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Easthampton City Council weighs in on art space rent dispute

Easthampton City Council during its meeting on June 25, 2024.
Easthampton Media
Easthampton City Council during its meeting on June 25, 2024.

The Easthampton City Council has passed a non-binding resolution in support of affordable arts spaces there. This comes in the wake of a rent dispute for studio space on Cottage Street.

The building is owned by Riverside Industries, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The agency says it needs to charge increased rent to help fund its programming.

Some tenants, including Margaret Larson told city councilors the hike goes too far. She said her rent is slated to double.

"That means our annual rent will be almost $50,000 a year. I challenge all of you to face an increase of that magnitude in the middle of the fiscal year and not panic," she said.

But Riverside's CEO Lynn Ireland defended the rent increase, saying the first priority is making sure clients receive what they need.

"It can't be on the back of these clients to support and subsidize artisans," she said.

The vote by the city council is largely symbolic and carries no authority.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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