The Medfield State Hospital closed its doors in April, 2003, after the Department of Mental Health decided the facility was no longer needed due to "years of declining patient numbers," according to the Town of Medfield's website.
The town's website says the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) took over management of the 167-acre site from the Department of Mental Health in 2003 and is currently trying to sell the property as "no state agency has an interest or budget in the site for their particular operations."
In June, new DCAM Commissioner Carole Cornelison met with the Medfield Board of Selectmen to discuss the status of the former State Hospital site and get the town "thinking of possible reuses" for the site again. On July 11, Medfield selectmen chair Osler Peterson and Town Administrator Michael Sullivan met with Cornelison and Massachusetts Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez to discuss possible reuses of the property. Peterson and Sullivan will share information from that meeting at Tuesday's Board of Selectmen meeting.
Here is a chronological look at the Medfield State Hospital site over the past nine years:
- 2002 - DCAM initiates reuse planning with Medfield State Hospital Reuse Committee - an ad hoc group of interested citizens, mainly abutters to the property.
- June, 2003 - Medfield State Hospital closed. Reuse planning responsibility assumed by Board of Selectmen instead of local ad hoc committee.
- 2003 - DCAM studies historic preservation issues, property attributes, environmental conditions and impacts of various proposed reuse scenarios utilizing consultants (GLC Development Resources, Lozano Baskin, Finegold Alexander, TRC Environmental, VHB, RF Walsh Construction).
- February, 2005 - Board of Selectmen unanimously adopt a 340 unit reuse plan (after approximately 50-plus public meetings).
- November, 2005 - Board of Selectmen unanimously adopts amended reuse plan allowing 440 units in order to satisfy Medfield's 40 B requirement.
- 2005 - DCAM works with Board of Selectmen and Planning Board - completes draft zoning overlay by-law that allows reuse plan development by special permit.
- 2005-2006 - Board of Selectmen changes position on zoning. Hires a consultant to explore 40 R smart growth zoning district option for Medfield State Hospital site. 40 R is a DHCD incentive based residential district zoning program designed to encourage communities to develop affordable housing.
- 2005-2006 - DCAM, Town of Medfield, Department of Mental Health and Department of Mental Health Client advocates negotiate disposition legislation provisions.
- 2006 - Board of Selectmen decides not to pursue 40 R.
- January, 2006 - DCAM submits draft Development MOA as requested outlining development process and agreements. Requirement to execute MOA included in Chapter 269 of the Acts of 2008. Medfield responds with comments to DCAM's draft MOA in 2010 (four years after receipt).
- July, 2006 - Board of Selectmen unanimously votes to file disposition legislation despite opposition to on-site DMH client housing (send letter to DCAM/DMH).
- August, 2007 - Legislation filed August, 2007. Chair of Board of Selectmen testifies in support of bill. Held in Rules Committee by chair for one year.
- 2007-2008 - DCAM continues work with Board of Selectmen and Planning Board on zoning amendment.
- August 2008 - Disposition legislation enacted (Chapter 269 Acts of 2008).
- Fall 2008 - Board of Selectmen advises it will not advance zoning and disposition process until environmental work is complete. Administration and Finance and DCAM agree to undertake "specific" environmental remediation work.
- 2009 - Present - Environmental work continues. DCAM presents quarterly update meetings in a town-wide forum.
- January, 2010 - Medfield responds to DCAM's January 2006 draft Development MOA with redraft containing extensive development restrictions.
- February 2010 - DCAM files with MEPA on the redevelopment plan and environmental work. MEPA certificate issued March 2010.
- Spring 2010 - Selectmen advise they will not advance disposition process or any associated documents (Development MOA, MHC, MOA, zoning amendment) until the vote on the statewide referendum on Chapter 40 B has been completed.
- November 2010 - Statewide referendum on Chapter 40 B does not pass. Board of Selectmen reiterate it will not advance disposition process until environmental work is completed.
- 2011 - Board of Selectmen continues to request $100,000 from DCAM to pay for the town of Medfield's environmental consultants to review DCAM's environmental work.
- 2011 - Board of Selectmen continues to request that DCAM demolish the Odyssey House, a contributing historic building, located on parcel, which is to be conveyed to the town of Medfield directly from the developer. DCAM has advised that demolition is the developer's responsibility upon consultation with MHC.
- May 2011 - DCAM finalizes MHC MOA concluding an eight-year consultation process. Ready to be signed by DCAM and forwarded to MHC for execution and Town of Medfield concurrence.