HOLYOKE — Thanks to a recent ordinance passed by the City Council, veterans in Holyoke will now have free parking in meter spaces and city parking garages with the simple change of their license plate.

National Service Officer Wilfredo Melendez spoke with Reminder Publishing about the ordinance and said bringing this ordinance seen in other communities for their veterans was great for the city and a sign of its support for its veterans.

“We brought it to the attention of the mayor and he mentioned that he was going to work on it and follow up with it, and he did,” Melendez said.

Melendez credited Mayor Joshua Garcia and the City Council for coming together to pass this ordinance on behalf of veterans. He added after seeing this was something used in other communities, it was a no-brainer to bring it up to Holyoke officials.

According to Melendez, through his work at the Holyoke veterans office, he has consistently heard from veterans complaints or concerns about finding parking and this should make it easier for those trying to visit the office.

“It helps our veterans be able to park closer and has less walking for them,” Melendez said.

Overall, Melendez said when the city can do the little things like this in assisting veterans, it shows they also have those veterans’ core interests also at heart.

“If it wasn’t for the veterans, we all know we would not be as free and as safe as we are. When you join the service, you want to be able to know you have your benefits, and also civilians want to see that veterans are being treated good because it helps for the next generation of civilians think about joining the service and realize that if they join the service, they’ll be getting treated with respect and honor,” Melendez said.

Melendez said all veterans need to do is change their plates, if not already, to the veterans plate required to fit under the ordinance. To do so and learn more, visit mass.gov/military-and-veteran-rmv-information.