The following synopsis was submitted by the State Hospital Advisory Committee following a five-hour public visioning session held on Jan. 11, 2014.
Over 100 residents, including Medfield Selectmen and the Town Manager, and State Senator James Timilty, attended a Visioning Session hosted by the State Hospital Advisory Committee (SHAC) on Saturday, January 11 from 10 AM to 3 PM. The purpose of the meeting was to educate townspeople on the issues and opportunities surrounding the potential $3.1 million purchase of approximately 137 acres of the
hospital property, and to hear what the participants envision for the use of the land, if purchased. Professional consultants, Ted Brovitz of Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates and Peter Flinker of Dodson and Flinker ran the session.
The morning was comprised of many presentations about different aspects of the history of the property, the condition of the land and buildings, and current considerations regarding the possible purchase of the property. Participants formed into break-out groups in which they voiced the issues and opportunities they saw regarding the possible purchase of the land. The overriding and major opportunity
identified was the Town’s ability to control the re-use of the property.
The major issue was the uncertainty over additional costs to the Town beyond the purchase price. The main expenses identified were: renovation or demolition of the structures; asbestos and lead paint removal; and maintenance and security costs until disposition.
The afternoon was devoted to scenario-building and at the end of the session each group presented a “vision” for the property, if purchased by the Town. Although every plan was different. some common ideas were apparent. Consistent themes were: a Park and Recreation building on the approximately 37 acre sledding hill parcel; a desire to keep the view across the sledding hill as open space; height limitations of any reuse to allow the continued appreciation of the natural setting; the use of legislation to guarantee that the parcels adjacent to the core
campus, which are to be retained by the State, remain as open space in perpetuity; paths and walkways throughout the whole parcel allowing connectivity between the various parcels of land and to adjacent open space properties; maintaining the core campus village square feel; the development of a community space, utilizing the Chapel Building if suitable, for cultural activities; development of some commercial/professional space; and, fulfillment of 40B housing requirements and construction of “empty nester” homes through a mixed use development.
The SHAC would like to thank all the participants who attended the session. We are grateful for your time and thoughtful comments.
For more information regarding the Medfield State Hospital, please go to mshvision.net or