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Poll: Concern Over Medfield's State Hospital Property?

What issue with the Medfield State Hospital Property are you most concerned about?

Last week, regarding the status of the to the Board of Selectmen.

Today, we are outlining two of the many issues the town faces with the property and are asking which concerns you most:

Remediation of the Site: The that should be done on the site. Medfield officials, residents and the State Hospital Environmental Review Committee (SHERC)  with the Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM's) plan for a "temporary solution" to cap oil and remove contaminated soil from the Charles River and along its banks in the Construction and Demolition (C&D) area of the state hospital site because it will waste resources and time.

Despite DCAM's efforts this past year, . The permit application was for capping oil-contaminated soil on the property. At last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, Medfield resident Bill Massaro said it appears DCAM is not backing down and is continuing to pursue capping the oil in the soil, rather than completely removing it.

"It is somewhat frustrating that they have not moved from all their initial positions,” Massaro said.

The town and DCAM have been debating the extent of remediation since the fall of 2008, when the Board of Selectmen advised it will not advance zoning and disposition process until environmental work is complete, according to the town's website. More than three years after the state's Administration Finance and DCAM agreed to undertake "specific" environmental remediation work of the site, , with the hazardous material found at the C&D area being the town's greatest concern.

It has been the town's argument that DCAM would be wasting money, time and other resources by "temporarily" capping the oil found in the river because it has already been there for "decades" and does not impose an immediate risk.

"[I] believe there is no need [for a temporary solution because the] contamination is decades old and is not actively eroding into the [Charles River],” Massaro said. “The major concern is fear that what DCAM is proposing as a lower-cost, temporary measure, needing to be done now during low-water, [levels] would actually turn out to be permanent. The property is slated for turnover to the Department of Conservation/Recreation and it is entirely possible that neither they nor DCAM will have future funding to allow the appropriate cleanup, if [the town does] not push for it now.”

Harney, who like Massaro, has been actively following the status of the state hospital and the proposed remediation work, says it is the responsibility of the town to demand complete remediation of the site and not become a victim of the state looking to save money at the expense of the town's needs.

“I just don’t see how the town can tolerate anything less than [complete remediation],” Harney said. “You don’t remove a bit of the cancer, you take all of the cancer. You don’t take half measures on something like this and say ‘well, maybe we reduced the risk.’ Take out the risk, if you can, and [DCAM] can. I don’t think anyone is saying [DCAM] can’t completely remediate that C&D area.”

Reuse of Medfield State Hospital: The Town Administrator (half for 55 and older) to be built on the property. Massaro's concern, as a Medfield taxpayer, with the housing units is the number of students that will result from such a development and the tax burden that will cost residents in town.

Medfield Board of Selectmen chair Osler "Pete" Peterson has called the state hospital property "" and has encouraged residents and his colleagues at Town Hall to think about

At the Dec. 20 BOS meeting, Harney asked the Board of Selectmen to hire professionals to take another look at the state hospital property and study alternative uses the town can present to the state. Harney's suggestion was met with hesitation by the BOS.

"The only hesitancy I have is the cost of the consultants," Peterson said. "I suggested to DCAM the thing the state should do in these circumstances is to provide money to towns like Medfield and we wrote them and asked for it. They told us to write a letter and see what happens. We wrote a letter and are still waiting to find out. I agree, I think we should be doing some planning."

When Peterson asked his colleagues if the town would be interested in taking another look at possible reuses for the site – – he was met with opposition from Sullivan.

"I will give you a proposal, you can go out and spend a couple hundred thousand dollars and hire a consultant," Sullivan said. "I have always taken the position that I believe the 440 housing plan the selectmen negotiated with DCAM is a good, solid plan for the town and it addresses the many needs, including the 40B requirements. It does it in a way that protects the town by having half of the units for 55 and older and it addresses a big need in the town because we have seen a flood of people leaving the town because they can’t find suitable housing for an affordable price. I think that’s still a good plan. If you want to look at other plans and hire consultants to do that, that’s fine but I still think you will come to the same conclusion."

So Medfield, we want to know ...

Today's question: What are you most concerned about with the former Medfield State Hospital property? Vote in our poll above or leave a comment below! We want to hear from you!

Matthew Donovan March 11, 2012 at 04:53 AM
They should turn it into a Motocross track. I would like that and I know soooo many others that would. my friends and I have to drive 3 hours up to Lyman, Maine to go to a good track. It would bring in a good amount of people to Medfield. But I know unfortunately that seems like an unrealistic possibility in this town :(. I would really like to at least see something put in for us kids with nothing to do in this town. It seems all I can do in this town is ride my bicycle to the high school and practice tricks in the parking lot. I was really bummed that they turned down the skate park idea. I have been seeing a lot of the younger kids skating around town recently and I'm sure they too would like to see something for us alternate sport kids.

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