OneHolyoke CDC, formerly Olde Holyoke Development Corporation, was formed originally as a Model Cities Community Development Corporation, serving only the Flats neighborhood and continuing the work of a discontinued federal Great Society program. In 1969, the Flats neighborhood was designated as the neighborhood most in need of assistance, and Holyoke was one of 57 cities nationwide approved for the Model Cities Program.
Through the Model Cities Program cities were presented with funds to revitalize their communities. Richard Courchesne was hired by Model Cities to help OneHolyoke come into existence in 1975. Courchesne remained President until his retirement in 2013.
After taking down and renovating several buildings on Lyman Street and creating off-street parking for residents, OneHolyoke then moved on to a historic block of Philadelphia row housing. Over 160 homes have been built or rehabilitated by OneHolyoke since the early 1970s.
City of Holyoke
The City of Holyoke was the first planned industrial community in the nation, at one time known as the greatest paper production community in the world. In 1847, merchant investors began construction of a dam and canal system along the Connecticut River that developed into an elaborate complex of mills and worker housing. While many of the historic mills and industries are now gone, a number of structures have been maintained through preservation and revitalization efforts.
Watch this short video about OneHolyoke CDC’s first 40 years.