Downtown building that houses WHMP and WRSI radio

July 16, 2008


The small brick building that houses radio stations WHMP and WRSI fronts on Hampton Avenue, just across from the Chamber of Commerce building. From there, the building looks neat and tidy. But here are a couple of shots of the side door that faces the Parking Garage and the view of the back of the building from Armory Street. Yech!

This is the back of the building that houses WHMP and WRSI as seen by visitors as they walk to or from the parking garage along Armory Street.

Another side of the same building.


This is the door into the building that people see from the main parking lot where the parking garage is located.


Thank you to reader Adam Cohen for the link to Grafitti Hurts.

July 16, 2008


Thank you to Adam Cohen for this link to Grafitti Hurts ( This website is full of good information that businesses, citizens, and officials can use to fight grafitti which is the biggest blight invading Northampton. 

The following is copied from the Grafitti Hurts “about page”. Hopefully, readers of Northampton Blight will tke the time to explore the website for constructive ideas on fighting grafitti, particularly which describes what businesses can do and where some “best practices” for the community are outlined.


Graffiti Hurts® – Care for Your Community is a grassroots community education program. It was developed in 1996 by Keep America Beautiful, Inc. through a grant from The Sherwin-Williams Company, maker of Krylon® brand paint.

The Graffiti Hurts® Program is dedicated to raising awareness about the harmful effects of graffiti vandalism on communities. At the heart of the Graffiti Hurts® Program are four goals:

  1. Educate citizens about the importance of graffiti prevention and abatement.
  2. Provide communities with tools and resources to respond to graffiti vandalism.
  3. Help foster partnerships that will encourage involvement from all members of the community in addressing graffiti vandalism.
  4. Help communities establish anti-graffiti programs that get results, creating healthier, safer, and more livable comunities.

The Graffiti Hurts® Program helps communities initiate local graffiti prevention activities, and educate youth and adults about the impact of graffiti vandalism. To do this, the Graffiti Hurts® web site contains all the tools communities need to begin graffiti education, prevention, and clean-up. Individuals and communities can also order a Graffiti Hurts® DVD and poster.

The Nagle Walkway

July 13, 2008

The Nagle Walkway as it appears on the official Northampton website.

Bill Nagle was an important figure in Northampton’s recent history. The Gazette described him as “a charismatic recovering alcoholic himself whose homespun philosophy espoused self-help and recovery from addiction through community service” in a December 2006 article, and in the seventies and eighties that community service was abundantly delivered to the city by Bill Nagle’s Honor Court.  Those services included feeding the hungry, helping shut-ins, and perhaps most well-known keeping the streets of Downtown Northampton immaculately clean.

At six o’clock on any weekday morning downtown streets were filled with Honor Court members sweeping the streets, picking up litter, trimming overgrown branches, and emptying the trash. By eight o’clock the honor court members had disappeared leaving a delightfully inviting downtown behind them.  And while Bill Nagle died in 1993, his legacy continued until just a few years ago when the city stopped supporting the Honor Court and the Honor Court eventually left Northampton.

To honor Bill Nagle and recognize his contibutions to Northampton a downtown walkway was dedicated to him. The walkway starts below the railroad bridges on lower Main Street, goes past The Depot restaurant (now Union Station), onto Pleasant Street near the District Attorney’s office where the walkway crosses the street and continues through the downtown, eventually ending in the public parking lot across from The Brewery.  For many years, the Honor Court meticulously maintained the area and their pride in the beauty of the walkway named after their founder was evident.

The Nagle Walkway indeed started out as a beautiful park with well maintained landscaping, inviting seating areas, and trash containers that were emptied regularly. It served not only as a convenient way to get from one end of downtown to the other, but as a destination for mothers pushing their babies in strollers, for the elderly who live downtown to sit and talk and enjoy the day, for a picnic lunch, or simply as a relaxing place for tourists to Northampton to take a break from the shops and attractions of downtown. The walkway was vibrant and filled with people enjoying themselves. 

That was the vision from a few years ago. The vision from a few weeks ago is less fortunate as seen in the pictures that follow.

After complaining to my city councilor and other officials a few weeks ago, I was assured that the area would be cleaned up. Indeed I have seen a city truck parked on the walkway since I complained (last week). so maybe that assurance is becoming a reality. I will keep you posted.

I will be happy to post any ideas readers might have (or feel free to post them yourselves as comments to this post) and support any efforts fellow downtowners can make in bringing back the beautiful Nagle Walkway of a few years ago.

Why Bill Letendre?

July 12, 2008

I have been asked why Bill Letendre, the Parking Commissioner, is listed as a contact for fixing blight in Northampton. The answer is that strangely enough some downtown maintenance falls under the Parking Division administratively, instead of under the DPW as most people would expect. Go figure!

Graffiti, grafitti, everywhere…..from Paradise City Bar & Grill to Silent Cal’s

July 12, 2008


What does downtown look like to the visitor to Northampton?

Well it looks to me like it’s covered in graffiti, which is a definite sign of blight! and not just a little blight. lots of it everywhere you look. everywhere you go.

I took a walk starting in front of the new Paradise City Bar & Grill (formerly Del Raye Bar & Brill, an upscale restaurant that needed to downscale to survive!) and walked down Main Street, turned left onto Pleasant Street at Florence Savings Bank, and continued to Silent Cal’s bar.

the overpass above the sidewalk near Paradise City Bar & Grill


the truck eating overpass above the street

the wall on the sidewalk under the overpass




grafitti on the wall along the steps leading to Union Station restaurant

and more grafitti on the wall along the steps

and even more


side of the building on the corner of Main Street and Strong Avenue

steps across from Fitzwilly's restaurant

The entire stretch of Main Street from Strong Avenue to the lights (on this side of the street) is grafitti free.

Good work to all of those businesses in that stretch including Yellow Sofa, India Palace, Western Village Sports, Don Muller Gallery, Amanouz, and Spoleto!

Maybe some other downtown businesses can be inspired to be like you!

the wall on the back of Florence Savings Bank on Pleasant Street


on the side of Steals and Deals

and this blight continues all the way down the alley

grafitti on the offices of Springfield Newspapers. right across from Steals and Deals

also going all the way down

grafitti on the side of the Siam Square restaurant


and on the other side of the building on the side of Luna Pizza

and this grafitti goes all the way down the side of Luna Pizza


the front of "The Elevens" on pleasant street


and more on the front of "The Elevens"

Perhaps the most shocking grafitti encountered on this walk was on this building, not because of the abundance of it, not because it is especially ugly, overgrown and unruly, but because of where it is on the side of the District Attorney’s office!
There is plenty more grafitti in Northampton to report on, but this walk
and post ends here at Silent Cal’s on Pleasant Street, a bar located in
the former Chilson’s Awning building near the Union Station parking lot.

Welcome to Northampton Blight

July 6, 2008


This blog is to publicize urban blight right here in Northampton – The Paradise City!

Eevery city faces the challenge of keeping things well maintained and looking good, but Northampton has been looking pretty darn shabby lately. And there doesn’t appear to be much interest by our city officials in restoring the beauty of just a few years ago.

Hopefully this blog will call enough attention to the blight to inspire decision makers to reverse the trend.