is a good program to continue and if it is affordable for the tax payers so I support the ability of voters to have a say every five years. Because our ballot question was initially placed on the ballot by the City Council, the question must be placed in the same way by the City Council for the next vote.

Please contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions!

Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
C: 210-6077

Ward 5 Update March 2022 from Linda

Hi Everyone: I hope you enjoy the St. Patrick's Day celebrations!

1) Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
It remains scheduled to be installed this spring, hopefully before June, in light of the accidents that continue to occur on Rt. 202

2) Crosswalk at Homestead Ave near McMahon School:
I am happy to report that the upgrades have been completed to improve safety on Homestead Ave at the crosswalk!

3) Comcast:
Some repairs have been made. Please let them know if problems occur. You can reach out to me also if you choose.

4) Accident on Whiting Farms Road:
Please be careful and take extra time as a pedestrian and driver! Our goal is to prevent accidents. Fortunately there was no loss of life, but taking the extra time may save your life or the life of someone else or prevent serious injuries.

5) Truck traffic on lower Homestead between 8PM and 6AM:
I have received a number of complaints about this persistent problem. The police department is aware and I have provided company names when they are available. I am seeking a camera to be able to identify the trucks so that follow up can be done. While it is not legal to issue automatic tickets, it could help with enforcement.

Please contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions!

Thank You,
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
www.lindavacon.org
C: 210-6077

Ward 5 Update January 2022 from Linda

Hi Everyone: I hope the beginning of 2022 is going well for you so far!
1) Traffic light at the top of Apremont and Rt. 202:
I recently received an update from our DPW that all of the new equipment for the light has been obtained and the installation is being coordinated with an outside contractor and our Fire department signal division. It is scheduled to be installed in the spring.

2) Crosswalk at Homestead Ave near McMahon School:
I followed up with DPW on the status as there have been cones at the site for quite a while. This site is on the list to be completed, but with staffing changes in the department there are a number of traffic light projects that are being addressed. I have been assured that this safety issue is on the project list to be completed.

3) Comcast:
Representatives from Comcast reached out to me and our Mayor regarding the service in Holyoke. An update was sent that included a number of repairs that took place in November; a node issue in the fruit bowl area that was corrected, an underground defective span that was replaced in the Westfield Road area near Apremont Highway to East Mountain Road, and replacement of a tap at a premises where the ports were waterlogged.

4) Dead trees leaning over Rt 202 near the Doyle Street entrance to HCC:
It was brought to my attention and observed by me that these trees posed a danger to the roadway. I followed up with our Engineer at DPW and in coordination with our Water Department, Dave Conti and his team took down the four trees that were most concerning to the roadway. Thanks to both for getting this resolved to avoid an accident!

Please contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions!
Thank You,
Your Ward 5 City Councilor
Linda Vacon
C: 210-6077

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